HOW TO USE THE HARMONIC MINOR SCALE
Discover a really easy way to begin playing the super cool harmonic minor scale on your guitar!
Unfortunately, as a student we are told to memorize the scale however, it took me a really long time to finally learn how to properly begin using this very cool sounding scale.
This video lesson and worksheet is a fast-track, step by step system to learn how to use the harmonic minor scale. Grab your guitar, print the worksheet and click the image below to watch the lesson video…
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The Harmonic Minor Lesson Sheet
Free Guitar Course Recommendation…
If you are new to improvising and playing guitar solos then you may what to begin with my free “Improvising Guitar Solos For Beginners Course.
I used to spend hours, days and months practicing the harmonic minor scale in every position and for what??? It didn’t mean anything to me until I was shown how to apply it to the V7 (or V major) chord of the I minor key. Then it was MAGIC!!
I bet that statement sounds pretty confusing so lets break this down.
#1. The above video will teach you a simple D minor chord and the D minors scale. I’ll also show you a really fast way to memorize the scale. We call the Dm chord the 1st chord or the number 1 chord in the key of Dm.
#2. There are 3 minor chords in the key of D minor and they are Dm, Gm and Am. In theory we like to number these chords as Dm = the 1st chord, Gm = the 4th chord and Am = the 5th chord. The minor scale that you will learn fits perfectly with these 3 minor chords. (no bad notes will be heard playing the D minor scale against any of the listed minor chords)
So how or where do you apply the D harmonic minor scale??
Well here’s the Secret Sauce… If you turn the 5th chord in the key of D minor from an A minor chord to an A major chord then that cool change from Am to A is one Big Fat Green Light to use the D Harmonic Minor Scale and if you learn to target the A chord tones (notes). Then you are Super Cool !!!
So, why and how does this work???
The Harmonic Minor scale is simply a D minor scale with a raised 7th note. In key of D minor the 7th note is a C note and the 5th chord in the key of D minor is Am that contains the C note however, it is super cool to change that 5th chord from Am to an A major chord. To change an Am to an A chord you have to raise that C note to a C#.
Musicians love this because the A major chord has a much stronger push to pull you back to the Dm chord. The C# note is only 1 fret away from D instead of the weaker 2 fret movement.
I know… Why To Much Music Theory!!!
Okay so here is the bottom line… If the chords are Dm to Am use the boring D minor scale however, if you change one note to play the A chord then the use the D harmonic minor because that raise 7th note that was use to create the scale is the same note that changed the Am chord to an A chord and all the Spanish, Heavy metal, Jazz and (so many other) guitar players love this sound!
Here’s one other extremely important pro guitar tip…
If the chord is Dm, target a chord note first before playing the minor scale and if the chord is A (major) target an A chord note first before playing the harmonic minor scale. I other words, the D harmonic minor scale will note sound very cool starting from the D note because it doesn’t belong to the A chord the band is playing.
This lesson is designed to show you 2 easy chords; the D minor chord and how it is used to play an improvised solo with the pure D minor scale as well as the A chord and why it is that we change one note in within the D minor scale to play the super cool harmonic minor scale.
Download the lesson sheet, watch the video and most importantly… Have Fun!
John (your guitar buddy) Gilliat 🙂