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Melodic Minor Scale…Add New Life to Licks

The melodic minor scale will get your licks out of the pentatonic rut we all get stuck in when learning.

The Scale below can be used for improvising over all the chords in the melodic scale which are listed below that.

This scale can also be used starting at the root of minor and minor 6th’s.

Here is a taste of C melodic minor scale played against a Cm/maj7 chord. This is the chord built from the first note of the melodic scale.

No other notes or effects just the scale notes so you can hear the scale notes not someone playing guitar.

The C minor melodic scale played over a C minor major 7th chord

More Uses for the Melodic Minor Scale

Most of the scale and modes we use start at the root of the chord to be used for improvising.

In the melodic minor the main scale is the only one that will start on different notes other than the root.

Number 2 Melodic Minor Scale Use

Another use is starting 1/2 step or one fret above the roots of dominant chords with altered 5th’s and 9th’s. Similar to the diminished scale. 1/2 step above the root would be a flat 9 that is why you would do it this way.

Below is a sample of the C melodic minor being played against a B7♭5.

The C minor melodic scale played against a B7 flat 5 chord

The B and C are important notes here the C being the flat 9 and the B being the root of the chord. The E-flat gives the minor feel against the C and the major 3rd against the B.

This is an analogy you don’t have to think about all of this when your playing it’s just food for thought.

Number 3 Melodic Use

One more is starting on the 5th of flat5 chords. Whatever the flat 5 note is that is the root note of the scale you would use.

This is the Melodic minor played over a G♭7♭5 chord. The 5th is a C note.

The C melodic minor played over an F sharp 7 flat 5 chord

One More for the Melodic Minor Scale

The last one unless you know more is starting on the 6th of major chords with a sharp or flat 5 or a sharp 11. In this case you are playing a relative minor scale against a major chord

The C melodic minor played against an E flat flat 5 chord

I used the C as the tonic because it is the 6th of E-flat its relative minor. The flatted tone of the E-flat is an A which is the 6th of C. Mmm… This is why it’s called “music theory”.

The Melodic Scale List

The keys will be listed in the minor keys and not the relative major.

You will see double sharp marks like ♯♯. This is because you’re not allowed to use the same note twice in a scale except for diminished and other scales that aren’t connected to the major and minor scales.

A double sharp (♯♯) or a double flat (♭♭) just means two notes or frets higher or lower instead of one.

Melodic Minor Formula

This one is 1-2-♭3-4-5-6-7

An easy one to remember – A major scale with a flatted 3rd.

Learn Scales Easy
With This Software

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Three Chord Blues Progression

“The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make”
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Beatles

The three chord blues progression can be either major or minor. They are mostly 12 bars long before they return to a new verse.

This progression has been around since the end of the 18th century. It still remains pretty much the same except for chord embellishment and substitution which still follows the basic rules of the I, IV and V changes in major and minor progressions.

P.S About the Roman Numerals

When I use Roman Numerals the Upper case are for major chords like I, IV and V and lower case are for minor chords like i, iv, and v.

You will see me reference these chords like this all through the site.

This is the basic progression there are also many variations but this is the basic skeleton.

Basic Blues progression Layout

Four measures of the I or i chord followed by

Two measures of the IV or iv chord followed by

Two measures of the I or i chord again then followed by

Two measures of the V or v chord then followed by

Two measures of the I or i chord then start over.

Basic Skeleton

IV or iv

IV or iv

I or i

I or i

Major and Minor Blues Progressions

The major blues progressions are made from the 3 major chords I, IV and V of the major scale.

The minor blues can come from the Natural minor scale which is the major scale starting on the 6th note. In which case the chords would be i, ii, and v. The minor chords are actually the vi, ii and iii of the major scale.

This is a variation of the above basic skeleton using a IV(major) chord in the 10th measure

Major Scale Chord Numbering

Major Progression Major Progression

Lets make a major progression in G using Dominant 7th chords.

Here are some chord diagrams

This is a variation of the above skeleton using a iv(minor) chord in the 10th measure

This is very basic dominant chord blues progression

Three Chord Minor Progression

Here are the chord diagrams for this progression

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Dominant 7th Chord

The dominant 7th chord is built from the 5th note of the major scale. It is used in all types of music but they are the main chords in Blues music.

