Tag Archives for " Advanced "

Climbing with Thirds

In Secrets of Tasty Riffs & Solos, one of the tricks I taught was how to use two strings and climb up or down the fretboard in patterns of thirds. This is a great way to move between scale patterns, it sounds really cool and melodic, and it can quickly get you from one end of the fretboard to the other.

What’s not to like?

Anyhow I was just watching some Albert Cummings (do it!) and I saw him pull the exact same trick, and thought I’d post the video to give you another practical example of how this sort of thing can be used in a song.

Right around 4:06, you’ll see he starts using these patterns on the 1st and 2nd strings to rip down the fretboard, from right near the top to the bottom, then he uses different strings and different patterns (looks like inverted thirds on 1st and 3rd strings to me) to begin his climb back up.

Check it out!


3 Chromatic Blues Licks in E

There’s nothing like a good 12 bar blues to let you throw in a few blues licks while you’re jamming around, but the actual rhythm part of the 12 bar is usually pretty easy to pickup. So, today I’ve got three blues licks for you to work on. Once you’ve got those nailed down, take them and start throwing them into your jam sessions, your favorite 12 bar, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

The common denominator among these three licks is that they all have a bit of a chromatic flavor to them. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the interval patterns demonstrated here, you should checkout my other lessons, starting with those on the guitar scales. You can also find other lessons on thirds in the Licks & Riffs section, and some explanation in the Guitar Theory section.

Because these licks are chromatic, they’re not found strictly within a particular scale pattern; however knowing your pentatonic minor and major scales will be useful here. Essentially, we’re working off the E pentatonic minor scale (open), and also getting up into the G major pentatonic as well.

Once you’ve got those licks down, I always recommend working them over with some jam tracks to really get them down pat. You can find a great collection of jam tracks here.

3 Chromatic Blues Licks:

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E7 Blues With Thirds

Here’s a fun way to apply some thirds in a blues style format over an E7 chord.

There are two types of thirds: major and minor. The major third is four semitones, and a minor third is three semitones. On your guitar, if you play a G on the 3rd fret, 6th string, at the same time as a B on the 2nd fret of the 5th string, you get a major third. That kiddy-corner pattern you get will produce a major third anywhere in the lower four strings.

To get a minor third, simply drop the B to a Bb. That same pattern will give you a minor third anywhere on the lower four strings.

The “progression” we’re playing over here is actually just one chord – E dominant 7. I like playing it with the added D on the 3rd fret, 2nd string. The D is the flatted 7 (b7) that makes this chord sound so cool. Remember, E7 is neither major nor minor, and as such it can stand in like a body double for either one. In this particular case we’re treating it like a minor chord.

When you’re using thirds, think about what chords are in the key. If your I IV V chords are major, then the related thirds are going to be major as well. For instance, in the key of G, we have D major. Thus, when you’re looking for a third to play off a D, play the major third.

If you’re looking for a great way to apply the riff you learn in this lesson, I recommend working it over while playing along with these blues jam tracks. (There’s a free sample track available at that link)

Alrighty – ready to dig into this? Let’s get started.

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Guitar Chord Inversions

If you’ve been looking for a way to change things up a bit, I suggest studying up on your chord inversions. That’s what this lesson is about (of course!). Let’s start with what exactlyis a chord inversion?

Basically, inversion means reversal, so what we’re actually talking about here is reversing the order of the notes in a chord.

We’re not changing the notes that are being used, we’re just changing the order in which they’re played, or the order that they appear as you write out the chord.

Chord inversions are useful in all aspects of your playing, from rhythm work to soloing, to writing new material; chord inversions are a great way to get a different flavor out of your guitar.

Let’s do a quick example before diving into the lesson with Colin.

The standard configuration of a major chord is the standard 1 3 5 arrangement. For the G chord (major) that produces these three notes: G, B, and D. (A G minor would be G, Bb, D, or 1 b3 5).

The first inversion then, of that G major chord, would simply be arranged starting from the second note of the chord, thus would look like this: 3, 5, 1 or B, D, G. That’s all we’re talking about here, and although it sounds complicated at first, I think you’ll pick it up ok from the lesson. Question and comments are always welcome at the bottom of the page!

Chord Inversions Lesson

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Thirds in D – Advanced Guitar Lesson

In my opinion, if you can fully understand how to use thirds on your guitar, you’ve come a long way… Thirds are one of the best sounding harmonies to the human ear, and there are many, many different ways in which they can be applied on the guitar.

In these guitar lessons I try to bring out elements of that, but to really understand it you’re going to have to dig into this on your own too. I’ve posted videos on thirds in the G major scale, and inverted thirds in G, and today’s guitar lesson looks at some thirds off the second and third strings in D major.

If you can’t see my hand very well, the only two patterns I’m using are the minor third (0-0-0-4-3-0) and the major third (0-0-0-5-5-0). Take those two patterns, and move them up the fretboard, and you’ll find what I’m working with.

If that’s all completely Greek to you, I highly recommend checking out my course on Guitar Scale Patterns, which will really open up the fretboard for you.

The big takeaway from this lesson is recognizing the two different thirds patterns, major and minor, and then recognizing how those relate to the various scale patterns up and down the fretboard. Once you tie them all together in your mind, the whole fretboard is your oyster…

Thirds in D

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The D Thing – Strumming & Picking Combined

Today’s lesson is really just focusing in on one particular type of rhythmic picking and strumming combination that I really enjoy doing.

Personally I like using this best on the acoustic guitar, and I use this picking & strumming technique a LOT. I love the rhythmic strumming sound mixed in with the distinct notes from the pick, and you can do an awful lot with this once you start messing with root notes and augmenting chords and things like that.

All in all, a handy one for any guitar player to have in their back pocket.

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