A good way to spice up your rhythm and lead playing is to use 6th intervals as double stops, or 2 notes played at the same time.
The most common guitar riff with 6ths is probably this:
To get some interesting finger exercise and train your hand to find the whole major scale in 6ths, try this example. This is the A major scale harmonized in 6ths. Pay attention to the fingerings on this one…to get the smooth transitions between notes, use the fingerings noted in the tab. Also keep your fingers really close to the strings – don’t lift them too high off the fretboard.
Try this in all keys, all over the neck. Just knowing where the different 6th intervals are in each position will spark some cool ideas.
Ok, here’s another variation of the 6th, this time mixing the octave or unison in with it. The example is in G major, descending. This kind of thinking opens a ton of possibilities for mixing intervals in rhythm and solos, and also coming up with little counterpoint phrases where two notes are working in different directions, but in the same chord or scale family.
Here’s an example of how I might work 6ths into a rhythm phrase – I am also using 3rds in this one.
The key is D major.
And finally, a little lick using the 6ths in a bit of a finger twister. I really like sneaking this kind of stuff into solos to get a more harmonic sound…not just single notes all the time. Try this one in different keys and figure out how to do the same thing over a minor and dominant 7th chord sound.
Develop that ‘6ths sense’! In a future article I will go into using intervals in partial chords and getting away from the barre chord way of thinking.