Part 3 – The Minor Scale…

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The Minor Scale

What do you mean “I already know it?”


Now, remember how earlier on we went through the Major Scale and not only memorised where all the Major Root Notes were but also added the Minor Root Notes to our mental labelling? By the end we should have been able to play through the major scale and mentally label every major or minor root note we came across. If you want to check if this is really coming along nicely, try to jump around the position or several of them and find Major/Minor root notes in lots of different places. Even try to know where they all are at once.

The last article probably gave the game away on what to do when we want to use a minor scale. It’s exactly the same principle:


We want to slide the pattern until it is now the Minor Root Notes that line up with the key we want.


Let’s assume it is the key of C minor that we want to play in. You know what to do… Slide the pattern until the minor root notes line up with the note C (10th fret of the D string is the note C, so is the 13th fret of the B string). It will look like this.

C minor


Now it is the Minor Root Notes that line up with the note C. 

Before, when we played in C Major we lined up the black dots (Major Root Notes).

Now that we want in to play C minor we have simply shifted the patten so that now the Minor Root Notes (red dots) line up with C.

Of course, the C notes will never be on different frets! (Unless you tune the guitar differently but that’s another story)


So, if you really have done the work of mentally labelling the different root notes it should be fairly easy to see how you can now move easily between any major and minor keys.


Play it for a while and listen to it’s sound. Remember that when you are using the Minor Scale you want to prioritise it in your playing. Some people suggest this means always starting and finishing on the minor root note. This isn’t true however starting and finishing on the Minor Root Note is indeed a way to prioritise it. But it’s not the only way. You can play it louder, more often, before the beat etc. Let your ear tell you how much and when to use it.


Try this: Go through the same process as before and find as many minor keys as you can. Just think of a note from the musical alphabet ad then try to play in its minor key. Listen to their sounds as well. Each key, major or minor, has a unique sound. You will like some more than others just based on their sound.

A few of my favourites are :

  • C minor
  • D minor
  • C# minor
  • G minor
  • Eb minor

When everything up to now is clear and most importantly, you can apply it, head over to the next lesson to see a few different ways that you can transition between Major and Minor.

Andrew Scrivens

Andrew Scrivens

I am a live musician and guitar teacher from Brisbane, Australia, with extensive experience playing live, in the studio and for TV shows. I play in many venues, studios, music shops and with my students and as such am exposed to a lot of different gear. I form my opinions based on my experiences playing instruments in these locations.

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