Pro Minor Scales: 5 Positions For Each Key

As with the major scale section of this web site, here we have one and only one objective: memorizing and learning to play a C minor scale in the 5 industry standard positions detailed on your copy of THE ULTIMATE GUITAR POSTER. This is not a lesson in improvising or lead guitar playing it is training, mental programming if you will, in increasing your ability to glide across and up and down the neck in the key of C minor.

I have written extensively about 5 position thinking and the CAGED system in my best selling instructional books, Guitar Chord Guru and Guitar Scale Guru which have become highly recommended reading and study material the world over.

Your goal hear is to commit to memory and learn to effortlessly play the 5 industry standard scale shapes which virtually all professional guitarists associate with the key of C minor. I have a favorite little expression which I share with all my students:

To Memorize, VISUALIZE!

C Minor Scale: 5 Position Visualization & Improvisation Play Along Exercise

The interactive training animation to the right is a study in the key of C minor. When you click play, a backing track will play the 5 shapes of C minor scales and the C minor chords they contain will scroll in 45 second intervals. Of course, most guitarists will dive right in and start playing. After that follow the guidelines below:

1. Play the notes of the C minor scale, in scale order ascending and descending in time with the backing track.

2. Play the notes of the chord ascending and then descend down the scale in time with the backing track.

3. Play the notes of the scale ascending and then descend down the chord in time with the backing track.

4. Compose your own original melodies and solos that you can repeat with the backing track.

5. The Law Of Melody states that the most common type of melodic motion is stepwise (scale tones in scale order) so by practicing this animation as directed your ability to think and play like a musician will quickly increase.

Jam Tracks In The Key Of C Minor

Rock Style

Here is a C minor jam track in the style of the rock standard All Along The Watchtower. Not only will the C minor scales (also called C natural minor) you're studying here work but C minor pentatonic and C blues will also sound nice against the chord progression. The definitive version of this song was recorded by Jimi Hendrix (in the key of C# minor however) and features some iconic lead guitar work featuring the aforementioned scale patterns.

To get the most out of the exercise, first play the scale notes, ascending and descending in scale order with a solid sense of timing give to the running of the scales -seeing how it sparks your creativity. Once you have a firm grasp on the scale patterns choose one to compose your own memorable and catchy lead guitar melody.


Latin Jazz Style

This is a jam track in the key of C based on the latin jazz classic Blue Bossa. All jazz musicians study Blue Bossa in their formative years because of its' beautiful melody and brilliantly simple chord structure. For these reasons the song is a staple at jam sessions and performances the world over. Every guitarist interested in playing jazz with other musicians should know the tune.

The song modulates from the key of C minor to the key of D flat in bar 9 and stays in that key (called the key of the moment) for 4 bars before returning to key of C minor. The modulation is highlighted in pink on the chord chart.



Key Of The Moment

The graphic to the right show one possible strategy for negotiating the key of the moment in the latin jazz jam track. Although there are indeed 5 possible fingerings for any scale you may want to play, a good place to start your mastery of Blue Bossa is the suggested scales to the right.

The root notes of the scales are both on string 5 and each considered among the first choices of any experienced guitarist needing a C minor or a Db major scale. I have written extensively about the scale system associated with professional level playing in my industry standard instructional book, Guitar Scale Guru.


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