Do you want to sound like Carlos Santana? Or maybe you prefer Slash, Joe Bonamassa, David Gilmour, or Kirk Hammett? Well, there are a lot of factors in making that happen, but today we will just look at one important one, using the Natural Minor Scale.
The Natural Minor scale isn’t really an exotic scale. Its a fairly standard one that is used in every guitar style, but most intermediate guitar players know, and are very comfortable with just the Pentatonic Minor Scale. It is time to expand your scale knowledge and pallet. But first, it will help to understand the difference between the Pentatonic Minor and the Natural Minor.
In my latest YouTube video on this very subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2KXOYpnS-U I used a C Minor Scale. So let’s use that as our example.
Chromatic Intervals Cm Pentatonic Cm Natural
1 (Root) C C
2 (Major 2nd) D
b3 (Minor 3rd) Eb Eb
4 (perfect 4th) F F
5 (Perfect 5th) G G
b6 (Minor 6th) Ab
b7 (Minor 7th) Bb Bb
8 (octave) C C
So above you can see that the Cm Pentatonic uses only 5 notes. C, Eb, F, G, Bb, or Root, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th, and then finally the Octave, which doesn’t count as an extra note since it is the same as the Root. The Cm Natural scale uses 7 notes. It takes the existing 5 notes and adds 2 more. It adds in the Major 2nd and Minor 6th making the scale 7 notes C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C.
It is the addition and, use of these 2 extra notes that will, in fact, give you that true minor sound. The sound that can make you sound like Carol Santana.
So grab your guitar and bring up a “Santana Style” backing track in Cm on YouTube. You can also use try other backing tracks like “Blues Minor”, “Rock Minor”. Just be sure to use the word minor in your search. This scale will work for all styles, even Jazz. So if Jazz is your thing, then search for “Jazz minor backing track” or something to that effect.
Start off by just playing the Pentatonic Scale that you already know and then add in a minor 6th. You can find it on the B string 9th fret. Practice with adding that note in for a bit, then add the Major 2nd. You can find it on the G string 7th fret, and also the high E string 10th fret.
That’s it! Now move this to a different key. Try Am and add in those same intervals. The frets will be of course different, but the pattern will be the same. Check out the video I linked above to help understand this a bit better.
I Also teach in the Ottawa area including Kanata, Stittsville, Barrhaven, Nepean, Orleans, Gloucester, Westboro. My company “Go Guitar Lessons” has 3 amazing teachers that go right to you. We specialize in guitar, but also teach bass, and Ukulele.
You can contact us a few different ways: