In this lesson I’ll show you some lines and talk a bit about some of the common devices that you can use in the melodic minor scale. The melodic minor sound is a huge part of the modern jazz sound, but it can be applied to modal situations in other styles as well.

The material here is mostly intended for a tonic minor chord like Cm6 or CmMaj7, but it is easy to adapt or even just play it over other chords from melodic minor like the Lydian Dominant, Altered dominants or m7b5(9) chords.

I made these lines around this position of the Cm Melodic scale:

Nothing too special as it is a 3 note per string position of the Melodic Minor scale.

The first example is:

The first part of the line is an Eb augmented triad with a repeated melody note. The second half of the bar is a scale fragment which could also be seen as an encircling of the root. For the second bar I first use an EbMaj7#5 arpeggio played in a sequence and follow that with a scale melody from the A before it ends on the G.

In the second line I start of by chaining together an EbMaj7#5 and a CmMaj7 arpeggio, this is a very nice way to use two arpeggios to get a line with a very wide range. The second part of the line is a sort of visiual pattern that can be moved across the strings in this position and which I find sounds good in this contet. It has perhaps more of an F7 flavour but the A really brings out the Cm6 sound too in this context.

The last example is using an Am7b5 (or Cm6) arpeggio in an inversion. After that it continues in an open voiced G major triad, a construct that I really like the sound of even if it is a bit dificult to play. The first part of the second bar is a tried and true Cm line (or cliché in other words) followed by a G major triad with a trill on the 5th.

As you can see in these examples I make much use of different versions of the diatonic chords and try to get new sounds by making surprising sounds with inversions and sequences of notes to keep it interesting. You willl probably get the most out of trying to make your own lines with these arpeggios and inversions and explore what you like about the melodic minor sound and how you can use it.

You can download a PDF of the examples here: Melodic Minor Lines – part 1

Guitar Lesson Video Transcription

Hi guys, in this lesson I’m going to give you some ideas on how to make lines with a melodic minor scale.

The melodic minor scale is one of the best places to start if you want to explore some new sounds that sounds a little bit more like modern jazz. With that, I mean modern jazz that’s been around since the 60s,when they really started to use this scale a lot.

Just to have a scale to play, let’s start with this position..

[guitar playing]

..which is a fairly easy way to play a C minor melodic scale. And also, it’s easy to find because you have the root here. It’s a good place to start.

I also made some other lessons on melodic minor if you want to see some of the other places where you can apply it, because you can apply this to a lot of different chords.

In this lesson we’re going to focus mostly on using it on the C minor chord. It’s the kind of thing that you can throw in there if you have a C minor 6, or C minor major chord for sometime in a solo.

Actually, it’s all something you can do, or at least can get away with if you’re in a situation that’s not jazz, not necessarily, but you’re playing on a minor chord for a few bars so you can use that as a variation on your minor pentatonic, or normal minor and see how that fits.

Let’s first do the 1st example.

[guitar playing]

That’s the 1st Example. Just to break it down, I suspect that if you can find out how to play this scale and how it’s constructed, you can also check out the diatonic chords, and therefore also the arpeggios, or the triads, because what I play here in the beginning is an augmented triad.

Actually, this is an inversion, because the augmented triad is found on the 3rd north of the scale E flat. I’m playing it with the E flat on top and the down here to the G and up the arpeggio.

Then I’m using the scalar on, and after that I’m going on to another arpeggio shape out of this scale, which is the E flat major 7 sharp 5. So now we have the augmented triad, this scalar on, and then the major 7 sharp 5 arpeggio, and then another scale run. That’s that line.

The next line sounds like this.

[guitar playing]

What’s that? Again, just the E flat major 7 sharp 5, and followed by a C minor major arpeggio, so you get [guitar playing]

This scale figure, which I guess is mostly a visual thing, actually, that I like the sound of. It just looks the same for the 2 sets of strings that I’m playing it on, and it works in this context. Resolving to the D, so that would be 9 frets or something.

The last example sounds like this.

[guitar playing]

The 1st part of that is actually in inversion of another arpeggio, which is the A half-diminished arpeggio in this position. I’m playing with a 5thfirst, so I get a G-A-C. Then I’m playing this open voiced G triad, which is a nice surprising sound, because of the big interval, and then a fairly standard C minor line that’s not really anything, it could be in most C minor scales.

Then this is a sort of a G – to me, anyways – it’s sort of a G triad with an embellishment on the 5th, or this trill at the end of the A.

That was 3 lines using melodic minor that you can apply. I’ve written them with a C minor chord, a C minor major, a C minor 6th chord in mind. But since C minor melodic is also F7 Lydian dominant, or B7 altered, or A half –diminished with a 9, there are other places where you can apply it.

A lot of the melodic minor stuff is actually easy to move around, and it will still sound okay. If you resolve these lines to another note, then all of a sudden you can use them in another place, and that’s definitely worth checking out.

Another thing you could do is also take different bits and pieces of lines, and try to make your own with it. I think just learning the lines may not be something that you can get a lot out of. What you would get more out of is trying to make your own with some of the material that’s in the lines, and find ways to play it that fits your playing, and the melodies that you hear.

Maybe try and mess around with that. In any case, this is the 1st lesson in the series – a new series for Fundamental Changes. There’s a link in the description to this article on the Fundamental Changes website.

You can download a PDF of the lines there, and of course you can see the article of all the examples there. You can also go and subscribe to their newsletter if you want to stay up to date with the lessons that they publish, and the books that Joseph is writing. I think they publish 2 or 3 lessons a week, so that’s quite a lot of stuff.

You can of course also go to my website and subscribe to my newsletter, and of course you’re welcome to subscribe to my YouTube channel. This was the 1st lesson, until next time. Thanks for watching.