Rock Guitar Lick 3: Sliding Fifths

Welcome to the third instalment of the Rock Licks Booster course. Hope you’ve been having fun with the licks that we’ve looked at so far!

In this lesson we’re going to look at a new lick that uses an idea that I call sliding fifths. Before we look at the lick, I better quickly explain what I mean by the term fifths…

In music, the term interval is used to describe the distance in pitch between two notes. The term fifth is a type of interval that encompasses five letters of the musical alphabet. To make it clear what I mean, let’s look at some examples of fifth intervals. To do this we’ll use the E Natural Minor scale for our examples…

E Natural Minor Scale:

E Natural Minor Scale

As I mentioned before, a fifth interval is a distance in pitch that encompasses five letters from the musical alphabet. So that would mean that the distance between the first E and B would be an interval of a fifth…

Fifth Interval: E and B

Another example of a fifth interval in this scale would be the distance between the F# and C

Fifth Interval: F# and C

I’m not going to draw tables for the rest of fifth intervals in this scale. But here’s a list of them…

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

OK, now that we’ve talked a little but about what fifths are, let’s take a look at the lick…

Rock Guitar Lick 3: Sliding Fifths

Sliding Fifths Guitar Lick

This lick uses the E Natural Minor scale, and it reminds me of something that Steve Vai or John Petrucci might play. I really like the smooth and fluid sound that it has.

It would be a really good idea to work out all the different fifth intervals that are being used in this lick. The best way to do that would be to print out this web page and write the note names above the TAB. Once you’ve done that you can then analyse it and find all the fifth intervals.

On the other hand, you could not worry about the theory at all and just learn the lick because it sounds cool. 🙂

Have fun with the lick!

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