Melodic “Jazz” Minor Scale Lesson

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In this blog we will look at the Jazz Melodic Minor scale and its harmony and how to exploit it for jazz/fusion and melodic pop/rock usage. The melodic minor is an exotic and beautiful sounding scale that compliments its corresponding harmony.

If we take the basic C Major scale and play through it we can create a new scale by changing just one note. This is the 3rd note E.

C major Scale

If we flatten this E natural to an E flat note we have the C melodic “Jazz” Minor scale.

C Melodic minor scale how to

Here are the arpeggios for the C melodic “jazz” minor scale in 7ths

Arpeggios of the C Melodic Minor Scale for jazz improvisation


Arpeggios of the C Melodic "Jazz" Minor Scale

Upper Extensions: We can add a “triad” above the arpeggios and create an upper extension on each of the melodic minor’s arpeggios.

C melodic minor UPPER EXTENSIONS for jazz improvisation

C melodic minor UPPER EXTENSIONS for jazz improvisation

Jazz improvisation. C melodic minor UPPER EXTENSIONS

It is a good idea to extend the tonic C minor/maj7 Arpeggio to get a good fluid fingering for it as it is a really beautiful exotic sound and can also be used over an altered dominant chord.

C melodic minor arpeggio

Another important point is to get a good fingering by using easier fingerings like the example below. [The easier the fingering the better the intervals sound on the guitar].

Guitar Fingering for C melodic jazz minor scale

It is also a good idea to employ “triad pairs” that exist within the melodic minor scale. Here we have E flat augmented,  F major, Cmin/maj7, and Dm7

Triad pairs for C melodic Minor jazz improviser lesson

We can also make Pentatonic’s from the melodic minor scale which fit easily in the guitarists fretting hand. Below is an example that could be played over an A minor 7 flat 5 chord [Chord 6 in C melodic “jazz’ minor scale].

How to make pentatonics from the C melodic minor Scale

Lastly, we have the dominant chord of the C melodic minor scale being G major [Chord 5]. This would normally make G seventh but due to the E flat note in the scale we can now make an “Altered” Dominant chord [G9 Augmented]. We have the note of A for the ninth and the Eb  flat note for the sharpened 5th.

How to create altered dominant improvised lines from C melodic minor scale