Barre Chords 3: Introduction to Triple Stops

     You may already be used to the idea of double stops, where you use a pair of notes as part of a lead section or melody. Technically speaking, power chords are double stops because they don’t contain enough notes to be a proper chord. Triple stops are similarly used in either lead or melody sections, but they don’t usually use their root note as their lowest pitch. You may recognize this idea if you’ve looked into Chord Inversions. Triple stops are regularly employed as the rhythm section for any kind of music which doesn’t require the additional mid-low range of the guitar’s deeper strings – reggae, funk, jazz, etc.

     As before I’ve colour-coded the notes in accordance to what “job” they’re doing. (Root = Red; Perfect 5th = Green; Major 3rd= Light Blue; Minor 3rd= Dark Blue). I’ll give you all of these chords in roughly the same area to begin with.

Shape 1
This will hopefully look familiar by now, it’s the upper-half of the full Maj and Min barre chords. We also looked at these in Barre Chords 2, but they had a root note a it’s base. You should be able to play the Major shape using 2 fingers, and the Minor with only one.


Shape 2
These are the upper-part of barre chords rooted on the A string. These actually do contain the root note as the deepest pitch.image

Shape 3
You’ll remember these from Barre Chords 2 as well, they’re very similar to the Open D chord shape. The reason I’ve written these chords as Eb is so you can see how they are moveable up and down the neck. If you wanted to play a D triple stop, you only have to move this shape down a fret. If you wanted to play an E, you’d only have to move it up a fret.

Example Song Exercise.
This example song uses almost all of the chords from above, (except the Eb Minor shape). Bar 1 is a Minor 5, 4, 1 progression in Bm, which you will become familiar with if you play a lot of standard blues songs. Bar 2 is a Major 5, 4, 1 progression in D, (which happens to be the relative Major scale of Bm). Bar 3 starts on the Bm triple stop, then uses the nearest shapes to descent to D Maj at the end of the bar. Bar 4 is a G Major triple stop.

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