Watch the Chapter 17: Harmonizing Scales with Three Notes online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar
This lesson builds on our study of harmonizing the major scale, but instead of adding one interval, we will harmonize the major scale with two intervals. The same approach can be applied to harmonizing melodies. This is another way to develop chord voicings. Experimenting with different combinations of intervals will spark creativity in addition to helping you gain a better understanding of the fingerboard.
It is important to note that several of the 3 note combinations we will work through are impossible to play simultaneously; you just can't stretch your fingers that far. When working through such harmonies, simply treat them like arpeggios, picking one note at a time while thinking vertically.
Essentially, you are playing the notes of the major scale horizontally on 3 strings with different start and end points.
1. Start in the key of C with a C chord. Note that a C chord is made up of 2 intervals: a 3rd and a 3rd.
2. Do not think of these as triads; rather focus on the intervals between each note.
3. Play the notes of the major scale horizontally, ascending and descending with each interval staying on the same string. Remember, you are playing the notes of the major scale on 3 strings simultaneously with different start and end points.
Below are the combinations of intervals to work through. Start on the top 3 strings, and then move to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings. Some of these require a fair degree of stretching. Be careful - if you feel strained, stop and take a break. See the notation that follows for each of these variations.
II and II III and II IV and II
II and III III and III IV and III
II and IV III and IV IV and IV
II and V III and V IV and V
II and VI III and VI IV and VI
II and VII II and VII IV and VII
4. Listen to the sound combinations and think about which players or styles they remind you of. Then think about which you prefer to use in your own playing.
5. Apply this same concept to melody. See the video for a demonstration and the notation that follows. We will apply it to the song "All of Me".
6. Apply this approach when adding a song to your repertoire. Whenever I learn a new song I will spend time harmonizing the melodies with this approach to really internalize the song. Once I do it I know the song forever.