Tag Archives for " Inverted Thirds "


Joe Bonamassa LOVES Thirds!

I came across this guitar lesson from Joe Bonamassa recently, and as I was watching, I realized that a lot of the movements he really loves are based on thirds and inverted thirds!

He doesn’t call them inverted thirds, but he should, I guess! An inverted third is simple a normal third turned upside down. Say for instance, G to B is a major third, right? Well, an inverted third would use those same notes, but instead of G being the lowest note, B would be the lowest note instead.

Checkout this lesson, and try to figure out what he’s doing here. Even if you can’t play as fast as Joe can, if you can figure out the principles of what he’s doing, you can apply that to your own playing at your own pace.

I should mention that while I’ve applied them differently than Joe has, I covered the topic of thirds and inverted thirds in quite a bit of detail in my Dynamic Rhythm Guitar course.
You can find more details on that here.

So let’s take an example. At 0:47 that very first riff he’s talking about starts like this: x 10 x x 11 x but then he bends the 11th fret up a semitone. Well, what’s he starting with? That’s a G on the 5th string, and a Bb on the 2nd string… that’s a G minor third. Then, he bends the Bb up to a B, creating a G major third. Voila – thirds in action! Sounds awesome!

Okay, let’s do one more. In Joe’s Trick #3, he shows a really cool way of producing a sound on a standard tuned guitar that sounds like the guitar is actually tuned down lower than it is. He calls it a low V inversion, but you could also call this an inverted third.

Take a look:  At 6:15 he does the first one, and the notes he is using are 3 x 2 x x x. Or, G and E. Well, we’re talking about inverted thirds, so that means that E is our root note, despite being the higher of the two notes, which means we’re dealing with an inverted E minor third.

Fancy name for a very sweet sound.

Regardless of what you call it, learning how to master thirds in your playing is a terrific way of adding a lot of character to your solos and riffs. In my course Dynamic Rhythm Guitar, I didn’t go in the same direction Joe has here, however that is the beauty of thirds – there are literally endless variations and directions you can go with them. The really key thing is to learn to recognize them on the fretboard, and then begin experimenting with them. We do both in Dynamic Rhythm Guitar. Learn more here.


Guitar Lick Using Inverted Thirds

Okay – QUICK – before anybody’s eyes glaze over… an inverted third is simply another way for saying “this sounds awesome!” in musical geek-speak.

I know that sometimes throwing around lingo like this shuts some people down, but it is my firm belief that understanding what we play makes us better players. But never fear, we’re not going into the theory angle today, we’re just learning a riff. In the actual course, I do explain this stuff in much greater detail, and you’ll learn how to use it in context too, but for today, I just wanted to give you a sample riff pulled straight out of the Dynamic Rhythm Guitar course.

Check it out:

Learn More About Dynamic Rhythm Guitar

Questions or comments? Let me know below!


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.

Video Problems? Watch Cool Guitar Riffs #3 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.