A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

The Hungarian Minor Scale

I know, I know. I’ve been posting very sporadically as of late. What’s even worse is that last Monday (3/4) was the one-year anniversary of my starting this blog. I had such high hopes of posting about all of the things I’ve learned over the course of my first year studying bass and looking back at my fumbles. What’s even worse than all of THAT is my dismal practice routine since December… namely, there really hasn’t been one. I’ll confess my sins in a later post though. For now…

I had a little bit of free time this week and dug out Extreme Metal Bass by Alex Webster. I read through the intro again (its been a while) and then went on to the opening “Technique” chapter. The first thing he presents us with is the Natural Minor (Aeolian) Scale. I think that I have a handle on that, although I know it can be better, and I wanted to try something different, so I went on to the next item: the Hungarian Minor Scale.

I have to say… I love it! I love the sound. I can see why its also called the Gypsy scale.

As I’ve done with other scales in the past, here’s a diagram of how to play it via moveable pattern. Basically, its the minor scale with a sharped 4th and 7th. It spans 4 frets, like the minor scale, but here you use all 4 fingers to play it, instead of just the index, ring and pinky.

For comparison purposes, here’s the Natural Minor (Aeolian) Scale. You’ll see the two notes (the 4th and 7th) that are sharped above in their natural state below. Get it, their natural state?

In Extreme Metal Bass, Alex has us practice this using a 5-string bass (I used my fretted 6). He places the root (the 1) on the E (5th fret) of the B (lowest) string. Later on, I moved it to other E’s and found that I really like it starting on the E note of the A string (7th fret). Using the above pattern, you can play it on a 4-string bass pretty easily. Once you have the pattern down, you can – and should – move it around and start it on different roots.


Here’s the chord information for the Hungarian Minor scale. In the interest of not drowning anyone in theory right away, make time later and see the chord section in my post about the Minor Scale and Chords for more information and then see my post about Broken Chords for some insight into how this applies to us as bassists.

Hungarian Minor Triad

The triad for the Hungarian Minor Scale is the same as the one for the Minor Scale. The 3rd and 5th notes of the scale are the same (its the 4th and 7th that are different).

Hungarian Minor 7th Chords

7th chords are played just like triads, but with one more note at the end, namely: the 7th note of the corresponding scale (the 7). Triads have 3 notes, and 7ths are made up of 4 notes. The 7th of the Hungarian Minor differs from that of the Natural Minor scale. Its sharped.

Here’s the Natural Minor 7th chord, for comparison. You’ll see that the 7th is the only note that’s different.

[edit] Here’s a video from someone named dirtydirtyal that shows how to play the Hungarian Minor.

C hungarian minor scale (Harmonic minor #4)


3 responses

  1. Pingback: Mick Hutchinson – Polyrhythmic Jazz Funk Bass Solo in A Minor « Ugly Bass Face

  2. Pingback: Minor Scales & Chords | Ugly Bass Face

  3. Pingback: NY Ensemble Classes – Building Better Bass Lines | Ugly Bass Face

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