Minor Scale Training Lesson: G Minor & C Minor

Theory First Of Course…

Compare the sound of The Key of G Major with the sound of The Key of G Minor. A Natural Minor scale can be thought of as a Major scale with a flatted 3rd, 6th and 7th degree.

Transpose Those Shapes…

In the spirit of “jumping right on it”, lets start out by playing in the Key of G minor. Your first thought concerning any new key or scale is the location of the Root notes (“G”) on strings six and five. After that you should think of the Root 6 and Root 5 scale shapes. As earlier stated, many players find it helpful to think of chord shapes and chord tones found resident within the scale. The animation to your left starts out by illustrating this first line of thinking as it applies to the Key of G minor. Start out by memorizing these two patterns to acclimate your ears and eyes to the Key of G minor. As you melodize and improvise with the sound track remember your goal is to create something musical and pleasing to your ear. This is best accomplished by keeping things simple and making music with bits of chords and bits of scales. The animaition spends approximately one and half minutes on each scale shape to give you ample time to develop ideas.

Learning and Using The 5 Shapes…

Here you will complete your study of learning how to play and how to use the G Natural Minor Scale. As we did with the Major Scales presented earlier in the course we’ve created a two exercises for each of the scale shapes:

  1. A plain and easy fingering chart with a play along exercise meant to strengthen your fingers and hearing abilities.
  2. A short melodic lead guitar line intended to develop a strong and musical soloing vocabulary.

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Soloing Within The Scales…

Once again, this course is teaching you not only how to play scales but how to use them. Within each of the 5 scale shape there are tips, tricks and techniques hiding for your personal use. Of course the strongest, most correct and most powerful note in any key is its root. The next strongest, most correct and most powerful notes are the notes in the chord against which you’re soloing. We’re also leaning on the “A” note which is called the 2nd or the 9th, a note known to you for its sweet sound.
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In the solo below, we’re using the root note and the notes of the G minor chord along with a few well chosen scale passages. Interestingly enough, the open strings in this key facilitate a smooth and flowing run down to the low “G”. Also, play attention to the way various notes are articulated, or pronounced if you will. The use of slides and slurs will add a professionals’ touch to your soloing. Play the solo note for note and learn to copy the licks in great detail. The track has space for you to play on after the solo concludes.

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3rd Position
The G Minor scale shape found in the 3rd position is often thought of as “the minor scale” because it’s usually the first minor scale pattern a player learns and therefore thinks of when needing a minor scale fingereing pattern.

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3rd Position Solo
This solo contains a simple yet highly effective motif, or a repetitive theme, around which the rest of the ideas in the lead guitar part are constructed. This simple but powerful idea is a quarter note rhythm based on two chord tones (a leap from the “G” Root to the 5th of the scale, “D”) and is labeled “chord” in the music just below. Each occurance of the motif is then balanced with a scale passage. Experienced players know that music is a highly repititious art form to begin with and know how get the most of those catchy little bits and pieces by repeating them. In contrast inexperienced players and amateurs will ramble up and down the scale, playing each note in its proper order. Playing many more notes than necessary and ultimately making no musical sense.

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5th Position
The G Minor scale shape found in the 5th position is quite important because its connected to one of the ‘first line of defense’ scale patterns, Root 6 G minor -a scale shape you’ll be using and playing quite a bit. A firm grasp on the fingering pattern below will afford you greater freedom of movement and enable you to create solos and melodies covering a wide range and break out of old ruts.

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5th Position Solo
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Our 5th position solo continues to explore the use of a simple and direct rhythm of chord tones balanced with an interesting scale passage. To simplify, melodic lines are made up of bits of chords and bits aof scales that are put in a particular order of the musicians choosing and then rhythmicized. That’s why this course emphasizes and recognizes the chord tones and chord shapes resident within each scale as an integral part of the creative process. As you practice the solo nail down the slides, slurs, pull offs and all articulations.

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7th Position

In the 7th position, the G Minor scale shape is a little awkward because the most logical place to find some of the ncotes is actually of fret 6. This should come as no surprise to you as we’ve done quite a bit of this finger stretching in this course of study. Remember to think of the playing as being done in position VII and return finger one back to the 7th fret immediately after the stretch.

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7th Position Solo
scx1814All scale shapes are important when it comes to being a competent guitarist. This particular scale shape has a Root note on the 5th string, Root notes located on the 5th string (and 6th string) serve as reference points for organizing your thinking and playing. Also, ‘lesser known’ scale shapes invariably connect to ‘better known’ scale shapes and as a result can help you extend your range and avoid that feeling of being trapped in a rut or in one scale shape. In addition to connecting to the Root Note on String 5 this scale shapes also contains an unusual yet melody friendly minor chord shape as illustrated at right.

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10th Position

The 10th position G Minor scale shape is one of an experienced guitarists favorite as it is very comfortable and user friendly from a physical standpoint. From an academic standpoint its closely related to and contains a Root 5 minor chord, to review, this is part of our ‘first line of defense’ method of thinking and organization.

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10th Position Solo
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The final solo in the key of G minor illustrates the use of musical space (silence) and long notes. The quality of the solo is definately, decidedly and intentionally written to be minor and to bring out the sound and character of the pure minor scale. Take special notice of the leaps and skips used to avoid a dull stepwise or in order sound. Remember if all you practice is scales all you will ever sound like is a person runnning scales. If yopu practice copying, analyzing and creating tunes, music, and melody your playing will assume a tuneful, musical and melodic quality.

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Guided Practice……
file1Open this link for an additional melodic studies using the C Natural Minor Scale.

 

Conclusion……

In this lesson you’ve been strengthening your command over the 5 shapes associated with a Natural Minor Scale by transposing the scale patterns to the key of G minor. Additionally, you’ll also be developing the ability to use these various scale shapes in jamming, composing and improvising situations by studying short melodic passages and and tuneful guitar solos.

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