G Harmonic minor Arpeggios

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This lesson is designed to improve playing technique, instil aural awareness of a specific scale type, provide a useful approach to developing improvisation skills and build some knowledge of chord/scale relationships.

Exercise 1 is the harmonic minor scale in G,
notes: G-A-Bflat-C-D-Eflat-F#-G, 2 octaves
ascending and descending. The first stage is to practice this once you have figured out where the notes are on your instrument (on guitar we start with 1st finger on 3rd fret, 6th string (low E). When we have played the 2nd G ascending the scale (3rd finger, 4th string 5th fret) we move hand position down one fret so finger number 1 holds the A (3rd string, 2nd fret)This one hand movement is the same with all G Harm. minor arpeggios as well.

Play up and down the scale with a metronome on a low setting at first (crotchets 60bpm) and then speed up very gradually!! technique will suffer if we rush any scale playing tempos - the finger memory will not develop with enough accuracy. When you are comfortable with the scale you will be able to play with alternate picking (up & down) quavers at a managable tempo.

Once you have practiced the scale then it's time to look at the 1st arpeggio exercise which ascends and descends in 3rds (i.e. G-Bflat,A-C,Bflat-D,C-Eflat,D-F#, Eflat-G, move position F#-A). Continue over 2 octaves and descend in 3rds on the way back down.
Once again familiarise yourself with the movement and fingering and then, as with the scale, start slowly and gradually increase the tempo ensuring all the time that accuracy and good tone are paramount.

When you are confident that you have the 1st arpeggio to a competent playing level continue with tow more arpeggios in the same way.
Starting again with 1st finger, 3rd fret 6th string -

2)G-A-Bflat-G,A-Bflat-C-A,Bflat-C-D-Bflat, C-D-Eflat-C,D-Eflat-F#-D,Eflat-F#-G-Eflat,(move pos.)F#-G-A-F# etc. for 2 octaves and descend G-F#-Eflat-G etc.)

3)Ascend G-Bflat-A-G, A-C-Bflat-A, Bflat-D-C-Bflat etc. and descend G-Eflat-F#-G, F#-D-Eflat-F#, Eflat-C-D-Eflat etc.

After sufficient practice (an average of 10-12 mins for each exercise - some might require more and some less) you should be able to ascend and descend each exercise without too much hesitation (speed is not important. It will come with time if you practice a little every day).

Take a five minute break and think about chords that might be related to the G harmonic minor scale (G minor being the most obvious). Other chords derived from the scale are Cm7flat5, D7#9, D7flat9, however a simple chord progression that will provide a sound base for practicing improvisation with the new skills you should have developed is the 2 bar pattern: Gm/// Eflat7/D7/. Simple downward stacatto strums on the beat at a steady or even slow tempo will suffice. You can play with a fellow musician taking it in turns to play chords or to improvise. If you can make a recording of the chord progression, even a rough one, then you can practice by yourself.

Mix and match the intervallic movements practiced with the arpeggios and develop some ideas that sound good to your ears as you experiment. Spend as much time on this as you can and develop your own chord ideas if you want to stretch yourself. The more harmonic information you have the greater the inspiration for improvising.

Try to keep these exercises somewhere in your weekly practice routine so you don't forget them and of course to improve.

  • I teach from home (or a fixed venue)
  • I travel to students
  • I teach online

Mornings, Daytime, Evenings, Week days, Weekends

HOW LONG: 1 Hours

LEVEL: Intermediate

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