How To Find & Use The Melodic Minor Scale On Your Guitar

How To Find & Use The Melodic Minor Scale On Your Guitar

In this lesson, we are going to look at how to find and use the melodic minor scale on your guitar.  What is great about this melodic minor scale is that is the easiest of all minor scales to produce.  As you only need to alter one note in the major scale it comes out of.

The Major Scale

A major scale





All minor scales come from their major scale counterparts.  So, for every major scale, we have a natural minor scale.  and with an alteration of certain notes, we can create many other minor scales.  Including the melodic minor scale.

The major scale is comprised of 8 notes.  The famous Do Re Mi that we are so familiar with.  It is usually the first thing that we are introduced to in music.  Usually in grade school.

Let’s look at the A major scale for example:

A  B  C#  D  E  F#  G#  A.  This scale is made up of the Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do that we are familiar with.  This tells us that it is a major scale.  In fact, if it doesn’t have this, it is not a major scale.  All major scales should have this sound.


The A minor scale

A minor scale





The minor scale is very similar to the major scale except in order to create it we need to alter a few notes of the scale.  We need to flatten (take beck by one fret) the 3rd, 6th, & 7th notes.  This will give us an interval of notes that will have a different tone quality and mood to work with.

The A minor scale:  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  A.  As you can see from the note sequence, we have now eliminated all of the sharpened notes in the major scale.  We had the C#, F#, & G#.  Now they are just natural C, F & G.  This is because they are the 3rd, 6th, & 7th notes of the scale.

This is how a minor scale is created and can be done in any key.  So, if you ever want to make a major key into a minor one, all you need to do is find the 8 notes to the key, and flatten the 3rd, 6th, & 7th by one fret and your set.


Melodic minor scale

The A melodic minor scale





This is the easiest scale to produce.  Why?  Because you only need to flatten one note.  The third.  That’s it.  Just one note.  You leave the 6th and 7th notes in their natural position.

Let’s look at the example in the key of A major.  The notes for A major are A  B  C#  D  E  F#  G#  A.  We now know that the third note is the C#.  So, we just bring this note back by one fret and we have the A melodic minor scale.  Now the notes in this scale are, A  B  C  D  E  F#  G#  A.

If you play this scale, you’ll see how just changing this one-note made a big difference in the sound of the scale.


More minor scales.

Minor pentatonic scale patterns





When it comes to the major scale there is only one.  But when it comes to minor scales, there are many.  You’ve got the natural minor scale, the harmonic minor scale, minor pentatonic scales, and many more.  But in reality, these are just different versions of each other.

The main thing in the minor scale is to have the fat third.  Like in the melodic minor scale.  The minor pentatonic scale has a flat 3rd, & 7th in it.  The blues scale (a form of minor scale) has the flat 5th added in for good measure.  And the harmonic minor scale has the flat 6th note in it.


Study the guitar fretboard

Notes on the guitar fretboard





It is very important to learn your notes and study the guitar fretboard.  When you look at it like the picture shown above, you can see there is much mystery to it and if you take the time to unlock the mystery, you’ll become a much better player.

You will also improve your understanding of music theory and how certain notes work together in harmony to create beautiful music.  But in order to accomplish this, you must study.  You must study and practice this information daily.


Additional training

If you’d like to learn more about the melodic minor scale and other scales like it, I recommend you check out the book Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 2.

Lead Guitar Wizardry Volume 2

This book will show you everything you need to take your lead guitar playing to the next level.  It continues where Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 1 leaves off.  It introduces you to;

Pentatonic scale guitar licks

The 7 modes of the major scale

Guitar licks within the modes

Scale mode formulas

Additional minor scales

Modal triad relationships

How to improvise

Sweep picking arpeggios

And many, many more things.  So if you’re looking to enhance your guitar soloing and knowledge of music theory, I recommend you look into the book Lead Guitar Wizardry vol 2.


Lesson conclusion

In this lesson, we have looked at the melodic minor scale and learned how it is different from the natural minor scale.  All scales are just a matter of intervals.  And the difference between them is the interval pattern.  I suggest you commit this to memory as it will help you to understand them better.

Be sure to check out the book Lead guitar Wizardry vol 2 for more on this and other types of scales to help you with your guitar solos and music knowledge.  And if guitar lessons will help you with learning guitar, be sure to contact me as I can help you.

Learning to play guitar is not always easy, but with the right training, it can become easier and a lot more fun to learn.  Keep practicing on a daily basis and let me know if you need any help.

Best of luck,

Dwayne Jenkins

Dwayne Jenkins Guitar Teacher