Tag Archives for " Intervals "


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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Cool Guitar Riffs #3: Inverted Thirds

Today’s guitar lesson has some cool guitar riffs and ideas for you, but this time I also get into the theory behind the riffs – just a bit ;).

Theory is incredibly useful for a) finding cool guitar riffs, and b) figuring out what the heck is going on musically when you hear something cool. Take for instance a song like Purple Haze. Jimi heard that in his head, but now we can describe what he was doing by using theory…

In this video, I’m talking about the key of G, but please take a moment once it is done, and think about how you can apply it to the other keys. If you watch carefully, what I’m doing in here can be applied to other keys from a pattern perspective too. Very cool. Perhaps I should do a followup on that actually…

Anyhow, we’re looking at the second interval of thirds in the Am, Bm and C chords. In my guitar theory course I teach how all the major and minor chords (triads) break down into just two sets of intervals. Well, these cool guitar riffs use the second set of intervals in those chords.

Before your eyes roll back in your head trying to figure all this out, I should mention that this trick is incredibly common. Brown Eyed Girl and Fortunate Son are two songs that spring to mind immediately that use these intervals, but there are literally hundreds and hundreds…

Yah, I know it probably sounds complicated, but please have a watch through the video, and I’ll try to help with any questions if you leave them below the video.

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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.


Cool Arpeggiated Riffs with Triads

Here’s another lesson for you riff-hungry rocksters out there!

One cool way that you can start looking for new chords to use is to examine the top few strings of the bar chords. Here’s a tip – if the notes are used in a chord, then they’re going to sound great together in a solo!

In fact, using different intervals that come from chords is a great way to break out of the rut of sticking too close to the scale when you’re improvising.

So without further ado, here’s today’s guitar tip.

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Click here for more fingerpicking lessons.


2 Cool Blues Guitar Riffs

I know how much you all like riffs, so I’m hoping you’re gonna like these two blues guitar riffs as much as I do.

The first of these blues guitar riffs is basically working off the fourths you find in the pentatonic minor scale. You’re essentially doing mini bars with your fingers… just grabbing two strings at a time though.

Feel free to have fun with this… mix up the order, experiment with hammer-ons and pull offs, and even with the open notes I mentioned. If you look at your Am Pentatonic, you’ll see that E, A, D, G are all in that scale – so that means that you can use those as open notes as well, even when you’re playing from the fifth fret.

I talk about the fourths and fifths and other intervals a lot more in my lesson on guitar scales.

The second of these blues guitar riffs also uses fourths… this time on the top two strings. Adding a string bend makes it sound really cool.

If you need a refresher, you might want to revisit the pentatonic minor scale.

Watch the Blues Guitar Riffs:

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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.


Fortunate Son (John Fogerty) Guitar Lesson

Here’s a good old classic rock tune for today’s lesson: Fortunate Son. It’s got a great intro riff that will be instantly recognizable by anyone you play this for. Did I mention its also easy-peasy? Most of the riff is built on inverted third intervals (whew that’s a mouthful!). What I mean by that is the root note is on the B string, and they’re adding a third up from that root note (4 semitones), but dropping it an octave, thus inverting it (normally the lower note is the root, but in this case the lower is).

Take a look at the Em7 chord (barred, root on the 5th string – 7th fret) and ignore the bar part. That is the first formation in the riff, right? The notes that are being played are B (4th string, 9th fret) and G (2nd string, 8th fret). The root note is the G, and we’re in the key of G. If you count up from G 4 semitones (G#, A, A#, B) you hit B. B is therefore a major third of G.

If you can figure out the theory behind this, you can start to see broader applications for the patterns that are being used in this riff (different keys, songs, etc). Let me know if you’d like to know more and maybe I’ll do a whole lesson on this topic.

One other quick note. If you want to see the video larger, don’t forget you can click the button in the bottom right corner of the video player for full screen. You can also click on the HD for high definition (much better quality picture and sound). Also, I’ve got other guitar songs lessons on the site too.

Watch the Fortunate Son Guitar Lesson:

Video Problems? Watch the Fortunate Son Guitar Lesson on Youtube