In the last lesson on soloing with intervals we studied Dorian3rd intervals and began to look at how to incorporate them into Blues solos, riffs and improvisations. This two part series is featured in an extended version and with a whole range of other Blues guitar lessons in 30 Days to Better Blues Guitar. In this lesson we will be following on from this by looking at how to play 6ths on guitar from the Mixolydian scale. In the following two examples we are going to play intervals from an E7 or Mixolydian scale. The intervals this time are 6ths on guitar and are a string apart.


How to Play 6ths on Guitar – String Set 1 and 3


In the first example, we have 6ths played on the 1st and 3rds strings. Again, good fingering is essential to enhance fluency, so the Major 3rds (1st, 4th, 7th and 8th) must be played with the second and third fingers, whereas the Minor 3rds (2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th) must be played with the second and first fingers when learning how to play 6ths on guitar.

 6ths on guitar


How to Play 6ths on Guitar- String Set 2 and 4


The final exercise regarding how to play 6ths on guitar is played on the 2nd and 4th strings. The Major Intervals (1st, 2nd , 5th  and 6th) must be played with the second and third fingers, whereas the Minor Intervals (3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th) must be played with the second and first fingers.


6ths on guitar


Blues Solo Number: Mixolydian 6ths­


The following solo utilizes some of the intervals that we have used in the previous exercises and can be played as a 12 Bar Blues in E. I have also added some more staccato notes and some slides as they add some really subtle flavouring to the 6ths on guitar and 3rds. Finally, you will notice that there is a slight variation to the 12 bar form. In bar 2 we have moved to the IV before returning to the I in bar 3. This is known as the quick change.


 6ths on guitar

Blues Solo Number: 3rd and 6ths


The following solo is in the style of John Lee Hooker. In the first four bars whilst on the I7 chord I have incorporated a riff style lead based around 3rd intervals as a call with a low bass line at the end of each bar as a response. Using call and response as well as being a common element in Blues playing is a really effective way to help keep time and harmonise with yourself whilst also helping to generate ideas for improvisation. Together with this, it can be tremendous fun when played with another musician as you can literally call out an idea out whilst your colleague responds.

We keep with the Dorian 3rds through bars 5 to 7, whereupon in bar 8 the phrasing changes slightly to allow for the introduction of a Minor to Major 3rd hammer-on. For the V and IV chords in bars 9 and 10 I have brought in some Mixolydian 6ths on guitar for a little variety before returning to the 3rds in bar 11 and simply resolving the 12 bars by playing a V7 chord.

This type of playing works well as a solo as well as an accompaniment to a vocalist or other instrument.


6ths on guitar


Essential Listening:

Eric ClaptonMalted Milk

John Lee HookerFrisco Blues

Freddie KingFunnybone

Muddy WatersMannish Boy


This post is a guest post written by Joseph James who runs



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