B minor backing track [003]

Chord Progression

This track has the following chords:

i9  viø  iiø  V7
Bm  G#ø  C#ø  F#7

In the backing track we start with the chords high up on the neck, slowly playing down the beck using different inversions.


This track uses a mixture of minor modes.

The i9 is common to the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales.

viø is only present in the melodic minor.

iiø is in natural and harmonic minor.

V7 is in melodic and harmonic minor.

A good way to get started using scales over these chords is to use:

  • B melodic minor: i9, viø
  • B harmonic minor: iiø, V7

You can also use arpeggios for the different chords.

You can read about these modes in exotic scales for improvising.


You can see a short arpeggio based etude I wrote for this backing track here:

Making the Backing Track

Thanks to George Bellas for the chord progression - he gave it to me in a lesson. George Bellas is a great composer, guitarist and educator.

Thanks to Spencer Davis for the image in the video.

Bass and guitars were recorded by myself. The drums were played live with a MIDI keyboard. Strings were played live on a MIDI keyboard with East West Symphonic Orchestra Gold strings.

Can you use the minor pentatonic scale over this track?

A student of my improvisation course sent me the following email:

Hi Sam,

Question, I’m doing the improvisation course and I am in the 6th lesson. Yesterday I was playing over this track only in Bm (first position) I noticed that most of the time it sounds well, sometimes not. Can this be played using only Bm (first position) or should I move between the other chords G#m, F#m, C#m first position scale as well. Or is this backing track too “early” for where I am in the course and should I wait till a certain level or lesson. I hope you understand my question.

My response

I totally understand your question. Bm pentatonic will work on the first chord, Bm, but not the others - the others are half diminished and dominant chords.

Unfortunately, these chords (and the reason why they don’t work) are a bit outside of the scope of the improvisation course!

However, there are a couple of scales that you can use that will work better.

  • B Harmonic minor will work over the first two chords
  • B Melodic minor will work over the last two chords

You can also use arpeggios over everything.

You can learn more on these minor scales here.

Please note the chord progression is NOT: Bm - G#m - F#m - C#m, the chord progression is: Bm9 - G#ø - C#ø - F#7

A “ø” symbol is a half diminished chord, which has the chord tones 1 b3 b5 b7 (I’m putting together a theory course which will break down this sort of stuff in more detail).

So to answer your questions:

  • The backing track is too advanced for the pentatonics course
  • If you do want to play over it, use the scales in the link above

Hope that helps!