Tag Archives: melodic minor modes

Melodic Minor – How to Make Beautiful Lines

Melodic Minor is a huge part of the sound of Jazz and especially Modern Jazz. In this video, I am going to go over how you make some great Melodic Minor Licks. In the examples, I will also breakdown the way I am thinking and which arpeggios and melodic devices I use in the lines.

Of course, I am using some of the arpeggios that you need to know to work with melodic minor, but there are also a few great options that most people don’t get around to mentioning because they are not considered a part of the diatonic arpeggio set.

The Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale is a minor scale with a major 6th or major 7th. In the key of C this is:

C D Eb F G A B C

1 2 b3 4 5 6 7 8

The scale is shown here below:

#1 The mMaj9th arpeggio

This line is build around the CmMaj7th arpeggio in bar 1. The 2nd bar also contains a part made using leading notes for chord tones.

#2 Ebmaj7(#5)

This line is chaining together two arpeggios from the Scale: Ebmaj7(#5) and CmMaj. The 2nd bar is made using chromaticism and a Cm triad.

#3 The Augmented Triad

One of the most flexible and useful parts of the of the sound of the scale is the augmented triad. In this example I am combining the Augmented triad with a Dsus4 triad. The Dsus4 is a good way to emphasize the extensions of 9 and 6th on the Cm chord.

The 2nd bar is mainly using some chromaticism and repeats the augmented triad in a higher octave.

If you want to check out more Melodic Minor material in terms of triads and arpeggios then have a look at this article: Melodic Minor – The Things You Need to Know

#4 Dom7th#5 arpeggios (a great secret weapon)

The B7(#5) arpeggio is a great arpeggio to use on a Cm melodic chord like CmMaj7 or Cm6. The arpeggio contains the augmented triad and the A adds a nice set of colors on the chord:

B7(#5) : B Eb G A

Relative to C: Maj7 3rd 5th 6th

#5 The G7(#5) and Gsus4

The G7(#5) is another way to use a non-diatonic arpeggio on a CmMaj7 chord. In the example below I am combining it with a Gsus4 triad, which is also a good device for a CmMaj7 arpeggio.

Using Melodic Minor on a Minor Blues

If you want to learn how to use Melodic minor in the context of a minor blues then check out this lesson:

Get ALL the basics down

Check out what you really need in Melodic minor: Diatonic chords, triads and quartal arpeggios:

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Lydian Dominant – 10 Licks – What is the Best Arpeggio?

This video is going over 10 Lydian Dominant Guitar Licks each one with a different arpeggio that you can add to your own vocabulary. I will also first cover what common chord progressions have Lydian Dominant chords, and some solid Lydian b7 chord voicings.

Some of the arpeggios that I cover are sus4 triads, quartal harmony and some non diatonic melodic minor arpeggios. There are many great options for getting some new sounds over these chords.

Lydian Dominant Scale

The first thing to cover is what the Lydian Dominant scale is. All the examples in this article are using a G7(#11). The scale is a mode of the melodic minor scale found on the IV. This means that G lydian b7 is D melodic minor from G to G. The scale is shown here below:

3 Lydian Dominant Progressions

There are three common lydian dominant progressions. The Tritone Substitute, the backdoor dominant and the V of V in a major key.

Below all three are shown.

First the G7 is the tritone substitue of Db7 in a II V I in Gb major. 

The second example in that line is a IV bVII I in A major where G7 is the backdoor dominant or bVII.

G7(#11) Chord Voicings

Below are some common and playable voicings for a G7(#11) that all fit in the G Lydian b7 sound.

Lick 1 – DmMaj7 Arpeggio

The first example is using the minor melodic connection by using a DmMaj7 arpeggio in the line. This also fits with the context since it is a G7 that is resolving as a backdoor dominant up to Amaj7. The arpeggio on the Amaj7 is the top part of a Herbie Hancock Arpeggio

Lick 2 – F augmented Triad

The F augmented triad is also an integral part of the G lydian b7 or D melodic minor. In this example the G7 is again resolving to Amaj7 and the F augmented arpeggio is used in the 2nd half of the bar.

Lick 3 – Fmaj7(#5) arpeggio

This example is using the G7 as a tritone substitute in a II V I in Gb major.

The G7 line is a combination of two arpeggios, first the Bø which is the arpeggio from the 3rd of the G7. This nicely leads into an Fmaj7(#5) arpeggio that really spells out the extensions of the G lydian dominant with the #11(C#) and 13(E)

Lick 4 – A7 arpeggio

This example is a longer line on a G7 resolving as a backdoor dominant back to Amaj7.

The first part of the G7 line is really build around a Dm triad arpeggio and this is followed by two arpeggios first a descending A7 and then an ascending Bø that resolves to the maj7th(G#) of Amaj7.

