6. Thirds

Other than their sound, the important difference between 3rds and 6ths is the ability to play 3rds with the thumb or a pick only.  Here I am playing them with a pick:


The sound is similar, though not exactly the same, as playing them with the fingers:



Of course, as with 6ths, you can play them in succession, “broken” similar to an arpeggio:


3rds and 6ths are very similar in that they are “incomplete” chords, generally suggesting a 3 note chord, depending on context:


If you are new to 3rds, try your hand at some older classic examples of their use on guitar, such as the intro to “La Bamba” (Richie Valens, or Los Lobos version for better clarity of the line), or “Brown Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison, 1967), which is filled with both 3rd and 6th lines.

© 2012 Jim Greenfield