Major Scale Harmonized in Thirds

In this exercise we will take a look at a Major Scale and see how we can play the scale in third intervals, which might give you a new perspective on scales!

We start our interval studies by looking at third intervals. I will show you how to play a Major Scale in thirds which will open your ears up to the sound of third intervals and how they relate to given degrees of the Major Scale.

Major Scale Harmonized in Thirds fretboard diagram In the fretboard diagram, I just want to show you how major and minor third intervals look on the fretboard, when played on two consecutive strings. The thing to take away here is that except for strings G and B (these two strings cause so many problems for us guitarists!) major thirds look the same no matter what two strings we play them on. Similarly, minor thirds look the same on consecutive strings except across G and B. In the diagrams you see how both major and minor thirds look on the G and B string, and it is important to recognize this difference.

By knowing how third intervals appear on the fretboard, and knowing which degrees of the Major Scale correspond to major and minor thirds, we can readily play a Major Scale that is harmonized in thirds. While the fretboard diagram is only showing G Major and A Minor Thirds, once we know how major and minor third intervals appear on the fretboard we can apply the shapes to any major or minor triads. So take a look at the tab and get started on a new scale journey!


Major Scale Harmonized in Thirds Guitar Pro tablature
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Guitar Lesson Exercise Performance Tips

Performance Tips

In the tablature you will see that the major and minor third interval shapes you are playing are the same shapes that you see in the fretboard diagram. The trickiest part of this exercise will be accomplishing the position shifts needed to play the G Major Scale in thirds. So just take your time, starting with a slow tempo and make sure you are playing the exercise accurately with solid timing.

When you ready, work the exercise up to higher tempos, as this will help reinforce position shifting which will come in handy for just about all other aspects of your guitar playing!

Criteria for Mastery: You can play the exercise cleanly at 120 BPM or faster and you understand how major and minor thirds are laid out on the fretboard


Please see the theory overview in the introduction to this guitar lesson.