Using thirds and sixths

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Tomm Williams, May 4, 2019.

  1. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    This morning I'm working on this technique and have a question. Just using a standard 12 bar blues as a backing track, I noticed that using 3rds or 6ths only works when the progression is on the primary chord?
     
  2. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

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    Interesting. I never thought about it, but the sixths I use in the key of G would not sound bluesy in other keys. The ones shown below (top 3 or E,B, and G strings) sound very major scale in G. In C the first one (B and G) would imply a C Maj7 chord which is not very bluesy. The second one (C and A) would imply a C6 chord, bluesy enough and the third (D and B) would be a Cmaj9 chord, again not very bluesy. That's just my first thought, but I know very little about theory and even less about blues.

    ---3----5----7---
    ------------------
    ---4----5----7---

    Over the C (IV) chord, the classic 9 to 6 triads sound great. In C it would look like

    ---3-----5---
    ---3-----5---
    ---3-----5---

    The first triad implies a C9 chord and the second a C6 chord. Get rid of the note on the b-string (the middle note) and it will still sound good.

    I am sure others will chime in with more complete explanations and advice.
     
  3. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    It depends whether you are using major or minor scales.
    All minor scales have a flat 3rd.
    All major scales have a normal 3rd.

    So the question is: Is it sad/moody blues (minor scales), or happy/upbeat (major scales) ?
     
  4. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    I’m playing against a major scale backing track but at times it sounds....... odd
     
  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Because the blues is not strictly diatonic, you'll get stuff like this. You do not typically play the Maj 7th of the I chord over that chord, though it's the Maj 3rd of the V chord.

    What I mean, for example, is that nobody* plays the G# over A in an A blues, though it naturally occurs in an E chord, because it sounds....... odd.

    Also, the IV would be, diatonically a Maj7 chord, but it's typically played as a Dom7. Which means that in an A blues, the D7 has a C, not the C# that is the 3rd of an A chord.

    The cool part about alla that is that you can use these "outside" notes to lead you into the chord changes.

    *by which I mean almost nobody lol
     
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  6. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Because your playing lead over the backing track, I'll just talk about notes rather than chords.
    If we take the major pentatonic scales (being the simplest scale, and one that is commonly used in blues), of 12 bar blues, you have 3 major pentatonic scales, from the I IV and V chords.

    For example, in the key of C:

    I Chord: The 3rd and 6th notes of C Major are E and A.
    (I'm assuming these are the two troublesome notes)

    IV Chord: The E note in F Major is the 7th note.
    F Major pentatonic is C Major minus the 4th and 7th notes (B flat and E),
    so there is no E note in F major pentatonic, so the E may sound dissonant, wanting to be an F.
    Most chords don't use the 7th note, except Maj 7th and Maj 9th (not bluesy chords)

    V Chord: The A note in G Major (and G pentatonic) is the 2nd note.
    2nd's aren't used in the common chords played, so it may sound wrong played over a G.
    It will sound OK as a passing note when transitioning back to C.

    So to abbreviate, don't play the 3rd note of the key over the IV chord, and don't play the 6th note of the key over the V chord.

    Hopefully this is targeting your question.
    Or, I may have dived down the wrong rabbit hole.
     
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  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Tom, just to clarify... Are you saying that you are trying to use a natural minor scale over a I,IV,V progression?
     
  8. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    a 3rd will just be the 3rd of next chord being played..wonder if he is just thinking of moving from chord progression to chord progression in the 1-4-5 situation...staying within the basics of that individual chord then the next chord--stay in that pocket..when first learning-it is cool to just hear some things that dont clash when you change chords..then you venture out & learn additional notes that work..then something more complex that can fit the whole thing eventually
     
  9. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    No Wally

    I'm trying to get used to playing pairs of strings in major 3rds or 6ths over a major 1-4-5 progression ala Brown Eyed Girl sort of structure. Maybe this technique was never meant to be applied to blues...…..
     
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  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    You can get away with it if you are adroit at shifting keys with the changes...
     
  11. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Ah-ha - Brown eyed girl double stops (I'm assuming the intro)
    The first bar G, follows G major. Second bar C follows C major (If you stay in G, you'll get an F#). Fourth bar D follows D major.
    The double notes here are: 1/3, 2/4 and 3/5 on the G and C,
    with 1/5 on the D (i.e. no 6th)

    Perhaps just combine string pairs related to the key of the chord being played (basically what bftfender was saying).
    Perhaps when you hit a pair that doesn't sound right, bend one of the strings.
    Or try bending both strings. Bending one up a semitone and the other 2 semitones can sound really nice. String bending is an integral part blues, so this seems an effective time to bend.

    For example:
    For I, IV or V chords:
    Bend the 7th up to the root note of that chord.
    Bending the 4th up 2 semitones to the 5th would sound cool too.

    For the V chord, bending the 2nd up 2 semitones (to the 3rd) will produce a nice progression for the transition to the I chord.

    If you're combining 3rds and 6ths, perhaps just twiddle with the 6th (maybe alternating it with a fifth or a flat 7th ?)

    When you start playing 2 strings at once, there's a lot going on.
     
  12. arecibo

    arecibo TDPRI Member

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    There's a nice excerpt in this acoustic blues book that explains how to modify the 3rds and 6ths to sound correct in a blues.

    https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=rlG04p_yMsMC&lpg=PA53&ots=bCNRyiUOpK&dq=6ths and 3rds blues harmonized&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q=6ths and 3rds blues harmonized&f=false

    EDIT: Other users found this link to link to a site in Chinese. This is because it was from the Taiwan Google site. For those in the US, the following link should work
    https://books.google.com/books?id=r...q=6ths and 3rds blues harmonized manzi&f=true
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  13. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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  14. Alex

    Alex Administrator Staff Member

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    I"m seeing the book on the Google site, nothing suspicious there.
     
  15. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    Not at all where it took me
     
  16. wtk0315

    wtk0315 Tele-Holic

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    I got the Chinese site as well.
     
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  17. arecibo

    arecibo TDPRI Member

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    Apologies, but I'm in Taiwan at the moment, so I think that is why the google search gave me that link (that is why link has the ".tw" end of "google.com.tw"). For those who want to find it themselves, it is the book by Lou Manzi and you can find it on google using a search for "6ths and 3rds blues harmonized manzi". Or I believe you can use this link below
    https://books.google.com/books?id=r...q=6ths and 3rds blues harmonized manzi&f=true
     
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  18. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Backing tracks can be a little frustrating if you're experimenting. Sometimes they have a lot going on that would go against what you're trying to do or learn. When playing with others it works better.

    I need to reread the thread and the theory behind it a little later.
     
  19. thebowl

    thebowl Tele-Meister

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    Still not sure what you are asking. A major I-IV-V progression is not "blues", from my perspective. That said, sixths feature prominently in most versions of Stormy Monday and, as you have pointed out, in tunes in a major key like Brown Eyed Girl (and Drift Away).
     
  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Tomm, the second link 8n aricebo’s post links to the articles.

    Fwiw, Stormy Monday as first done by the composer, T Bone Walker, was a I-IV-V construction. Bobby Blue Bland was responsible for giving us the version that the ABB made famous on a wider stage. I was amazed one day when I was driving down the highway and first heard an early cut of this song by T-Bone Walker. It was very different from what the ABB did...and the ABB is where I first learned the song. As I understand it, T-Bone Walker adopted the More ‘sophisticated’ Bobby Blue Bland version.
     
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