Rock Guitar Lick 25: Mixolydian Lick Using Sliding Thirds

In this guitar lesson we’re going to look at a mixolydian guitar lick that uses a concept that I call sliding thirds. Before we take a look at the lick itself, it’s important that we review some theory first.

In music, the term interval is used to describe the distance in pitch between two notes. An interval of a third is one that encompasses three letters from the musical alphabet.

Because the lick we’re about to look at is composed using notes from the A Mixolydian mode, let’s see what third intervals can be found in this scale…

A Mixolydian: Scale Degrees and Note Names

A Mixolydian: Scale Degrees and Note Names

Because a third is an interval that encompasses three letters of the musical alphabet, then this means that the distance between A and C# would be an interval of a third…

Thirds Example: A to C#

The next third interval we can find in this scale would be the distance between B and D

Thirds Example: B and D

If we continued this process, then we would end up with five more third intervals that could be formed from the A Mixolydian mode. These would be…

  • C# to E
  • D to F#
  • E to G
  • F# to A
  • G to B

Now that we’ve talked a little bit about third intervals, it’s time to take a look at the lick for this lesson…

Rock Guitar Lick 25: Mixolydian Lick Using Sliding Thirds

Rock Guitar Lick 25:Mixolydian Lick Using Sliding Thirds

The first part of this lick uses a 3-note melodic pattern using third intervals. If you look at the first three notes of the lick, then you’ll notice that you’ll need to do this…

  • Play a note on the G-string.
  • Move to the B-string and play a note that is a third higher.
  • Descend down a third to the G-string and play the starting note again.

If you now look at the TAB again, you should be able to see that this pattern repeats four times.

Once you’ve played through the four repetitions of the melodic pattern, the majority of the rest of the lick is simply a descending scale run. Because there’s not much interest in just playing a scale, I’ve added some pull-offs into the mix. You’ll find that the notes just before the pull-off will stand out a bit more, and this helps to make the articulation of the scalar run sound less mechanical than if you picked all the notes.

To make my analysis of the lick easier to understand, here’s the TAB again with the third intervals and scalar run shown on it…

Rock Guitar Lick 25 Explained

Like many of the licks from the earlier lessons, this one makes extensive use of sixteenth note timing. In my opinion, the trickiest section of the lick to play in time is the sliding thirds part of the lick. This is because each repetition of the melodic pattern starts on the different part of the beat. If you look at the TAB for the first bar again, you’ll see that…

  • The first repetition of the melodic pattern begins on the first sixteenth note of the beat.
  • The second repetition of the melodic pattern begins on the fourth sixteenth note of the beat.
  • The third repetition of the melodic patterns starts on the third sixteenth note of the beat.
  • The last repetition of the melodic pattern begins on the second sixteenth note of the beat.

That’s all for this lesson. Hope you enjoy learning the lick. :-)

Have fun!

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