This chord also acts as a lead in for a chord change usually a 4th away like from a G7 to a C chord.

Below is an example of the C scale. The G is the 5th note in this scale.

If we take every other note after the G we will build a G7th chord.

G – B – D – F These are the notes that make up a G7th chord.

Every major scale has a dominant chord built on it’s 5th note.

G Mixolydian Mode

The G mixolydian mode is the C major scale starting from the 5th note G. This scale along with others is used for improvising over dominant chords.

You will see this chord as the main chord in blues progressions. It will be used for all three chords in a 12 bar blues like C7, F7 and G7. You could also use dominant 9th chords

Years ago bands would use the Mixolydian scale as the main source for improvising over this progression. It is actually in 3 different keys because there is only one dominant chord in a najor scale.

Now the blues scales are the main scales used. In a Jazz-Blues sound many other scale and modes are used because they use a lot of chord substitution with altered chords.

Dominant Chord Forms

Here are some common chord forms for this chord.

These chords are movable just move to the root note. On the first chord just play the 1st 4 strings.

Here is where the roots are for the above chords going from left to right.

1st Chord – Root – 6th and 3rd String

2nd Chord – Root – 6th and 1st Strings

3rd Chord – Root – 4th String

4th Chord – Root – 5th and 2nd Strings

5th Chord – Root – 5th String

Dominant chords can have other notes in them along with the 7th. Any chord that is built from the 5th note of the Major scale is a dominant chord including altered chords. They usually all have a flatted 7th.

If a chord name has a 7 after the note name it’s a dominant chord. If it has a maj7 after it’s not a dominant chord.

Dominant chords can be 9th, 11th and 13th chords too. Altered chords with a flatted 7th can also be considered dominant chords too.

Dominant 7th – She’s a Woman

A good example of this chord is the Beatles song “She’s a Woman”. John uses the dominant 7th chord forms shown below.

She’s a Woman – Cd’s – Vinyl
She’s a Woman – Tab
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Dominant Chords in Major Scales

Here is a list the keys and dominant chord for that key. The dominant 7th is always built from the 5th note of a Major scale. This is also true in the Harmonic and Melodic minor scales.

The F♯ and G♭ are the same pitch just spelled different for each key.

Dominant 7th Chords

Here are dominant 7th chords for all the major keys.



These chords are used a lot in all styles of music especially Blues music.

Most of these chords are movable just keep track of where the root notes are.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Free Guitar Learning PDF’s

Free guitar learning pdf’s is a page where I put all my free pdf’s for anyone to download and share with friends and fellow musicians

Right click and save to your computer. You can share these free PDF’s

These PDF’s are the individual major scales and their chords. They are listed in the circle of fourths. You will find many songs use the circle of 4ths for chord changes.

These modes are actually the major scale but starting at a different note then the scale name itself. These are the most used modes of the major scale.

They define the tonal root of a song. In other words a song can be in the C major scale but have a D minor chord as the home chord, this is the Dorian scale which is built on the second note of the major scale.

Aeolian Mode

Aeolian Modes

The Aeolian mode starts on the sixth note of the major scale, so an A Aeolian mode is the C major scale starting fron A. This mode is good for improvising over minor chords like Am, Am7 and Am9

Dorian Mode

The Dorian mode starts on the second note, so a D Dorian mode is the C scale starting on the D note. This mode is good for improvising over minor chords like Dm, Dm6, Dm7, Dm9 and more.

Dorian Modes

Mixolydian Mode

The Mixolydian mode starts on the fifth note of a major scale so the G Mixolydian is the C scale starting on the 5th or G note. This mode is used for improvising over Dominant chords like the G7, G9 and G13th.

Mixolyian Modes

Free Chord PDF’s – Learn to Make Chords

The Chord Formulas PDF is for learning how chords are made. Once you know some of these formulas you will be able to make your own chords. You can get some unique chord voicing this way by adding open strings even though you are playing the chord in a upper fret position.

The chord blanks is for making your own chord book. Print the blank on both sides, punch holes in them and put them in an empty 3 hole notebook.

  • Chord Formulas
  • Chord Diagram Blanks
  • Left Handed Chord Diagrams
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Basic Guitar Chords… You Need to Play Most Songs

Learning a few basic guitar chords will start you off playing dozens of songs right off the bat. There are a handful of basic chords that will let you play most songs.

