View Full Version : Harmonic minor

07-15-2003, 10:43 PM
Hi there,

I was just recording some of my own riffs on to my computer and creating some solos over it. I was jamming around trying scales and stuff and i was wondering about the harmonic minor scale. Although, i do like the sound that come out of that scale i realized that i never used it. I tried using it over some progressions that looked ok at the first place but they really didnt work out cause most of the time, there was always some notes or chords from the progression that didn't fit in the scale. I usually play metal stuff and i find it strange that i am not using it the harmonic minor scale, knowing that basically every metal guitarist use it in some of their songs.

Mainly, my riff are made of power chords and sound like old metallica stuff and old slayer stuff. I found it hard and even impossible to use the harmonic minor over power chords. Any ideas or comments on when to use it or how to incorporate the scale into my playing ?

07-15-2003, 11:28 PM
Make progressions that fit the Harmonic Minor Scale!
In general that means build chord out of the scale you want to use and only use those chords.

A B C D E F G# (A Harmonic Minor)

Has these chords.

Am Bo C+ Dm E F G#o

07-15-2003, 11:46 PM
true. (Stupid me)

But for the fun of it, i just wanna know who exactly in this forum, uses a scale to create a riff and who uses a riff to create or too choose the appropriate scale.

I always create a riff and then use the scale that fits the note or chords. I never thought of doing the opposite for me it was so obvious that you always create a riff before using a scale... well i guess i have some work to do and ill explore the possibilites of harmonic minor.


07-16-2003, 01:15 AM
When I write I usually am thinking about what scale I want the tune to be in. So I usually will write accompaniment within or diatonic to a particular scale or tonality.

My improvisations of chordal patterns or riffs usually start with some musical ideas based on a particular scale or set of scales.

Bongo Boy
07-19-2003, 04:06 AM
You may want to check out this set of exercises in Guitar Player, which make reference to Yngwie techniques. I'm having a bit of fun with it...it's slightly less boring than running up and down scales, at least.


07-20-2003, 11:21 AM
the writing process for me changes depending on my mood. usually i start with a mode. sometimes i start with a riff another band member wrote. sometimes i start with a rhythm the drummer wrote. sometimes i sing a line and work around it. sometimes i start with a mistake i played during practice. :)

i usually use gypsy minor in place of harmonic minor. gypsy minor is harmonic minor #4 (the #4 is a thing i picked up from jazz, but it works particularly well in metal - marty friedman from megadeth uses hungarian minor alot which is the third mode of gypsy minor).

you can also play outside the scale - slayer.

07-23-2003, 02:36 PM
Yeah i listen to a lot of slayer stuff... What scales do they use ? Its like they are always using chromatic stuff or like you said they are just out of the scale, but how is this possible without sounding like crap ?

07-23-2003, 04:41 PM
i dont think i can really explain slayer. sometimes i hear the locrian mode, others i hear the whole tone scale. i think they just play whatever gives normal people a headache. :)

it doesnt sound like garbage because their arrangements are dissonant to begin with, and they almost never use anything other than power chords so they have alot of freedom to do whatever their fingers feel like doing.

07-23-2003, 05:15 PM
Regarding power chords. Let say that we will built a riff out of only power chords. We know that power chords are constructed by a root note and its fifth. If i solo over this progression, do i need to worry about both the fifth and the root ? or do i just worry about the root cause the fifth IS related to the root anyway and will fit with any scale using the same root ?

07-25-2003, 01:57 PM
it wont normally fit with augmented or diminished scales (not to be confused with the whole-half diminished scale which *does* have a perfect 5th). however, if youre looking for dissonance, then the rules sortof go away (but not completely).

have a look at a thread i started last week titled "avoid notes". some of the responses there may help you.

07-28-2003, 10:37 PM
I always create a riff and then use the scale that fits the note or chords.

Same here. I always create the riff first, and then worry about the scale. I love power chords because since they are only made up of a root and a fifth, it gives the guitarist a wide range of scales to use.