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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar VI - Scales >>

Beginning Guitar VI - Scales

Lesson 2 - The Minor Scale

check your tuning

Lyle: Last lesson was all about the Major scale. This lesson is about the minor scale. To make a minor scale, simply lower the 3rd, 6th, and 7th tones a half step or one fret worth:

1 - E major and E minor on 1st string

BigTX: b3? meaning flat

Lyle: Yes, the b is the symbol for flat, meaning lowered by one half step or one fret, same thing.

Lyle: This minor scale pattern is very melodic sounding, and perhaps the smoothest sounding of all scales. There are many other minor scales but this is the main one. It has several names and can be called the relative, natural, Aeolian minor, and pure minor scale.

Lyle: Here's the E minor scale on all strings:

2 - E minor scale - all strings

Lyle: Memorize how to play the scale up and down each string, starting on E and ending on E. Then play the scales along to this looping jam track. This is your first step to the world of "Improvising".

Jam Track for E minor scales

BigTX: Is the pattern WHWHHH?

Lyle: There is a pattern. Playback the TAB notation and see the pattern lay out in front of your eyes as you watch it on the virtual fretboard....

Joel: There's always a pattern.. that's how you get the melody and harmony :) and the whole rhythm thing.

Lyle: Music theory is based off patterns and formulas. Scales are used for melodies and harmonies.

whole and half step pattern for the minor scale

Lyle: The formula to make a minor scale is to flat the 3rd, 6th, and 7th tones/degrees of the major scale. The whole and half step pattern for the natural minor scale is WHWWHWW.

Lyle: Let's look at different fingering patterns around the neck for this scale. Here's the low E minor scale played in the "open position" and just one octave:

3 - E minor scale - open position

Lyle: Make sure you're using the correct/suggested fingerings for these patterns by viewing them on the virtual fretboard.

Lyle: Here's the two octave pattern you should learn next:

4 - E minor scale - open position 2

Lyle: Play the pattern along to the jam track. Here's a video example:

4 - E minor scale - open position 2

JBGoode: I notice that compared to last week's lesson the minor scale sounds a bit darker and less happy, is this true for most minor scales?

Lyle: Correct. Major chords and scales sound "up, bright, or happy" and minor chords and scales sound "dark, moody, or sad".

Lyle: Here's a simple 2 octave pattern that starts on the 5th string:

5 - E minor scale pattern 1

5 - E minor scale pattern 1

Lyle: Your pinky gets a good workout on this pattern.

Lyle: This next pattern is good to know when you want to start the scale using the 6th string as a root note:

6 - E minor scale pattern 2

6 - E minor scale pattern 2

Lyle: You can use these last two patterns, anywhere up and down the neck, to get to any key you need to be in. Whatever the starting note is will be your root or key note. Here's an example using the minor scale pattern with the root on the 6th string:

7 - moving the patterns

Lyle: I like to use this minor scale pattern for finger warm-ups. I'll start on the 3rd fret of the 6th string and play the whole pattern through, then I'll move up a fret and do it again, then up a fret and do it again, and again....all the way up the neck. It's a moveable pattern:

practice example

JBGoode: So that changes the key, but the pattern remains the same?

Lyle: That's correct, just like moving power chords and bar chords around the neck, you can do it with scale patterns too.

Lyle: Check out this example using the minor scale pattern that has the root on the 5th string:

8 - moving the patterns 2

Lyle: Here's a cool pattern to play. It spans three octaves. It not only sounds cool but you'll look cool playing it because your fingers climb the neck 12 frets worth:

9 - E minor - 3 octaves

9 - E minor - 3 octaves

Lyle: Try playing all the patterns you've just learned back to back like this:

all the Em patterns together

all the Em patterns together

BigTX: Man, that's a real hair burn, hurts my head to think about all the possibilities

Lyle: :-), these aren't the only finger patterns available for the natural minor scale, there are others. These here are the main ones that you should know first.

JBGoode: Any songs you can recommend for fooling around in E minor with?

Lyle: JB, I can't think of any songs right now but you should be using the looping jam track from this lesson to practice playing the E minor scale patterns with.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. Take a break and rest your fingers! See you at the next lesson!

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