What's new on harmonica learning
Learn to play harmonica: two minor scale you should know

Are you playing harmonica and want to understand better about minor playing? In this lesson, I’ll teach you two essential and real useful scales you can use to perform songs, even if you are not able to bend notes. Follow me on the interactive video with tabs, and learn how to play making use of the Dorian D minor scale and the E minor pentatonic one.

Don't you own a harmonica yet? You can find a good instrument here.

When playing in 3rd position, we can find ourselves on a D major tune, as well as on a D minor one; for this lesson, we’ll play the notes of the Dorian D minor scale. If we are playing in 5th position, the reference scale can be E major or E minor; we will use the E minor pentatonic scale.

The D Dorian scale is formed of the notes D, E, F, G, A, B, and C.

The E minor pentatonic scale is formed of the notes E, G, A, B, and D.

These scales share some C major scale notes, so on a C harmonica and the same set of notes you can play in C major, in D minor, and E minor. Three different positions with just the notes of the C major scale! 1st, 3rd, and 5th, and this is what you’re going to do in this lesson.

To play the tunes, we are going to use a C harmonica; in the video below on this page, I played my Hohner Special 20. Read the tabs and download the backing tracks.

Lesson analysis:

Playing difficulty level: Beginner harmonica players.

Note bending skills: No bending required for this lesson.

Lesson focus: Understanding positions and scales relationship, playing in 3rd and 5th position to perform minor songs.

How to read the video lesson tabs:

One plus symbol means to blow the harmonica hole.

An apostrophe means to bend the note of a half-tone.

A double apostrophe means to bend the note of a whole-tone.

A triple apostrophe means to bend the note of three steps.

dot before the notes means to use tongue blocking articulations.

^ means playing the note with a ‘dip’ bending.

R before a note means reaching that note with a glissando effect.

Sh means ‘Shake playing’ or ‘warble.’ 

Ft means the ’Flutter tongue’ technique.

P means ‘Pull technique.’ 

V means ‘Vibrato effect.’ 

Tr means ‘Tremolo effect.’ 

Following the lesson tabs: 

D minor tabs.

4 5+ 5 6+ 6 7+ 8

8 7+ 6 6+ 5 5+ 4

5 tr4

4+ 4 5 6+ tr5

4 5 tr4

4+ 4 5 6+ tr4

6 6+ 5 6, 6 6+

6 6+ 5 6, tr7+

4 5 5+ 6+ tr4

4+ tr4

E minor tabs.

5+ 6+ 6 7 8 8+

8+ 8 7 6 6+ 5+

5+ 6+, 5+ tr7

5+ 6+, 5+ tr5+

6 6+ 5+ 6+ 6, 7 6 6+ 6 6+

8+ 8 8+ 7 tr8

8+ 9+ 8+ 8 tr8+

7 6, 6 6+, 6 6+ 5+ 7

4 tr5+

Download the D minor Backing Track.

Download the E minor Backing Track.

Today I taught you how to play harmonica in two different positions using different minor scales. If you want to improve your playing skills, enroll for free in my online school, and have a look at the courses here.

Keep Harpin’, and I’ll see you soon in a new lesson!

Share this page with your friends!