How to Play the E Minor Scale Like a Pro Now in 2024

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Are you struggling to nail the E Minor scale on your guitar? Feeling frustrated with your progress and wondering how to improve?

Trust me, you’re not the only one. Many guitar players hit a wall when learning scales, making playing their favorite songs or improvising solos tough. It isn’t very encouraging and can make you question your skills.

But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

This guide will help you play the E Minor scale like a pro. I’ll break down everything you need to know—from understanding the scale’s intervals and degrees to practicing different positions on the fretboard.

Plus, I’ll provide tabs and explain the chords in E minor to give you a comprehensive understanding. Ready to boost your playing and impress with your skills? Let’s dive in!


  • Understand the E Minor Scale: Learn its intervals and degrees.
  • Practice Different Positions: Master the open, 2nd, and 5th positions.
  • Use Tabs: Follow tabs for each position.
  • Learn Chords: Familiarize yourself with chords in E minor.
  • Explore Patterns: Discover other E Minor scale patterns.
e minor scale

What is the E Minor Scale?

The E Minor scale is a must-know for any guitarist. It’s made up of seven notes: E, F#, G, A, B, C, and D.

This scale has a beautifully melancholic sound that can add a lot of emotion to your playing. Between each note, there is either a half step or a whole step, and we can express this with the following formula (W’s are whole steps, and H’s are half steps): W H W W H W W.

The key signature of the E Minor scale is simple, with just one sharp (F#), so it’s easy to remember and play. Mastering the E Minor scale will open up new creative possibilities and enhance your musical expression, whether you’re into rock, blues, classical, or jazz.

Intervals and Degrees of the E Minor Scale

Let’s talk about the intervals and degrees of the E natural minor scale.

Starting with the root note, E, the scale follows a specific pattern that gives it its unique sound. You’ve got the tonic, major second, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, minor sixth, and minor seventh. These intervals create the scale’s mood and feel.

Knowing the degrees—supertonic, mediant, subtonic, and so on—helps you understand how these same notes relate to the root and how they work together to form melodies and harmonies.

This understanding is vital to making the most out of the E natural minor scale in your playing.

E Minor Scale Intervals

  • Tonic: E
  • Major 2nd: F#
  • Minor 3rd: G
  • Perfect 4th: A
  • Perfect 5th: B
  • Minor 6th: C
  • Minor 7th: D
  • Perfect 8th: E

E Minor Scale Degrees

  • Tonic: E
  • Supertonic: F#
  • Mediant: G
  • Subdominant: A
  • Dominant: B
  • Submediant: C
  • Subtonic: D
  • Octave: E

Positions of the E Minor Scale

Exploring the different positions of the E natural minor scale on your guitar can really open up your playing.

Each position lets you interact with the scale in a new way, with the root notes guiding you. Start with the open position, which is great for beginners because it uses open strings. 

As you get more comfortable, try the 2nd and 5th positions higher up the neck.

These positions offer different fingering patterns and sounds, giving you more ways to express yourself. Practicing these positions gives you a better feel for how minor scales work all over the fretboard, making your playing more versatile and exciting.

E Natural Minor Scale in Open Position

e minor scale open position

E Natural Minor Scale in 2nd Position

e minor scale 2nd position

E Natural Minor Scale in 5th Position

e minor scale 5th position

Tabs Using the E Minor Scale

Using tabs is a fantastic way to get comfortable with the E natural minor scale.

Tabs provide a visual guide, showing you exactly where to place your fingers on the fretboard. This makes learning the scale straightforward, especially with the minor key signature that gives it a distinct, emotional sound typical of minor keys.

Practicing with tabs helps you internalize the scale patterns and improve your finger positioning. By regularly working with tabs, you’ll quickly gain confidence and fluency in playing the E natural minor scale, making your melodies and solos richer and more expressive.

Tab for Open Position


e minor tab open position ascending


e minor tab open position descending

Tab for 2nd Position


e minor tab 2nd position ascending


e minor tab 2nd position descending

Tab for 5th Position


e minor tab 5th position ascending


e minor tab 5th position descending

Chords In The Key of E Minor

When you’re exploring the E natural minor scale, getting to know the chords in this key is super important.

These are called minor diatonic chords, and they come directly from the scale. You’ll play chords like Em, F#dim, G, Am, Bm, C, and D.

These chords are the building blocks for many common chord progressions in E minor.

Once you’re comfortable with these chords, you can create rich, vibrant music and transition between them smoothly. Knowing these chords will take your playing to the next level, whether you’re writing your own songs or jamming on your favorite covers.

Chords in E Minor

Other E Minor Scale Patterns

Exploring different patterns of the E minor scale can really spice up your playing.

Besides the natural minor scale, you should check out the E harmonic minor scale and melodic minor scale. The E harmonic minor scale has a cool, exotic vibe because of its raised seventh note.

The E melodic minor scale changes things up by raising both the sixth and seventh notes when you go up the scale, giving it a smoother, jazzier sound. Playing around with these different patterns will broaden your musical horizons and help you come up with more exciting and dynamic melodies.

Final Thoughts

teal electric guitar with thought bubbles and teal and pink gradient

Mastering the E natural minor scale can take your musical skills to the next level, whether you’re playing on a piano keyboard or a guitar fretboard.

Its relative major is the G major scale since they share the same notes, just starting from different roots. Understanding this connection opens up new possibilities for your playing and improvisation.

Keep practicing different positions and patterns, and don’t be afraid to experiment, even if that means occasionally digging into the G major scale.

The more you get comfortable with the E natural minor scale, the more expressive and versatile your music will become. So grab your instrument and start exploring—your musical journey is just getting started!


black electric guitar in front of house with question marks

What is the E harmonic minor scale?

The E harmonic minor scale is a cool twist on the natural minor scale. It includes the notes E, F#, G, A, B, C, and D#. That raised seventh note (D#) gives the scale a unique, exotic sound.

This distinct flavor makes it an excellent choice for adding drama and intensity to your music, whether you’re composing or improvising.

What is the easiest minor scale to play?

The easiest minor scale to play is often considered the A minor scale. It’s straightforward because it uses only the white keys on a piano, making it simple to remember and play.

On the guitar, it’s equally accessible, with comfortable finger positions. Plus, A minor is closely related to C major, which many beginners are already familiar with, making it a great starting point.

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