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Watch the Horiz. & Vertical Minor Scales online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar


The natural minor scale is derived from the major scale. In the key of C minor the scale is related to the Eb major scale. In fact, it contains the same notes. The only difference is that we start playing the scale on the C instead of the Eb.

1. Play a C natural minor scale beginning on the 3rd fret of the A string with your 1st finger.

2. Apply the same approach to the natural minor scale that we applied to the major scale. Find a C note on the fret board.

3. Place your first finger on the C.

4. Hunt down the notes of the C natural minor scale and play a one-octave scale.

5. Next, fret the same C note with your 2nd finger and repeat the exercise. Using a different digit to start the scale forces you to come up with an alternative fingering.

6. Next, start with your 3rd finger and play another one octave C natural minor scale.

7. Finally, start with your 4th finger and play another variation of the C natural minor scale.

8. Use this same approach with every C note on the guitar.

9. It is up to you work through the harmonic minor and melodic minor scales using this approach with a goal of playing in all of the keys and in all positions.


10. Find the root note of the natural minor scale on the top string and apply its formula to play the scale horizontally on one string at a time. Play the notes of the scale all the way up the fingerboard. When descending, play all the notes of the scale ending on the lowest scale tone before moving to the next string.

11. Remember that in the key of C minor, the notes are the same as an Eb major scale.

12. Next, start with the lowest note of the scale on each string and play the scale. Each time you get to the root of the scale play the root chord.

13. Combine the horizontal and vertical approach with the use of jumping off points to go from one string to another. For example, on the A string play the C natural minor scale starting with the C at the 3rd fret. Play up to the Bb and finish with the C on the D string.

14. Next, move off the A string at the 7th tone, and finish with the last 2 notes of the scale on the D string.

15. Next, play the last 3 notes on the D string, etc.

16. Come up with as many different variations as you can.

17. Focus on internalizing the sound of the scale.