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Lesson #22: Fret Relation and Intervals: Skipping Strings

by Tyler de Witt posted on 1999-10-17
Topic: Fretboard Subtopic: General
Level: Intermediate Number of Readers: 73491

Fret Relation and Intervals: Skipping Strings

In the last two lessons we looked at intervals built on the same string, and intervals built on adjacent strings. Now we'll analyse intervals built on strings that are 2 strings away.

Really, the same principles apply as for building intervals between adjacent strings. The only difference is that intervals built on skipped strings are usually larger(ie 7ths and ocatves) than intervals built on the same string, or on adjacent string. This is because trying to play intervals that are far from this range will force you stretch your fingers a LONG ways. Why would we try to play a perfect fourth between skipped strings? Usually, you wouldn't. You would use adjacent strings.

So each situation(same string, adjacent string, skipped strings) gives you a certain comfortable range of intervals that each is designed for. The range for intervals built on skipped strings is from about a perfect 5th to a 9th. (For those of you who don't know what a 9th is, it's just an octave plus a second.)

Here are some intervals built on skipped strings:


D-2----		perfect 5th		move up 2 strings, and back 3 frets
A------
E-5----

D-3----		minor 6th			"	and back 2 frets
A------
E-5----

D-4----		major 6th			"	and back 1 fret
A------
E-5----

D-5----		minor 7th			"	directly above
A------
E-5----

D-6----		major 7th			"	and forward 1 fret
A------
E-5----

D-7----		ocatave				"	and forward 2 frets
A------
E-5----

D-8----		minor ninth			"	and forward 3 frets
A------		(octave+minor second)
E-5----

D-9----		major ninth			"	and forward 4 frets
A------		(ocatve+major second)
E-5----

These are the intervals used most often between skipped strings.

Now that I've shown you these shapes, I'll have to tell you that they'll only work between the 6th and 4th strings, and 5th and 3rd strings. The reason for this(just like we said in our last lesson) is that the 2nd and 3rd strings are tuned differently. So for the skipped string intervals between the 4th and 2nd strings, and the 3rd and 1st strings, you'll have to differ these shapes by 1 fret, to account for the difference of tuning between the 2nd and third strings. Because you'll have to use one set 50% of the time, and another set 50% of the time, I will also give you a chart for these, although they're very similar and you can easily figure them out by yourself.

E-3----		perfect 5th			move up 2 strings, and back 2 frets
B------
G-5----

E-4----		minor 6th			"	and back 1 fret
B------
G-5----

E-5----		major 6th			"	directly above
B------
G-5----

E-6----		minor 7th			"	and forward 1 fret
B------
G-5----

E-7----		major 7th			"	and forward 2 frets
B------
G-5----

E-8----		octave				"	and forward 3 frets
B------
G-5----

E-8----		minor ninth			"	and forward 5 frets
B------		(octave+minor second)
G-5----

E-9----		major ninth			"	and forward 5 frets
B------		(ocatve+major second)
G-5----

The last one you probably won't use, because it's a huge stretch.

So those are the shapes of the intervals when crossing the 2nd and 3rd strings, which are tuned to a major 3rd instead of a perfect 4th.

You might wonder the guitar couldn't just be tuned completely in perfect fourths, so that it would be symetric and we wouldn't have to learn different shapes when crossing the 2nd and third strings. Actually, some people _do_ tune it this way. Many jazz guitarists prefer the symetry of a guitar tuned in fourths. However, the reason that a major third is introduced somewhere is so that the 6th string and the 1st string will be the same note, two octaves away. This is useful for forming open chords, which is the 'typical' way of playing the guitar. It also makes full barre chords possible to play; try tuning your guitar and fourths and figuring out some shapes of full barre chords, they'll probably be a bit trickier.

Anyways, once you learn these shapes, it's not that much of a problem to account for the difference between the 2nd and 3rd strings.

With our knowledge of these shapes of intervals, in our next lesson we'll be looking at chord practical chord construction. If you haven't already done so, you should read some of the triad and chord lessons in the theory section, because I'll have to assume some knowledge of basic chord theory in the practical lesson that's coming up.

Things to remember from this lesson:

1. We use interval shapes between skipped strings to make it easier to play a certain range of intervals: this range is from a 5th to a 9th. Other intervals are more comfortable to play between adjacent strings.
2. Memorize some of the shapes presented, especially the octave, the 7ths and the 5ths. They will be important in chord construction.
3. Remember the difference between the 2nd and 3rd strings, and that we have to account for it by changing out shapes of intervals by 1 fret.


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