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Blues Guitar Riff on 3rds

I know how much you guys love learning blues guitar riffs, so here’s another guitar lesson for you to scratch the itch 😉

I love this blues guitar riff, and although in the lesson I teach it in the Open E position, the fact is, I use these thirds time and time again, regardless of what key I’m in. That’s why its so important to see this riff as coming out of the scale – that way you learn how to apply it in any key.

Don’t look at this as something you can only do in open E… yeah, it sounds terrific in E, but these thirds work anywhere. The thirds interval is a great one to familiarize yourself with, there’s just so much you can do with it. I’ll probably do a whole lesson on that soon.

The riff I’m showing you here is suspiciously similar to the one in Mary Had a Little Lamb (Buddy Guy or SRV style) and one of the variations was used in Pride and Joy… so you can see that this riff is definitely a good one for your blues arsenal!

Watch the Blues Guitar Riff on Youtube

For More Riffs Like This One, Click Here

If you liked the style and difficulty level of this guitar riff, you might like to check out my short course that contains a bunch more guitar riffs in G major.


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  1. Brilliant, love it, if only the Steve were still around, just what would he be doing now I wonder?

    Easy to follow, nice and clear thanks Jon.

  2. Ever since you went over thirds in the scale patterns lesson I have been wanting to learn more about them. I even spoke to a Bass player who mentioned that the thirds also come in augmented and suspended? I think it would be great if you were to put a course together. Actually I have been patiently awaiting . . . .
    Thanks J

    1. Hi Strumz, no, thirds are either major or minor; they cannot be augmented or suspended, although you can have full chords that are like that. Incidentally, I’ve just started working on a new course, and working with thirds will be a prominent feature in it.

  3. Jonathan, What exactly makes a third? A third of the chord which mean you are playing the 5 and the b7 for minor 3rd and then the 4-6 gives you a Major 3rd? And are you not actually walking over and playing A5 – Open G5 walk over to an E5?????
    Thanks for the answer and all Your Great teaching!!!!

  4. I understand Joe Bonnamassa Likes to play thirds and uses them quite frequently. Can You expand on his style and usage of the 3rds he utilizes??

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