Barre Chords – Basic Guitar Chords

These are beginner guitar chords where your first finger replaces the nut at the top of the guitar neck. This makes it a movable chord that you can play all the way up the guitar neck.

These chords can be tough in the beginning but if you keep at it will come. Lighter gauge strings will help until you can play them.

Make sure you get good clean clear notes from all the strings.

Also try playing these up the neck near the 10th fret. The strings have more give there, then work your way down 1 fret at a time making sure you you have good sounding chords. Don’t use any magic boxes, reverb or distortion while practicing these chords.

These chords are just 1st position chords fingered different so they can be moved up the neck.

One thing to watch out for is extra tension in your hand and arm when you try these different chord forms.
Try to stay as relaxed as you can. This will make playing these chords easier.

The Caged system is a way of taking the first position chords and putting them into barre chords or movable chords making one chord form into a lot of other chords by moving it up or down the neck. Each letter stands for a 1st position chord form.

This will help you understand the different basic chord forms and get more familiar with the guitar neck.

The C Chord Form

Here is the 1st position and the movable form. It may take a little practice to get the movable chord form sounding clear. Start up the neck and work your way down making sure all notes ring out clear.

The root for this chord is on the 5th and 2nd string. You just have to change your fingering so the 4th finger is on the 5th string and the 1st finger acts as the nut.

You should place your 1st finger so is just touches the 6th string to dampen it. You don’t want the 6th string ringing out on this chord.

The 6th string should only be blocked if you are playing the whole chord.

If you are playing alternating bass notes finger the chord so it rings out.

You will control how long it rings with your fretting hand by releasing pressure or by touching it with your picking hand.

This is also true if you are using this form for fingerpicking.

The A Chord Form

The root for these basic guitar chords is on the 5th and 3rd string. As with the above chord dampen the 6th string to keep it quiet

The G Chord Form

This chord requires a long stretch, you should practice this one up the neck where the frets are closer together.

The root is on the 6th, 3rd and 1st string. Most of the time the 1st string note is left out making it easier to finger like the third chord form.

The E Chord Form

This is the most used major chord form. It contains 3 root notes, two 5th’s and one 3rd on the 3rd string.

The root is on the 6th, 4th and 1st string. You don’t want to block the 6th string here. Keeping your thumb in the middle of the neck makes these chords easier to play.

The D Chord Form

This chord has a good stretch to it. This is another chord you should start to practice up the neck 1st and work your way down one fret at a time.

The root is on the 4th and 2nd string. This form is a little tough to get clear notes from constantly but it has a nice sound

Practice these chords up and down the neck. The most important thing is good clear notes, don’t worry about speed that will come with accuracy.

The Minor Barre Chords – Basic Guitar Chords

As with the major chords there are also minor chords from the open position that can be made movable.

The C minor Chord Form

This basic minor chord will be harder to finger for beginners so start up the neck and get used to it and then work your way down the neck. This one gives the muscles between the ring and little finger a stretching workout.

The root for this chord is on the 5th and second string, the 5th string is played with the 4th finger which you will have to stretch out to get, just keep at it and it will come.

This chord is good for a drop progession. Lower the bass note one fret at a time and listen. This progression is used in a lot of songs.

The A Minor Chord Form

This is a popular form and a little easier to play.

The root for this chord is on the 5th and 3rd strings

The G Minor Chord Form

This basic chord form is very hard to finger and doesn’t get used as an everyday chord but is good know for lead work. Start this up the neck as far as you can reach on your guitar. This is a muscle builder but don’t over do it, a little each day is best.

The root for this chord is on the 6th and 1st strings.

This is actually two triad forms put together. If you want more info on triads or basic chord building check this page out.

The E Minor Chord Form

This is the easiest of the basic guitar chords barre chords to play. This is the E major form with the 3rd lowered one fret.

The root for this chord is on the 6th, 4th and 1st strings. Only one note different than the major chord on the 3rd string.

The D Minor Chord Form

This is a good 1st position chord

This is also a hard to grab chord in a fast song, take your time and get clear notes.

Try practicing this on the first three strings with the 2, 3 and 4 fingers before laying the 1st finger down, relax your muscles.

