Grab your guitar, these sixths will come handy if you want to play something interesting. Cause sometimes thick, heavy sounding chords are too much for what you want to play. And it happens that even triads are overkill. That’s when intervals come into the picture. Most of the time they can still imply a chord. Even though the sound will be much more open and “airy”. Yet still musically interesting at the same time. Let’s check out 6ths now!
When 6ths meet the guitar – a familiar sound
6ths can be major or minor, augmented or diminished. If you play double stops constructed of 6ths, it will sound interesting but familiar too at the same time, because major sixth is the inverse of a minor third, and minor sixth is the inverse of a major third as well, and we hear a lot of 3rds in popular music in the top voice. 6ths sound consonant, but not near as consonant as an octave or a fifth. Sixths appear in many different genres, including country, blues, jazz or African music. Just kidding you. You can really play the damn things in whatever music you want.
Double stops are the key
Let’s see how they work! You will (hopefully) get accustomed to the sound of 6ths on your guitar pretty quick. Check out the following example:
If you would like to hear what the above example sounds like, you can do so by listening to the following sound file: major and minor sixths on guitar – example, mp3
You have probably noticed the simple shapes you have to grip on the fretboard to play sixths on your guitar. These are really what we call double stops. Only they appear on non-adjacent strings. So what. As you can see and hear, 6ths can be used effectively for creating interesting music. At least for a while. After that brief period of time, it all just starts to sound like old school country/Hawaiian music. Well, get over it and have fun!