- Natural minor - MUST LEARN!
- Harmonic minor - natural minor #7
- Melodic minor - natural minor #6 #7
- Dorian mode - natural minor #6
- Phrygian mode - natural minor b2
- Pentatonic minor - natural minor remove 2 and 6
Natural MinorThis scale is built from the sixth note of any major scale. This information will become more useful as you learn more about music theory. The concept of this article is PLAYING the scales with greater ease so focus on what notes you need to play.
Notes of A natural minor are A B C D E F G ALearn one place on the fretboard to play this collection of notes. Memorize the pattern. This pattern will be used to understand the difference between the minor scales and modes that follow.
Harmonic MinorPlay the same notes as natural minor until the 7th note of the scale. When getting to note seven play one fret higher. This means we have sharpened the 7th note of the natural minor scale. This is how harmonic minor is created. We would musically describe this as sharpening the 7th note of the scale.
Harmonic minor = natural minor with a #7 = A B C D E F G# AHarmonic minor is commonly used.
Melodic MinorWe will discuss what is labeled jazz melodic minor only in this article. It is the melodic minor scale that is more useful for playing in solos. We play the same notes as harmonic minor apart from the 6th note of the scale. We will raise the 6th note by one fret. There are a few cheats we can use here depending on which scales you are most comfortable in playing. This scale is also only one note different to the major scale.
Melodic Minor = harmonic minor with #6 = A B C D E F# G# A
Melodic Minor = natural minor with #6 #7
Melodic Minor = major with b3
Dorian ModeLike natural minor, Dorian is a mode that starts on the second note of any major scale. When comparing it to natural minor we only need to change one note. Move note 6 forward one fret and you are now playing Dorian mode.
Dorian = natural minor with #6 = A B C D E F# G AUse this scale to solo with in songs like "Come Together" by the Beatles.
Phrygian ModeLike natural minor, Phrygian is a mode that starts on the third note of any major scale. When comparing it to natural minor we only need to change one note. Move note 2 of natural minor back one fret and you are now playing Phrygian mode.
Phrygian = natural minor with b2 = A Bb C D E F G A
Pentatonic MinorWe remove two notes from the natural minor. This was due to the sound clash two of the notes create in this scale. The 2nd and 6th notes are eliminated due to the tritone interval they make. This clash is one of the harsher sounds in music. This also leaves use with more chord tones in the scale make up. It is great to use in solos for this reason.
Pentatonic minor - remove 2 and 6 = A C D E G AUse this to open up your playing, to get an ear for the sound of these scales and to have more fun playing your guitar.
About the Author:
Rhys Lett runs a music school in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. We have more of these practical insights to music available to you on my website blog. We would be happy to help you further.