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Scales in 300 Words Part 3: Harmonic Minor (Lots of Pics!)

In this post, I’ll be breaking down the harmonic minor scale for bass guitar.

The minor scales in music are particularly interesting because of the number of different minor scales that there are.

The problem also comes from being able to keep them all in line and remember all of them!

In this section, I wanted to cover specifically the harmonic minor scale and draw your attention specifically to how a single note difference can change the entire mood and sound.

Meat-and-Potatoes of the Harmonic Minor Scale

Let’s compare something for a second.

Here’s the Natural Minor Scale – what we think of when we hear and play minor scales:

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 1.06.48 PMWe have a flat 3rd, 6th and 7th note.

The Harmonic Minor Scale is VIRTUALLY THE SAME SCALE WITH A SMALL EXCEPTION: the 7th is raised a half step.

That’s it. Everything else we know about the minor scale is the same. Same flat 3rd and 6th.

And here’s the Harmonic Minor Scale:


The harmonic minor scale very much has it’s own place in music.

Up until that 7th note, the listener would never know you were playing notes from the harmonic minor scale.

Granted, because harmonic minor scales do have such a distinct musical quality to them, finding chances and songs to use them in and have it work for you can be difficult.

Does this mean you shouldn’t know how to play it?

Of course not!


 Any chance to expand your musical knowledge and options is something that should be seized!

And like the other scales, I’ll be adding this one to the right sidebar (–>) of the page for you to quickly reference, rather than scour the Internet for answers.