Play This "Non-Technical" EASY 3rd's and 4th's Riff...

Here's a fun exercise for when we start out our playing day on guitar. After all, fun is one of the main reasons that we first rush into learning to play guitar in the first place. And, exercises stretch our creativity, as well as, open our minds to new music - leading us to want to learn even more about playing music on the guitar...

Much of what we descend into as we play guitar over time, (as in the weeks and months down the road), will lead us to the study of both musical and guitar based ideas that will inevitably become more and more technical.

Sadly, that type of guitar learning /music education can actually feel like it's doing us more harm than good!

In this lesson, I’m going to show you how to spend some of your practice time during your week so that it does not focus on highly technical theory and playing.

The focus of this lesson is to show you how to start with jamming on very simple ideas. In fact, our motto through this guitar lesson pretty much say's it all, "Effectiveness Through Simplicity."

In this lesson we’re going to talk about why doing too much technical thinking can actually start hold you back. We’ll also learn what benefits can start to happen for you when you limit technical thinking and instead play guitar more creative with less information.

Today’s lesson has two parts and they work together, so watch the whole lesson. At the end, I think you’ll be surprised at the results of using a more creative approach and the effect that it has on how you play and what you play! So, grab your guitar and let’s get started.

The first thing I want to do is look at something that’s really popular and it’s also really easy to play. It’s just two notes, (called a Perfect 4th), and it’s located up at the tenth fret on the top two guitar strings.

Next, I’m going to get you to just slide it down two frets (toward the head-stock), like this.

At this point we’ve just played a couple of simple vertical two note chords, and this note layout is very common on guitar. Especially when we’re just fooling around with jamming on ideas to riff out to.

This exercise is in the key of "G Major." The scale pattern structure is indicated below:

Something else you may have noticed long the way is that this two-note principle can transition out a half step across the strings to provide us with another balanced sound.

Here’s what the ½ step shape looks like that I’m referring to.

The shape above can act as a strong way to provide resolution when it comes to completing phrases during riff building.

Remember, effectiveness through simplicity is our goal. And, when it comes to note movements and opening up the 3rd and 4th open strings as well, these shapes are really effective.

The patterns are basic, they’re common, easy to play, and guitar players (no matter what level they’re at) can start making up some music with them in pretty much no time flat.

Plus, these ideas have other related shapes that can combine with them to help us to have even more fun with this very simple approach to playing.


I wanted to take a minute to let you know, that if you want to learn even more about scales and theory I have a great offer for you.

With any donation over $5, or any merchandise purchase from my Tee-Spring store, I’ll send you free copies of THREE of my most popular digital handouts.

One is called, “Harmonized Arpeggio Drills” (it’ll train you on developing your diatonic arpeggios).

Another one is my “Barre Chord” Handout which includes a page showing all the key signatures along with a chord progression that applies barre chords.

Plus, you’ll get my Notation Pack! It has 8 pages of important guitar worksheets for notating anything related to; music charts, guitar chord diagrams, and TAB.

As a BONUS, (from my "Over 40 and Still Can't Play a Scale" video), I'll also throw in a breakdown of all of the chords that are diatonic to the "F Major" scale.

As an EXTRA BONUS for my Phrygian Dominant video, I'll also throw in a breakdown featuring all of the chords that are diatonic to the Phrygian Dominant scale.

Just send me an email off of the contact page of to let me know about either your donation or your Merchandise purchase and I’ll email you those digital handouts within 24 hrs.   


The next idea will add another popular two-note shape that guitar players will often stumble across while jamming around and having fun. Here’s what this shape looks like.

As you can tell, this two-note chord (an interval of a "Minor" 3rd), is once again on the top two strings, but this time the notes are a full-step apart played with the 1st and 3rd fingers.

The above pattern, (just like those vertical ones from the first example), can slide between fret positions while maintaining the shape (spaced out; 2-frets apart).

Below, we have this 2-note shape moved up to the 5th position.

This new shapes are also in the key of "G Major." The scale pattern structure is indicated below for our new fret-board area:

What’s really cool with this is that these new shapes can also work very musically by playing them back into one of our shapes from the first example. It was that shape at the 7th-fret, (if you’ll recall, it was a ½ step apart).

We can also resolve everything we’ve been jamming on in this lesson – (all of these shapes) - back to this 7th-fret pattern (above) and have a lot of fun jamming around with this stuff!

Again, effectiveness through simplicity is our goal with all this, (so think simple).

Also, remember that this can sound especially good if we incorporate the idea - I had mentioned before - of opening up the 3rd and 4th guitar strings, and including that “open string sound,” into the mix… I’ll jam around with this.

The cool thing that happens when we play guitar from a place of just having fun and fooling around (without using any technical approach to what we’re doing), is that we operate from a different headspace.

It’s more creative, and it’s one that involves a search for musical ideas. That search becomes our main priority. Once we discover a few interesting grooves, riffs or melodies we can just expand upon them and it’s all done from a perspective of having fun.

So, if you’re feeling like you need a break away from technical guitar practice, and you just want to grab the guitar and go for it and have fun - then try doing something similar to what I’ve gone over here in this lesson. It definitely makes a big impact to the old fun factor involved with practicing guitar!



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes