Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Soloing with Intervals: Dorian 3rds

Soloing with Intervals: Dorian 3rds

Soloing with intervals is a useful way to add contrast to your solos. Intervals refer to the distance between one and another note in the scale. For example, the interval between the Root note and the 3rd note of the Major Scale is an interval of a Perfect 3rd and the interval between the Root note and the 5th note of the scale is an interval of a Perfect 5th. In blues music, soloing with intervals such as the 3rd and 6th are common devices used in blues guitar playing.

In this lesson, the first of a two part series, we will be looking at how we can incorporate 3rd Intervals into your solos, riffs and improvisations. Part two will be detailing use of 6th intervals. These soloing with intervals lessons can be found in their extended versions and with a whole range of other lesson material in the ebook 30 Days to Better Blues Guitar.

All of the soloing with intervals exercises in this lesson are in the key of E, but once mastered it is highly recommended that you learn to play them in all 12 keys.



Soloing with Intervals – Dorian 3rds


In the notation below I have written out two string sets using the Dorian Scale for E. What we are doing in these examples is instead of playing the scale all in one position we are playing the scale up the string and with the 3rd interval at the same time.


String Set 1 and 2


Our first set of E Dorian 3rds is on the 1st and 2nd strings. So that you can play these smoothly it is essential that you have your fingers well organized. The 1st step in our example should be played with the second finger and the open string. Intervals of a Major 3rd, such as the 2nd, 5th and 6th steps shown below should be played with the second and first fingers. The remaining Minor 3rds, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th, steps should be played with the third and first fingers. In so doing you will always have a finger on a string which will enable you to slide up to the next pair of notes in the scale with maximum fluency.


soloing with intervals 1


String Set 2 and 3


Our next set of intervals will take place on the 2nd and 3rd strings and can be played with the same fingers. This time, however, the Major 3rd intervals (1st, 2nd, 5th and 8th positions) will be on the same frets and the Minor 3rds will be a fret apart:

When you are confident at playing these in E (I) practice them in A (IV) and B (V) and then in all the other keys.


soloing with intervals 2


Blues Licks: Dorian 3rds


In this example I have written out a Blues in F lick in the style of Albert Collins the “Master of the Telecaster,” who was adept at soloing with intervals. These kind of licks are effective both in a solo and as a rhythm part and work well when played as a call and response type solo. In addition to this I have inserted some staccato notes. Staccato is commonly used in Blues soloing and is marked on the notation by a dot above or blow the note. What you have to do is to play the note marked very short and briefly.

The first one is over the I (F) and uses the first two steps of the Dorian scale played in 3rds.


soloing with intervals 3


When moving to the IV (Bb) the lick now uses an Ab. In our F Dorian scale the first 3rd interval has now become a Minor 3rd. This is interesting in the Blues as that interval becomes a Minor 7 when you move to the IV. We will be looking at 3rds and 7ths in a little more detail later on.


soloing with intervals 4


Essential Listening:


Albert Collins- If Trouble Was Money

Magic Sam- Easy Baby

John MayerVultures

Stevie Ray VaughanCold Shot


This post is a guest post written by Joseph James who runs Guitar4Free.com

For more lessons on Soloing with Intervals, Improvisation and Blues Guitar please check out 30 Days to Better Blues Guitar and Essential Concepts in Guitar Improvisation.




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