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Unstable Triads (Guitar Lesson)


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Brendan Burns

Unstable Triads

Taught by Brendan Burns in Improv with Brendan seriesLength: 19:48Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


gibstratgibstrat replied on August 1st, 2011

thats exactly what i was thinking at the beginning, sounds like the edge, and other 80's bands like the cure. great stuff. oh, btw, the bass player in u2 is adam, you said larry, thats the drummer.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on August 1st, 2011

Oh snap! Thanks for that correction. That reminds of me this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0INCaHQtoM

meganmegan replied on July 30th, 2011

Hi Brendan, Great lesson. I'm going back to the start to work my way through this all, since it's so interesting. Question though - you use your fingers - as soon as I put a pick in my hand I wanted to set it aside because this stuff is really getting down into the guitar - do you recommend finger picking? Or perhaps what could be the long-term expectations in using pick or fingers or hybrid?

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on July 31st, 2011

For this stuff, you can do either finger, flat-picking or a hybrid. It really doesn't matter. Over the years, I've found my personal style has moved toward a hybrid, but that's just me.

lexzbuddylexzbuddy replied on July 30th, 2011

Oh ya, enigmtic or mybe equivocal would maybe be alternatives to ambiguos ;)

lexzbuddylexzbuddy replied on July 30th, 2011

Tearing, Ripping, LOVING! Great fun jamming. I was staying in a hotel in an isolated comunity in the highlands of Scotlnd last weekend & they had an open jam. Wife made me get my guitar down & play. What great fun! Loads of simple country tunes I didn't know but it was SO perfect. I was just able to ficker about with the chords & start to ad lib on top of it. Too cool, super powerful stuff, Cheers!

Improv with Brendan

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In his Theory and Improvisation series, Brendan Burns looks at triads, chord voicings and usage across the circle of fifths.



Lesson 1

Lesson Series Overview

Brendan Burns provides an overview of the topics that will be covered in his chord voicing lesson series.

Length: 4:17 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Form 1 Tiny Triads

Brendan demonstrates the tiny triad shapes derived from the form 1 barre chord.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 3

Form 3 Tiny Triads

Brendan Burns demonstrates the tiny triads derived from the 3rd form of the CAGED system.

Length: 12:51 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Form 2 Tiny Triads

Brendan demonstrates the 2nd form tiny triads.

Length: 20:57 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Form 1 Minor Triads

Brendan demonstrates the tiny minor triad shapes derived from the form 1 CAGED shape.

Length: 4:41 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Form 3 Minor Triads

Brendan demonstrates the 3rd form minor triads from the CAGED system.

Length: 6:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Form 2 Minor Triads

Brendan burns demonstrates the 2nd form minor tiny triads.

Length: 20:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Augmented Tiny Triads

Brendan Burns demonstrates the tiny triad shapes for augmented chords.

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Diminished Tiny Triads

Brendan Burns demonstrates the grips for the diminished tiny triads.

Length: 7:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Tiny Triads Wrap-Up

Now that you've gone through all the tiny triad lessons, Brendan offers some closing statements and insights that will help you with incorporating them into your playing.

Length: 2:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

More Tiny Triads

Brendan takes a more in depth look at extensions that can be added to the tiny triad forms.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

6th Tiny Triads

Brendan demonstrates the addition of the 6th extension to the tiny triad forms.

Length: 7:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Minor Triad Extensions

In lesson 13, Brendan covers the extensions for the minor form tiny triads.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Sus 4 Tiny Triads

Brendan Burns demonstrates the Sus 4 forms for the tiny triads.

Length: 6:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Tiny Triads Review

To get you setup to start learning more tiny triads, Brendan talks about what he'll be covering next and provides a review of the previous material.

Length: 5:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

More Major Triads

Brendan Burns takes a look at extensions that can be added to major triads.

Length: 16:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Major Triad 6ths

Brendan discusses and demonstrates how to add the 6th extension to your major triads.

Length: 11:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

More Minor Triads

Brendan takes a look at the extensions and embellishments that can be added to the minor tiny triads.

Length: 22:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Unstable Triads

Brendan Burns demonstrates and discusses the unstable or "ambiguous" triads that result from altering the 3rd.

Length: 19:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Spread Voiced Major Triads

Brendan Burns demonstrates and discusses how to utilize spread voiced triads in your playing. In the first lesson of this mini-series, he discusses major spread voicings.

Length: 19:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Spread Voiced Minor Triads

Brendan demonstrates spread voicings of minor triads.

Length: 14:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Triadic Improvisation #1

The first lesson in Brendan's triadic improvisation lesson series covers the major triads and the combinations of their extensions.

Length: 24:51 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Triadic Improvisation #2

Continuing on with triadic improvisation techniques, Brendan discusses and demonstrates how to utilize the minor triads.

Length: 27:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Harmonic and Melodic Substitutions

Brendan demonstrates and discusses how various tiny triads can be applied to bass notes to imply larger, more complex chords. He also explains how these concepts can be used in a melodic context.

Length: 18:26 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Brendan Burns View Full Biography Brendan has been passionate about music since childhood. He began his studies on trumpet, in elementary school, and then moved to guitar as a teenager. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music, and has studied with Norm Zocher, Joe Stump, Bret Willmott, Bob Pilkington, Jay Weik, Tim Miller, & Charlie Banacos.

While at Berklee, Brendan was a member of the Music Mentoring Program, teaching private lessons to gifted high school students. He is currently teaches, and is chair of the guitar department at Brookline Music School. Brendan also teaches guitar for Tune Foolery & privately at his home in Cambridge, MA.

Along with educating, Brendan plays out often as a Solo Guitarist, performing standards, pop, and classical repertoire. He has recorded and played with the chamber-fusion band Ra Quintent, and as well as Vessela Stoyanova's Eastern Stories Under Western Skies Project. Brendan also performs as a leader, director and sideman for various Boston art-rock projects, and is former member of MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika.

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