Thanks for Visiting Our Basic Guitar Chords Page.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Guitar Chord TheoryChord Making Made Easy

Guitar chord theory is a study on how to make chords from scales. They are basically made by combining every other note in a scale. However understanding intervals will help with larger and altered chords.

Understanding chord theory will save you a lot of time memorizing separate chords. When you see how they are made you only have to remember one formula for each chord.

Chords come from scales. There are a lot of different scales but the major and minor scales are the main sources for chords.

The difference between a major and minor chord is only one note. The minor chord has a minor 3rd and the major chord has a major 3rd in it. Simple.

There are four main types of chords.

Major

Minor

Augmented

Diminished

Each of these especially the major and minor chords have a lot of related chords.

You have most likely seen C7, Dm7 and other chord symbols. Learning how to make them will give you chords all over the guitar neck.

Chord Basics
Understanding Music Intervals

Intervals are the distance between two notes. Most chords are built using major and minor 3rds stacked on top of each other. This is for the root position chord which is where we start and learn the notes and degrees of each chord.

I suggest you open these next few links in a new tab or window to make it easy to switch back and forth. They may help you understand guitar chord theory as I explain it.

It seems complicated at first but it is really just simple math. The better you know the guitar fretboard the easier it will be.

Music Intervals

Guitar Fretboard

Learning where all the notes are will make playing and learning new songs much easier. You won’t be searching for the notes you’ll know where they are.

Guitar fretboard

Major Scale Primer

This is a good page to get an understanding of the major scale and chord building.

Major Scale Primer

How to Read Chords

Here is a page that explains the chord symbols like Cma7, Dm7 or Cma7+5.

You will see these in most music written for piano. learning what they mean is fairly easy.

How to Read Guitar Chords

How to Read Guitar Chord Diagrams

This page will explain the chord diagrams for those of you who are new to guitar diagrams.

Reading Chord Diagrams

Guitar Chord Theory

Chord Types

Here are chords that get used quite a bit in everyday music of all types.

Slash Chords

Sounds like heavy metal chords doesn’t it? It’s actually because of the / in the chord name like name like C/G. This means a C major chord with a G bass note.

About Slash Chords

Suspended Chords

These chords suspend the third of a chord with a second or a fourth note. Usually for a couple beats and then they resolve back to the third.

More on Suspended Chords

Sixth Chords

These chords are popular. A major 6th chord is also a minor 7th chord. C6 is equal to an Am7 chord.

Learn about Sixth Chords

Minor 6th Chords

These don’t get as much play time as the major 6th but they have a couple different names and uses.

More on Minor 6th Chords

The 7th Chords

The following link will tell you all about the different 7th chords.

All 7th Chords

Major 7th Chords

This is a nice mellow chord. It’s made from a major and a minor triad combined.

Maj 7th Chords

Dominant 7th Chords

These chords come from the 5th note of the major and minor scales.

Dominant 7th Chords

Diminished 7th Chords

This is a unique chord. It repeats itself every 3rd fret and has some other uses.

Diminished 7th Theory

Altered Chords

These are the chords with the really confusing names like C7♯5♭9

Altered Chords Explained

Chord Formulas

Here is a page that explains how to make chords using the major scale as a tool.

Chord Formulas

The Chord Types
Guitar Chord Theory

Major

Minor

Diminished

Augmented

The Major Chords
Guitar Chord Theory

The major chords are formed on the I, IV and V degrees of the major scale.

The Minor chords are formed from the ii, iii and vi notes.

The vii is a diminished chord when it is a triad, a three note chord.

Major chord degrees are written in upper class I, IV and V. This format will be used in many but not all guitar lesson books.

Minor Chords and the diminished, because it has a minor third as it’s first interval are written in lower case ii, iii, vi and vii.

A major chord is composed of a major third and a minor third interval.

  • C to E is a Major 3rd
  • E to G is a Minor 3rd

This makes a C chord from the I note, it skips the D and the F.

  • F to A is a Major 3rd
  • A to C is a Minor 3rd

This makes an F chord from the IV note, it skips the G and the B.

  • G to B is a Major 3rd
  • B to D is a Minor 3rd

This makes a G chord from the V note, it skips the A and the C.

This is how all major triads are made in the major scale.

The Minor Chords
Guitar Chord Theory

A minor chord is made from a minor 3rd interval and a major 3rd interval. The opposite of the major chord the minor interval is first and the major one is second.

