Part 4 : Transposing The Minor Scale To All 12 Keys

Ok, by now you should be completely familiar with the 7 overlapping patterns of the G natural or pure minor scale, as shown in parts 1, 2, and 3 of this no nonsense guide.

If you’ve been practicing them for 20 – 30 mins on a daily basis for a couple of weeks the patterns should be thoroughly engrained in your head.

The next thing I want you to do, is take a look at this Am scale below in relation to the Gm scale above it.

G Minor Scale

A Minor Scale

Notice how every thing is simply moved up two frets from the Gm scale to form the Am scale. If you can’t see it, take a look at the 3 open notes grouped together on the far left side of the top Gm image (G,D,A). See how that grouping of notes is now shifted up to fret 2 on the Am scale diagram. Notice how the whole Gm scale pattern has also shifted up in the same manner to form the Am scale pattern.

I know this is pretty obvious, but actually seeing the scales up against each other, and being able to refer back to the Gm to find out where the next notes are for the Am is a great help when familiarising yourself with the new scale.

Play this Am scale all over the fret board for the next twenty minutes using the same patterns as before, but two frets higher.

Start on at the root note A on string 6 – fret 5, or if you prefer start on fret 3 to make the pattern easier, but remember that the root note is on fret 5 and that is really where you should begin.

After a while you should find this exercise becomes quite easy, especially as you make your way up the fret board as you did with the Gm scale. Coming back down is not quite so easy.

Be sure to concentrate on the patterns and open strings on frets 0 to 3 when playing the Am scale as this will get you used to playing the notes ‘below’ the ones you have been used to whilst practicing the Gm scale.


Now give the Cm a go. Note the scale is 5 frets higher than the Gm

G Minor Scale

C Minor Scale

Again, start on the root note, C string 6 – fret 8. Once you have made your way up the fret board and back down again, concentrate on playing lower than your starting position, making your way down from frets 8 to 0.

Now we’re having fun.

Here’s a couple of midi backing tracks I down loaded off the net many moons ago, I converted them into audio files and loaded them onto my audio player to play along with while practicing my scales.

They are seriously cheesy, but will give you the chance to play over a couple of minor progressions with the scales you have learned.

Just pretend you are some sort of spanish maestro while playing your minor scales over these tunes.

Gm Backing Track

G Minor Scale

Play what ever the hell you like, fast or slow, all over the fret board. Just stick to the minor scales for the time being.

Am Backing Track

A Minor Scale

Cm Backing Track

C Minor Scale


The D minor scale is played 7 frets higher than the G minor

G Minor Scale

D Minor Scale

Dm Backing Track


The Em scale is played 9 frets higher than the Gm scale.

G Minor Scale

E Minor Scale

Em Backing Track

As you can see, once you have got the hang of transposing your Gm scale to other positions on the fret board, you will be able to play ANY natural minor scale where ever you like.

Try this Bm backing track, I’ll give you a Cm scale next to it to work from. Just play the scale one fret down.

Bm Backing Track

C Minor Scale

When you get bored with playing over these, go and search ‘Google’ for more backing tracks with minor progressions and play over them..

With a bit of practice, you should now be able to play the natural or pure minor scale in any of the 12 keys from Am to G#m.

Believe it or not, without learning anything else at all, you also know many more scales and modes besides.

Tune in for Part 5 of the Street Musician No Nonsense Guide to find out just how many more scales you have already learned using the fret positions you have already conquered..


Thanks to who ever made these few backing tracks that we’ve used in this guide. I honestly can’t remember which site it was that I downloaded them from as there are hundreds of similar sites on the net posting midi backing tracks. If anyone recognises them as their own work, please email me and I can thank you and post a link.


Click here for part 5

Other Posts of Interest

Scale Runs and Exercises
Chromatic Scales and Exercises

Posted 21.01.09

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