Intervals Pt.1 “Diatonic Thirds”

This lesson marks the beginning of our interval series for guitar. We will learn all of our diatonic interval patterns using the 3-notes per string major scale forms that we have already covered.

If you don't know your 3-notes per string major scale forms yet, and the theory about how we apply them to keys, be sure to check out the advanced guitar lessons archive page to locate all of the PDF downloads and video tutorials you will need.

Use the PDF TAB download for this lesson to memorize the 3rd patterns, and then follow along with the video so you can learn how I finger the patterns. Feel free to experiment with fingerings that you may feel are more comfortable to you.

Diatonic Thirds PDF TAB Download

As we get to the larger diatonic intervals, it will get much more difficult yet more musically exciting as well. Stay Tuned!!

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Diatonic Thirds On The Guitar


  1. Patrick on March 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Hey man! I really love your stuff, I really appreciate it! Great job, keep it up! I’ve given you a thumbs up on stumbleupon, and I hope other people will find this great site!

  2. Carl Brown on March 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Hey thanks a lot Patrick, I appreciate the support.

  3. Steveo on August 23, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I think Carl said 85% of music is done with the scale.
    These diatonic lessons are used by every good player.
    The 3rd 4ths and 6ths I find more useful in my style of playing.
    Just trying to help others here, seems much of this is in my head and I can call upon it when needed.
    In many of the examples you hear the major and minor of these intervals.
    You need these patterns but you need the sounds of the intervals in your brain.
    Thanks for the lessons and keep rocking

  4. John on February 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for so much helpful information. I’m working through these intervals, and my question is how do you use them. Is there a particular time when you use one interval over another? I’m working on a song with chords C F G Em Am. Are there certain intervals that would sound better over certain chords? Thanks.

    • Carl Brown on February 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      It is really all depends on your ear as to when to use them. There wouldn’t be a specific chord that would favor a certain interval.

      The key is to make them a part of your practice routine so the sound of them gets into your ear just like a normal scale or guitar lick would.

      When improvising you will begin to hear when you want to play with a specific interval instead of always improvising with the same sequential scale tones all the time. Does that make sense? 🙂


  5. John on February 9, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Yes, that makes sense, and I figured that was the case. When you improvise do you find that you still do mainly sequential notes and add intervals for “spice” or do you rely mainly on intervals now?

    Also, could you suggest some songs with good examples of each interval? I’m into jam band/prog rock so examples from those would be great, but jazz would be fine too. Thanks.

    • Carl Brown on February 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Hey John, ideally it should be a mix of intervals and scale wise playing no matter what style you are playing in order to keep it fresh.

      Can’t really suggest a song for a specific interval seeing that all intervals should work fine in whatever song you want as long as they are in the proper key.

      In short, there is no right or wrong way, it is all about your own creative use of the musical tools you study. Intervals are just one of those tools. 🙂

      Thanks! Carl..

  6. Cahaya Jahya Marthin on February 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

    thanks for your lesson. i’m so helpfull with it 🙂
    God bless you

  7. matthew accetturo on March 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    steveo commented that many examples you can hear the major or minor of the intervals. I think I understand that any 3rd is going to be major or minor…or at least a building block to a triad. but what about a 4th, for example f-Bb. Could you hear the major or minor in a 4th,5th,6th. I’m really interested in theory. I know my major,minor,aug,dim intervals in regards to chord progressions, so is there any theory behind these large intervals.

    thanks carl, you’re a true inspiration.

  8. matthew accetturo on March 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Dont even try to answer my stupid question/statement. i just need to go study more. in the future i’ll bite my tongue until i’m specific about my questions.

  9. JAEWON LEE on July 13, 2013 at 8:17 am

    i can’t watch the lesson.

    please, make it possble

    • Carl Brown on July 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

      What are you trying to watch the lesson on? It is working fine from here. 🙂

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