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Discover the Natural Minor Scale

The natural minor scale is part of the major scale, made by building a scale from the 6th note of the major scale. This scale is also known as the Aeolian mode, each note in the major scale has a mode name.

It has a smooth sound and is used for many minor key songs.

If you raise the 7th of this scale you will have the Harmonic minor scale.

If you raise the 6th and the 7th of this scale you will have the Melodic minor scale.

This is where the minor Pentatonic scale comes from.

Here is a written A minor Natural.

A Minor Natural

Here is what it sounds like

Here are the natural minor scales with their relative major scale it was built from. Eb and D# are the same pitch but written different. This is where I switched to the sharp keys.

The relative major scale is where the minor scale came from. It contains the same notes.

You also have a tonic minor scale relationship too. The C major scale can go into any of the C minor scales very easily. You hear this in songs often, where a major chord changes to a minor chord.

The Beatles song Norwegian Wood does this for the break in the song and then goes back to major for the verse.

Natural Minor Scale Chords

Here is a list of the chords for the natural minor scales. These are the same chords as in the major scale but I thought you might like to look at them from another point of view.

Am

Am7

Bm7♭5

Cma7

Dm7

Em7

Fma7

G7

Dm

Dm7

Em7♭5

Fma7

Gm7

Am7

B♭ma7

C7

Gm

Gm7

Am7♭5

B♭ma7

Cm7

Dm7

E♭ma7

F7

Cm

Cm7

Dm7♭5

E♭ma7

Fm7

Gm7

A♭ma7

B♭7

Fm

Fm7

Gm7♭5

A♭ma7

B♭m7

Cm7

D♭ma7

E♭7

B♭m

B♭m7

Cm7♭5

D♭ma7

E♭m7

Fm7

G♭ma7

A♭7

E♭m

E♭m7

Fm7♭5

G♭ma7

A♭m7

B♭m7

C♭ma7

D♭7

D♯m

D♯m7

E♯m7♭5

F♯ma7

G♯m7

A♯m7

Bma7

C♯7

G♯m

G♯m7

A♯m7♭5

Bma7

C♯m7

D♯m7

Ema7

F♯7

C♯m

C♯m7

D♯m7♭5

Ema7

F♯m7

G♯m7

Ama7

B7

F♯m

F♯m7

G♯m7♭5

Ama7

Bm7

C♯m7

Dma7

E7

Bm

Bm7

C♯m7♭5

Dma7

Em7

F♯m7

Gma7

A7

Em

Em7

F♯m7♭5

Gma7

Am7

Bm7

Cma7

D7

The natural minor scales are where we get minor blues progressions with minor chords for the V chord. Most of the time the V chord is a dominant 7th

This scale also contains a minor and a major Pentatonic scales.

Minor Blues Progression

You will see this progression with the V chord(Em) as a dominant 7th(E7) more often than with a minor 5th chord.

If it has a dominant chord then the progression comes from the Harmonic or Melodic minor scales as they have a dominant 5th chord in them.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Learn to Read Guitar Music

If you take the time and learn to read guitar music you will have more learning material than you can imagine.

There are many ways to put music into written form. The way that I learned was notation, tablature came along later even though it was used in the 1500’s for lutes.

The two main ways are music notation and tablature with variations of both. Tablature tells you where to place your fingers rather than what pitch to play.

Music notation is a universal language for musicians used all over the world. This form can be used for all musical instruments not just fretted ones like the guitar.

Reading Music Notes

This is the starting point for everybody. Once you get started you will see how easy it actually is.

My first lesson was to learn how to read and play E, F and G on the 6th string. Pretty simple.

If you take your time and learn a couple of notes a day you will know most of them in a week.

Below is a link for reading notes and the next link down explains the music staff in more detail.

Learn More about Reading Notes

The Hardest Part of Reading Music

The hardest part is being able to read and play at the same time without stopping.

This will get easier the more you practice. Just start simple with quarter notes and work your way up to more complex music with 8th’s, 16th’s and triplets in it.

Understanding the Staff

The staff is where all the music is written. To be able to read music you need to understand the staff first, then it will seem easy.

Learning the staff notes and where they are on your guitar will speed up your music reading skills.

Learn the Music Staff

Time Signatures Explained

This is essential if you want to read guitar music. It gives you the basic beat of music so you can read it.

Most music is in 4/4 or C common time. These are 4 beats to the measure. The C is the same as the 4 over 4 symbol.

The next most common is 3/4 or Waltz time as it is sometimes called. One Two Three or Um Pa Pa like a tuba. This is also used for Marching songs.

The next one is 12/8 time. This rhythm has a triplet feel to it as is common in Blues music. Its you play triplets and leave out the middle note you get Swing or Shuffle eighth notes.

Time Signatures Explained

Reading Tablature or Tab

Tablature is a way of writing music without using notes. It shows you where to put your fingers for notes and chords.

Tablature is also used to show chords and finger-picking. Finger picking is especially made easier if they include what fingers to use below the tab.

The fingers for tab are P = Thumb, I = Index, M = Middle Finger and A = Ring Finger.

This is a good way of getting started while you learn to read music notation. Learning to read music does have a lot of advantages and it’s not that hard. You don’t have to be an expert reader, just knowing the notes is an advantage.

Simple Guitar Tab

Thank You for visiting our Learn to Read Guitar Music page.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Symmetrical ScalesEasy to Learn Mentally

Hover your mouse over headers, links and marks for more info.

Symmetrical scales are fairly easy to learn in your head but not always that easy to play. They usually require you to shift positions to reach all the notes

This movement makes remembering a pattern harder than it has been for the other scales

Chromatic Scale

This scale is 12 notes long and contains every note in one octave

This scale doesn’t come from any other scale like the pentatonic scales come from the major scale it’s just all the notes in an octave.

