Most guitar players avoid using wide intervals because the nature of scale and arpeggio patterns tend to keep the fingers confined. Piano players have a great sense of how to use wide intervals as do as horn players, and of course, Bach was the master! Just like the little booklet where you connect the dots by numbers to create a picture (such as a house or landscape), the use of open or dispersed triads can really open up the mysteries of the fretboard and help create a palate of colorful sounds for soloing and comping.

The key to better understanding wide intervals, or any interval for that matter, is to see the connection to chord shapes and not just scale patterns. If I start with C major triad and lower the root diatonically one note, I get the very next harmony in the key, which is E minor. Lower the root of E minor and I now have G major. Lower the root of G, and I now have B diminished, etc.

In the following Blues example, the intervals are built directly out of triads. Here is the breakdown. The first two intervals for G7 are from an E minor and B diminished triad. The root is an octave up in the E minor triad and the third is an octave up for the B diminished.


For the solo, I just moved the shapes up one octave from the comp. You will see the fingerings are the same. Lower octaves use strings 5, 4, 2 and upper octaves use strings 4, 3, 1. You could actually use either octave for a comp or solo.


In Diagram I, I took the note of the triad that is up one octave and then dropped it down two octaves. Basically just drop the top note of the each triad from the high E string to the low E string.


Diagram II is an Etude playing the triads as a single line going from one voicing to another and you can see and hear the wide intervals very easily. Play it slowly. There are, of course, other string combinations available, but first start with these. Also, if you look at the triad movement, you will see the full 4-note voicing for all the chords in C major.

Example: C maj7 = C major triad + E minor triad.


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