5 Riffs To Get To Know The Harmonic Minor A Little Better

From Metal to Gypsy Jazz, the Harmonic minor is a scale that can transform your playing into tame little baby riffs into deep and vicious whirlwinds of Arabic sands and Gypsy violins.

Here is a voicing of the scale:

 Here is the list, get your guitar ready

5. Slap and Tickle

4.  Johann Sebastian Buckley

3. Tremolo and the Djinn of Grappeli

2.  Hey good lookin you got Hummus cookin

1. Sweeping out the harmonic

There you have it!

Top 5 Thursday: 5 Exotic And Unique Scales For You To Marinate on


Hirajoshi Scale 

     A tuning scale for the Japanese koto by way of the shamisen, this scale revolutionized the koto in Japan by the Andres Segovia of koto :  Yatsuhashi Kengyō.

Metal and Jazz players have used this scale extensively.

Enigmatic Scale

     Invented by the great composer Verdi, he whipped this up on a public challenge.

Spanish Gypsy

Another name for the Phrygian dominant

Whole Tone Scale 

A great transition scale especially over a dominant chord like the G7 that is implied here.

Augmented Scale 

This is a great way to dip in and out of a blues scale when the V chord is invoked and whenever you can fit it in.

Take these scales and applications and see what you can create with them!

Joni Mitchell: Painting With Altered Tunings


The prolific and often sourced Canadian Joni Mitchell has been constantly wrestled with harmonic riddles through her long time practice of searching for chord progressions under the influence of heavily altered tunings for decades. Her insights are quite valuable, especially since I don’t want to spend that much time writing that many songs to earn said insights.

Let’s see two ways altered tunings and Joni Mitchell have made a beautiful union.

EADAAD Tuning for Dulcimer simulation on “A Case Of You”

I have to confess the intro reminds me of Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy” chorus and I chuckle a bit when I hear every time. However, this is a very gently meandering yarn of beauty that keeps unraveling into nostalgia and soliloquy.



(Full Transcription Here)

Hejira: Dark Moods and Altered Tunings  (CGDFGC)

 Hejira is a very dark, introspective, and mature non linear ballad that shows some interesting progressions and of course… tuning.

Beginner Tuesdays: What To Practice- Chord Changes, Arpeggios, and Power Chords.

Practice is something that I’m asked about all the time and I understand why… ractice is action and asking is procrastination. Especially as a beginner, you need to execute;  ACTION! Pull the trigger! That means sitting down and do, act and throw yourself in the process.

Some guys like to just play or jam around with other guys and never sit down and practice. They still get better, but why? Because they ARE practicing, its all about action. Playing over other songs, playing along with other songs, and just doing something active on the guitar gives you enough repetition to make it a productive practice for the day. However, what if we combined both a timed practice discipline with applied science on the guitar?  We would have some great routines that I will share with you now.

Please Please Me By The Beatles for a great chord change workout:

Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q H  E E E E E E

We hang on the E for a bit and then A-E, but then we hit 2 fast strikes per a chord with the G-A-B7. This is a great practice to work out your fast chord changes ( and I hope your working those out ). Fast chord changes strengthen your hands and in my humble opinion; make faster fingers for leads and solos.

Power Chord training with Fuck Authority by Pennywise

This fast and brutal power chord progression is a great fit for a beginner trying to get their left hand chops up a notch:

Here is the intro


Find Your Arpeggio Tri Force In The Underworld

Arpeggios simply speaking is a picked out chord played in some succession. This can be achieved with a pick, fingers, or (my personal favorite) hybrid picking. Try this one on for size for a good arpeggio workout and a nice dark diminished run at the end.

Drop D Tuning

     S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S    S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S

  S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S    S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S

  S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S    S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S

  S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S    S S S S S S S S S S S S S S  E

Thank you to Justin Lincoln for the tab

This should hold you over till the next beginner lesson where we will discuss proven and successful practice strategies.

~Jonathan Hayes