Hello, World! The third lesson of the basics course covers the importance of guitar intervals. Intervals are as important as any scale, chord structure or fretboard notes. It’s one of the starting points in the music and any guitar theory that opens new sight.
There’re many articles on the internet about this topic, but they all look complicated to me and don’t really explain the essence. Personally, I like to keep things as simple as possible, because, personally, I understand better and faster in that way.
So, why this is so important anyway? They are simple distances between notes. Knowing the structure of distances (drops) will help you understand better:
- Any chords;
- Guitar scales;
- Build new ideas for playing.
So, how can this topic help me if I already know it or don’t know any? What they can do?
Well, knowing mileages between notes on the whole fretboard opens new ideas in improvisation. Playing favorite music style, there always comes such thing that your head is out of ideas.
“Damned, I’m out of ideas! What could I play something else? I need something new!”
This is the question that hugged in my head for a while. As an answer came intervals on guitar! There’s no need to create a new bicycle. There’s a good melody by playing fifths, sixths, fourths, and thirds. Sounds crazy? We’ll see…
Ok, let’s start!
We’ll take G major scale as a basis
Here’s the G major scale:
Nut (in the image) is the start of the fretboard. Take a look at the scale. The scale is made from:
G; A; B; C; D; E; F#; G notes
Clear so far? Ok, let’s go on. Intervals have their own names. There are 13 names.
First is the G. It’s a root note. (Number 1). It’s the first interval.
The second one is G# the minor second. To easily understand that, try to hold your first finger on the root G and second finger on G#. It’s a semitone drop (between G and A).
The third one is G and A the second major (Number 2 of the image of the G scale).
The third one is good adding in a major and minor chord. It builds non-chord (add 9) and it sounds very warm. Try to play a standard G chord and add a major second interval to it (5th fret A note on the high E string):
Listen to how bright and warm they sound. Personally, I use only the second major one in chords, I rarely use the second minor.
Fourth is the G and A# which is called a small third. The small third is minor which is used to build minor chords. Here how it looks like:
The fifth one is G and B notes which are third “Big Third” (The number 3 of the scale). Thirds build simple major chords. Here how looks Big Third:
The difference between these two is only one note (the distance) which builds a minor or major chord. It’s very important to note that.
Ok, the next (sixth) is G and C notes. It’s perfect fourth (Number 4 of the scale). It’s perfect for playing power chords and rhythm. Here’s the fourth:
Seventh is the G and C# notes which cause Triton or Voodoo. From music theory, it’s minor fifth or augmented fourth. It creates a strain in rhythm. But I call it different. Jimi Hendrix used a lot of “voodoo’s”. It sounds mysterious and reminds of some magic. Here’s the triton or voodoo:
Eight is the G and D notes, the good old fifth. (The number 5 of the G major scale). The fifth is the basis of any power chords and rhythm. Metal, rock, heavy rock rhythm is built on fifth’s. Here’s the fifth’s:
Next, the ninth note is G and D#. It’s augmented fifth or minor sixth. It’s just another extended fifth which makes music even more strain. Try to play any fifth interval, for example, G and D notes. Then play voodoo, and then extended fifth. Try to listen to the difference.
(Tip: in this image, I’m playing D# on the fourth string. The same note is on the A string 6th fret)
The tenth is G and E notes which is a major sixth. (Number 6 of the G major scale). There’s not much to say about sixths, so just let’s go on. One thing to say about sixths is that they sound very interesting on the Mixolydian scale. Mixolydian sounds quite interesting on sixths.
The eleventh is G and F notes which is a minor seventh. Minor seventh build Dominant chord (for example, G7). It makes the chord sound very strain. After dominant chord always root chord is required. For example, if our key is G major, then dominant is D7. After D7 it must be G again. That’s the guitar theory. Music is the strain and solution, solution and strain again. We’ll cover about chord structure later in this guide.
Ok, 12th notes are G and F# which is major seventh “Big seventh” (Number 7 of the scale). Major seventh interval builds Maj and maj7 chords, which is also known as Big Major Chord. Here’s the major seventh:
And the last 13th note is the octave. It’s root G and it’s the last note of the scale. It’s called the octave. Steve Vai plays “Tender Surrender” and Eric Johnson plays “Manhattan” on octaves. It sounds very interesting and creative. Here’s the octave;
That’s it! These were major scale intervals that are used in any tonality. I hope that your head is still there.
For now, just relax and try to put it all together. If you want to learn to play the guitar, you need to learn these guitar basics.
Today we have covered the guitar interval chart on three strings. If you want to find these drops from the 5th (the A) string, for example, on C major scale then they will be the same structure. What is important try to visually remember how they look like on all strings, because that will open new playing ideas in your mind and your playing skills will automatically grow up. This topic really open sight to arpeggios and arpeggios open new ways to play on the whole fretboard. That’s the real knowledge that you will learn only in music school.
For the conclusion of today’s lesson, let’s assume the main topic:
- Interval scales are distances between notes;
- They build chords;
- They open new ways in guitar improvisation;
- They build scales;
- They allow easy to find out chords!
That’s it for today. Next time we’ll cover the structure of guitar chords. For now, take a rest for a few minutes.