Melodic minor Scale – 7 Positions/Berklee System

Here is an overview of the Melodic Minor scale in the key of C, using the 7 Positions/Berklee System.

This is a variation of the William Leavitt/Berklee system from Modern Method for Guitar, as it was taught to me.

Practicing Scales and finding useful exercises

If you want to learn scales then you need to practice them in the right way. These posts will help you evaluate and improve how you work on scales in your practice routine

How to practice your scales and why – Positions

Practice Major Scales like this and you will get more out of it!

You can also download the chart as a pdf here: 

6 thoughts on “Melodic minor Scale – 7 Positions/Berklee System

  1. Jonas

    Hi Jens, first of all I would like to thank you for all the amazing and free (!) content you provide here and on youtube. I‘ve been following you for quite some time now and also purchased one of your lessons which really helped me with my playing. One question I have regarding the melodic minor but also the harmonic minor scale patterns is which fingers you use for each note and if you actually follow strict rules or would recommend doing so when practicing the scales with triads, 7th chords etc. e.g. assigning each finger to a specific fret with streches between the 1st and second as well as the 3rd and 4th finger to cover 6 frets.

    The fingering for the major and natural minor patterns is quite obvious to me but when it comes to the harmonic and melodic minor patterns I am confused. One example would be the position starting with the root on the 6th string. When coming from the respective natural minor position i would use the following fingering (1=index finger, 2=middle finger, 3=ring finger, 4=pinky):

    E: 1-3-4
    B: 1-3-4
    G: 1-3
    D: 2-3-4
    A: 1-3-4
    E: 1-3-4

    This however creates rather uncomfortable feeling 4th finger stretches on three strings (A, D and B) but adheres to the finger fret relationship.

    Alternatively one could use the fingering:

    E: 1-3-4
    B: 1-2-4
    G: 1-3
    D: 1-2-4
    A: 1-2-4
    E: 1-3-4

    This fingering avoids the stretches but breakes the fret finger relationship.

    I hope this questions doesn‘t appear too strange but I would like to make sure to train my muscle memory as usefull as possible and avoid creating problems in the future with applications of the scale patterns I might not be aware of yet.

    Any thoughts or advice would be really appreciated.

    Best regards

    1. jens

      Hi Jonas,

      I think moving up a position is sort of missing the point of the system, then I would go with the 3nps system instead.

      To me, it also seems that if a major 3rd is a stretch to play then maybe you need to look at how you sit and also how you position your hand on the neck?

      1. Jonas

        Hi Jens,

        thanks for your reply. The major third from finger 1 to 4 is no problem. I guess I should have said the the stretch between finger 3 and 4 to play a whole tone interval feels unusual but I guess it is just that as I am new to the harmonic/melodic minor shapes and it will feel more natural over time just as the major positions do.

        Best regards

        1. jens

          Yes, I think a lot of it is just getting used to it so that it does not feel forced. Maybe focus on playing higher on the neck in the beginning so you don’t force your hand too much. You also want to keep your thumb low, around the middle of the neck to make it easier to stretch in a relaxed way and the neck at an angle

  2. vincentsuns

    Hi Jens,
    Just want to leave a comment to say thank you for all the great material.
    As you showed in other videos, i have been practicing the diatonic arpeggios for different scales in different positions.
    Now just got into the melodic minor. Progressed slowly (hard to memorize and gain speed) but step by step, hopefully.

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