Tech Tip:ROCK HOUSE METHOD


The following tips for aspiring guitarists are courtesy of John McCarthy of The Rock House Method, publisher of video lessons for musicians at every skill level. www.rockhousemethod.com/products/guitar.aspx
Reprinted from harmonycentral.com with the permission of the author and publisher

 

Birth Of The Harmonic Minor Scale - Carlos Torres; San Juan, PR

 

Q: Can you explain how to create a harmonic minor scale and some of its uses?

 

A: A harmonic minor scale is constructed by raising the seventh degree of the Natural Minor scale.

 

Let's take the notes of an A Natural Minor Scale for an example:

 

A-B-C-D-E-F-G

 

1-2-3-4-5-6-7

 

Now you raise the seventh degree one half step which would make the G into a G# and the Harmonic Minor Scale is now:

 

A-B-C-D-E-F-G#

 

1-2-3-4-5-6-7

 

This scale tends to have an Egyptian sound that is very distinct.

 

The most common application for the harmonic minor scale is over the V dominant 7th chord (referred to as V7) in a minor key. For those of you who aren't familiar with chord theory, the V7 chord in a minor key is seven frets up from the first chord in the key. For example, in the key of A Minor, the V7 chord is E7 (the note E is seven frets up from A). In the key of E Minor, the V7 chord would be B7.

 

Let's use the progression A minor to E7 to illustrate good use of the harmonic minor scale. Over the A Minor chord, a guitarist could play minor pentatonic licks, blues licks, ideas from Aeolian or Dorian modes, etc. But, when the progression moves to E7, the guitarist would play notes from the A Harmonic Minor Scale (note: you do NOT play the E harmonic minor scale over the E7 chord). This is a bit tricky and will take some getting used to because you are changing scales in mid solo and using a chordal soloing approach.

 

Experiment and try to come up with some great sound using the Harmonic minor Scale.

 

 

Choosing the Right Strings - Fred Hamilton; Augusta, GA

 

Q: I am a new player and need some advice on what gauge strings I should buy for my guitar. I have a Washburn Lyon electric guitar and the strings are getting rusty.

 

A: The gauge of your strings has a lot to do with the tone and the playability of your guitar.

 

If you use heavy-gauge strings you will get more tone in the string sound but because they are thicker you will get less flexibility. A lighter-gauge string tends to sound thinner but you will be able to move the string easier while bending notes.

 

I recommend that you start with a standard .009 gauge set of strings and then as you progress you can decide if you want to go up or down a gauge.