Monday, March 2, 2015

Superzone 3rds

There are two "Superzones" on the fretboard; the Phrygian and the Aeolian. In any key, the Phrygian Superzone  runs from the Phrygian Axis to the Aeolian Axis – that is; the fret position on which the notes on the 1st and 6th string are the 3rd key degree (Phrygian) and the 6th key degree (Aeolian). In the key of E, for instance, the Phrygian Axis is the 4th fret because G# is the 3rd key degree of that key.

Below is a diagram of all of the 3rds within the Phrygian Superzone in the key of E ...
Major 3rds are shown as green, minor 3rds are amber. Notice the minor 3rds in the "3rd rail" (the 2nd and 3rd strings) are the same shape as the major 3rds everywhere else.

... Phrygian Superzone 3rds, ascending and descending

Now lets look at the Aeolian Superzone, this time we're in the key of B. In this key the Aeolian Superzone occupies the same fret span as the Phrygian Zone/Key of E in the above example. Compare the two patterns ...

... Aeolian Superzone 3rds, ascending and descending

You may want to focus on the positions of the major 3rds (I, IV, V) in each of the patterns. Notice in the Phrygian zone, that lower five major 3rds form a symmetrical sequence starting with A Major: IV - V - I - IV - V. See how central the V - I - IV grouping is.

In the Aeolian zone there are four major 3rds in the lower group, aligned in pairs starting with B Major: I - IV - V - I.

Look for the groupings of minor 3rds as well and practice them, and the major 3rds independently of one another. Be careful with your fingering so that you can feel the shapes of the double-stops as you play. Major 3rds may, at one time or another, be fingered 1-2, 2-3, or 3-4. Minor 3rds are fingered 1-3 or 2-4 outside the "3rd rail" (the 2nd and 3rd strings)  and 1-2 or 3-4 in the 3rd rail.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

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