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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.

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