The minor chords are made from the ii, iii and vi notes of the major scale.

  • D to F is a minor 3rd interval
  • F to A is a major 3rd interval

This makes a D minor chord from the ii note.

  • E to G is a minor 3rd interval
  • G to B is a major 3rd interval

This makes an E minor chord from the iii note.

  • A to C is a minor 3rd interval
  • C to E is a major 3rd interval

This makes an A minor chord from the vi note.

The Diminished Chord – vii

The diminished chord is made from two minor intervals.

  • B to D is a minor 3rd interval
  • D to F is a minor 3rd interval

This makes a B dim(diminished) chord. It is also written B°

The Augmented Chord

The augmented chord is made from two major intervals

This chord actually comes from the minor scales, it is a major chord with a raised 5th

  • C to E is a major 3rd interval
  • E to G♯ is a major 3rd interval

Major Scale with Numbers
Guitar Chord Theory

Below is the major scale written twice. This is where chords get those numbers you see in chord symbols.

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

You will see the numbers 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 13 used with chords

The number 2 and 9 are the same note only an octave apart.

The number 4 and 11 are the same note only an octave apart.

The number 6 and 13 are the same note only an octave apart.

Just add 7 to a lower number or subtract 7 from a higher number

Inverting Chord Tones
Guitar Chord Theory

Inverting chord tones is simply placing the lower note one octave higher.

All the chords above came from the root note.

These different ways of playing the same chord are called inversions

For the C major chord you have three notes.

There are as many inversions to a chord as there are notes.

The C chord Inversions
Guitar Chord Theory

  • C-E-G is the root position
  • E-G-C is the 1st inversion
  • G-C-E is the 2nd inversion

The intervals change as the notes are moved

  • C-E-G is a major 3rd + a minor 3rd intervals – root position
  • E-G-C is a minor 3rd interval + a 4th interval – 1st inversion
  • G-C-E is a 4th interval + a major 3rd interval – 2nd inversion

These are not the only way to play these chords. Any combination containing all three notes is a C chord. You can have multiple notes, and will on most major and minor chords.

In other words a 1st position C chord could be C E G C E. Two C’s and two E’s the second C and E are one octave higher then the first one.

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C Sharp Minor Scales

C sharp minor scales are relative to the E major scale. This minor key only has 4 sharps in it. They’re getting easier.

Learning these different keys isn’t that hard if you can remember scale pattererns. This one is in the relative key of E major. The minor keys start on the 6th note of the major scale. The notes in the natural minor is the same as its relative major. The Harmonic and Melodic scales are altered.

C Sharp Natural Minor Scale

The C Sharp Major scale really doesn’t get used except for teaching purposes. The music would be easier to read in D flat. This is just to show you an easy way to build these scales from the major scale.

C Sharp Natural Minor Scale Chords

C Sharp Melodic Minor Scale

Flatting the 3rd of the major scale will give you a melodic minor scale.

C Sharp Melodic Minor Scale Chords

The last chord is a G minor 7th flat 5 but I used the double sharp to stay with the scales.

C Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale

Harmonic scales can be made by lowering the 3rd and 6th note of a major scale

I hope you found this page useful.

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G Sharp Minor Scales

G sharp minor scales are related to the B major scale. This key has 5 sharps in it. every note but the E and B

Playing in different keys isn’t that hard if you remember scale pattererns on the guitar. This one is in the relative key of B so think the C major down one fret. The minor keys start on the 6th note of the major scale. The natural minor is the same as its relative major. The harmonic and Melodic are altered.

G Sharp Natural Minor Scale

You see the double sharps? That’s so I don’t use the same note twice in a scale. You will see these from time to time in sheet music but not very often. A double sharp or flat raises or lowers a note a whole tone or two frets. An X is sometimes used for a double sharp.

There really is no G sharp scale. It would be the A flat scale. This is an easy way to build these scales from the major scale.

G Sharp Natural Minor Scale Chords

G Sharp Melodic Minor Scale

Flatting the 3rd of the F major scale will give you an F melodic minor scale.

G Sharp Melodic Minor Scale Chords

The last chord is a G minor 7th flat 5 but I used the double sharp to stay with the scales.

G Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale

Harmonic scales can be made by lowering the 3rd and 6th note of a major scale

I hope you found this page useful.