Minor Scales – Key of Am

cleartabs-registered-trademark8Welcome to this lesson on the A minor scale. The emphasis of this lesson is to learn how to play the A minor scale in various positions on the guitar and also learn the notes of the scale as you do. However, I have included some information regarding the origin of the scale so you can put it into context with other scales that you may learn over time.

The minor scale in question is the natural minor (or ancient minor) scale. This scale derives from the 6th mode of the major scale and is also known as the Aeolian scale. (Don’t worry – most people still just refer to it as simply minor!)

It’s worth understanding a about the modes and their relationships because it can help you learn more than one scale at a time. The Aeolian scale is the 6th mode of the major scale. This means that if you start your major scale on the 6th note of the scale and played all the notes, you would get the Aeolian scale (or natural minor). Because these 2 scales share the exact same notes, we can also say that this scale is the relative minor of the parent major scale.

If we compare a major scale with it’s relative minor scale this should become a bit clearer:

C Major scale:    C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C

If we start the C major scale on the 6th note of the scale (A), this will give us the Minor scale (Aeolian scale) with the root note of A.

A Minor scale:   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A

The A minor scale is, therefore, the relative minor of C major.

Can you see how they share the exact same notes? They may share the same notes but they sound very different from one another. You will be able to hear the difference for yourself if you compare the playing exercises you learn in one of the lessons on the minor scale with one of the major scale lessons.

A Minor Scale Exercises:

A Minor scale – 1st-2nd position:



A Minor scale – 2nd-3rd position:



A Minor scale – 5th position:



A Minor scale – 12-14th position:



A Minor scale – 2nd-14th position:



  • For further advice, including practice tips, check out the lessons on the major scale.

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