The harmonic minor scale is the same as the natural minor but with a chromatically raised (sharped) seventh degree.
Harmonic Minor Scale: 1 2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 7 8
In this lesson I’ll show you how to play the E Harmonic Minor Scale so you can incorporate it into your own songs or lead guitar parts.
I’ll teach you a song that I built around the scale with a lead part built
exclusively with notes from it.
Listen to the audio sample below to hear the song:
The harmonic minor scale has a very distinct sound to it. If you’ve ever heard Yngwie Malmsteen then you’ve heard the scale in action, because it’s just about the only scale the Swedish guitar master plays. It the primary scale used in the Neo-Classical movement led by Malmsteen.
Here is the harmonic minor scale pattern we’ll be using in this lesson:
Now that you know how to play the scale pattern, let’s learn the 1st part of our harmonic minor song which is the rhythm guitar accompaniment. The song is in the key of E minor. This should
be a dead give away, because we are working with the E harmonic minor scale if you’ll remember. All of the chords used in the song share their notes with notes from the scale.
This lead guitar part’s notes are take directly from the scale pattern above.
The audio track below has just the acoustic guitar and bass guitar. You can practice playing the lead I wrote above, or spend some time coming up with your own lead part using the E harmonic minor scale. Don’t know which notes to use where? Let your ear be your guide! With a little practice improvising with the scale pattern you’ll find what works best and what doesn’t work.