It usually doesn’t get played using all 12 notes but 5 or 6 notes is common. Paul McCartney uses this scale in quite a few of his song

It gives you a way different way to get from point A to point B or G to C you would use the notes G♯ A A♯ B then C.

The timing can vary. You can also use single notes full chords or part of a chord. Experiment with a G to C chord change and see if you can fit the notes or chords in there

Here is a page with a little more detail.

Chromatic Scale

Whole Tone Scale

This scale is made up of all whole tones or steps, two frets for the guitar.

It’s actually half of the chromatic scale above, only 6 notes long.

Here is a page with a little more detail.

Whole Tone Scale

Diminished Scales

The diminished scale is a combination of the chromatic scale and the whole tone scale.

This scale goes whole tone half tone or two frets then one fret.

It’s good for improvising over altered dominant chords and has some other uses.

Diminished Scale

Learn scales easy with this software product.
Guitar Scales Method

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Chromatic ScaleEvery Note Included

The chromatic scale is probably the easiest scale to remember but not the easiest to play because of moving out of position from the beginning positions.

This is a good scale for finger exercise. This will help you to switch strings smoothly while staying in time. Just practice slow even notes. You don’t want to be able to hear when you switch strings. Speed will come with accuracy.

Paul McCartney uses this scale in his older songs with Wings and with the Beatles

The rule of not using a note name twice in a scale goes out the window when it comes time to write chromatic and other symmetrical scales as you can see below

Learn Scales EasierTake it for a Free Ride

Guitar Scales Method

There is no standard an A flat could be written as a G sharp or vice versa. Here is the C chromatic.

There is actually only one chromatic scale you just start on a different note, All the notes are in this scale

C Chromatic Ascending 6th string

C Chromatic Ascending 5th string

This is similar to the last one. The same moves. The next one after this is different.

C Chromatic Ascending 4th String Start

The difference happens between the 3rd and 2nd string because these two string are tuned a major 3rd apart instead of a fourth

C Chromatic Ascending 3rd string

With the ascending scale we moved down one fret except between strings 2 and 3. With the descending scale we will move up one fret except for strings 2 and 3.

Learn the Entire Fretboard
No More Stumbling Around

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Absolute Fretboard

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C Ascending Audio Example

For the example up above I combined the first and last scale samples to make a two octave audio

Descending Chromatic Scales

We’ll start backwards from the first section starting on the high E string. The reverse of the last ascending scale.

C Chromatic Descending 1st String Start

C Chromatic Descending 2nd String Start

C Chromatic Descending 3rd String Start

C Chromatic Descending 4th String Start

C Descending Audio Example

Chromatic Audio Example

Here’s a sample of how to use this scale. We’ll use a G to C Chord change

I had to leave out a note or two to get it to fit but you got the idea right. Just another tool to make your leads or rhythm guitar more interesting.

Rhythm guitar players use notes and chords. Listen to how the Rolling Stones guitar players work the rhythm and leads together.

You can hear this scale in Blues songs when going from the I to the IV chord, usually when comping with short chords sometimes refered to as “Fat” chords because of their full sound.

I’ll be adding more on comping and “Fat” chords later in the Chord section of the site.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Beginner Guitar Chords…Understanding Chord Structure

The most simple beginner guitar chords are the triads. These are three note chords that all the other chords are built on.

Read that last sentence again, I said “all guitar chords” are built from these basic three note chords.

Once you understand these basics you will be able make chords anywhere on the guitar if you know the notes on the Guitar Fretboard.

There are four types of basic chords.

Diminished Chords

Augmented Chords

Chord Inversions

Each of these chords have three notes. They also have three different ways the notes can be arranged, these are called inversions. Let me show you.

Below is a C chord, the notes in a C chord are C E G.

C – E – G = Root Position

E – G – C = 1st Inversion

G – C – E = 2nd Inversion

What we need to do is divide the guitar strings up into 4 three string sets.

This is how we are going learn our beginner guitar chords. One set at a time.

Major Triads Root Position

Root – 3 – 5

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Major Triads 1st Inversion

3 – 5 – Root

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Major Triads 2nd Inversion

5 – Root -3

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

You may recognize some of these shapes they are in chords with more notes added. These are the beginner guitar chords building blocks.

Minor Chords Root Position

The minor chords below only differ from the major by one note. The 3rd is flatted.

Root – 3♭ – 5

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Minor Triads 1st Inversion

3♭ – 5 -Root

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Minor Triads 2nd Inversion

5 – Root -3♭

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Diminished Triads Root Position

The diminished chord differs from the minor chord by one note. The 5th is flatted.

These chords don’t get used as much as major or minor but they are important in improving, also there is a diminished triad in every dominant 7th chord starting on the 3rd note.

Root – 3♭ – 5♭

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Diminished Triads 1st Inversion

3♭ – 5♭ – Root

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Diminished Triads 2nd Inversion

5♭ – Root – 3♭

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Augmented Triads Root Position

In the augmented triads below you will see the chord patterns repeated. This is because the augmented triad is actually 3 chords in one.

The C augmented chord is also an E and a G♯ chord. There are other chords which have two or more names you will run across in the future.

Root – 3 – 5♯

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 String set
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Augmented Triads 1st Inversion

3 – 5♯ – Root

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

Augmented Triads 2nd Inversion

5♯ – Root – 3

6 5 4 Strings 5 4 3 Strings
4 3 2 Strings 3 2 1 Strings

All of these 3 note beginner guitar chords shapes need to be memorized. It’s not too hard if you pay attention to the root.

In the root position the root is the bass note.

In the 1st inversion the root is highest pitched note.

In the 2nd inversion the root is in the middle of the other two notes.