Lick 5 – Gsus(#4)

If you explore the diatonic sus4 triads in D melodic minor you will come across this great sounding arpeggio: Gsus#4. This sound is very distinct and as you can hear it is a great candidate for a G lydian b7 sound.

The example starts with a chromatic enclosure, then a Dm melody and from there continues with a Gsus(#4) arpeggio resolving to Amaj7.

Lick 6 –  A(add9) or A major Coltrane Pattern

The first part of this line is an Fmaj(#5) followed by a Dm melodic scale run. From here it continues with an A Coltrane Pattern that is repeated in the octave and finally resolves to the 7th(/F) of Gbmaj7.

Lick 7 – G7(b5)

The G7(b5) arpeggio is a clear candidate for the Lydian sound since the arpeggio is contains the #11 (or b5). Notice how G7(b5) is not strictly a diatonic arpeggio in D melodic minor.

In this example I am using G7 as a tritone substitute in Gb major again.

The G7b5 is played as a pattern and the entire bar is filled up by this pattern.

Lick 8 – A7(#5)

The A7(#5) is one of my favourite arpeggios in melodic minor, and in fact there are two dom7th(#5) arpeggios in there.

This example is using a IV bVII I progression in A major where the G7 is the bVII.  The entire line on the G7 is taken up with an ascending A7(#5) arpeggio and resolves via the F down to the 5th(E) of Amaj7.

Lick 9 – C#7(#5)

The other Dom7(#5) arpeggio is the C#7(#5). In this example I amusing that in a line where the G7 is a tritone substitute for Db7 in Gb major. 

Again the arpeggio is clear enough to be the only thing I am using on the G7.

Lick 10 – G major b5

The forgotten triad or G major b5 is also a good arpeggio to get the Lydian b7 sound across. In this example I am combining it with first a Dm triad then the G(b5) arpeggio and then I resolve that to an Amaj7.

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Pentatonic Scale for Altered Chords – Modern Melodic Minor Secrets

The Pentatonic scale is one of the first things we learn. And since it is something we are very familiar with and we can use this to change it a bit and use it for other chord sounds like Altered Dominants or other melodic minor sounds. In this lesson I am going to show you a simple way to make a great pentatonic scale for altered chords and demonstrate how to learn and how to use it.

Creating the Pentatonic scale

I came up with this scale by playing a C minor pentatonic scale and then changing the C to a B. This is shown in example 1, first the C minor and then the B Lydian Augmented pentatonic scale.

As you can see in this example we can easily use that we already know 5 positions of pentatonic scales and that it is easy to “alter” the root so that we make them into or new pentatonic scale.

The Melodic Minor Connection

It is important to also notice that this scale, or 5 note set of notes. Is also a subset of the Ab melodic minor scale:

Melodic minor:       Ab Bb B Db Eb F G Ab Ab Bb

Altered pentatonic:          B        Eb F G            Bb B

This tells us that it is a part of the Ab melodic minor/ G Altered scale and we can also see that it is a good fit for the G7 with an F and a B in there.

Learning The Altered Dom7th Pentatonic Scale

Since the scale is layed out in 2 notes per string patterns across the neck, just like our normal pentatonic scales we can use some of the same exercises to get used to playing the scale

Here are a few excerpts:

The pentatonic scale in groups of 3 notes

The scale in groups of 4 notes:

Finding the chords in the scale

It is important to also have some of the structures under control in the scale. The place you probably want to start is to create some diatonic chords. In Example 5 I have stacked diatonic “3rds” which as you may know yields a lot of quartal harmony.

This exercise is shown here below:

The chords that we get from this are:

  • G7alt Quartal Voicing
  • Eb augmented triad
  • F Quartal Voicing
  • G7 Shell voicing
  • Eb Maj triad (2nd inv)

All of them are quite useful as upper-structures on a G7 altered.

Using the scale as a melody

To demonstrate the way this pentatonic scale works in the context of a II V I I have made three examples.

The first example starts with a pattern of an Fmaj7 (the arpeggio from the 3rd of Dm7). The arepggio is played in a 1 5 3 7 pattern. The line continues with a descending scale run.

On the G7alt the line is simply an ascending run up the scale that is then finally resolved to the 9th(D).

The fact that the pentatonic scale is a bit unusual in the construction makes it possible to get away with using it as a melody in the most basic form as a sort of enriched arpeggio.  

Putting some diatonic chords to use

The 2nd example starts with a Dm7 descending arpeggio. From here it continues with a short scale run. 

On the G7alt the melody is first the G7(#9) quartal voicing and then a Eb augmented triad in inversion.

The line resolves to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.

The upper-structure triad

This example makes use of the Eb major triad as an upper structure on the G7alt.

The opening on the Dm7 line is constructed first from an F major triad followed by an Am pentatonic scale fragment. On the G7alt the line is an embellishment of an Eb root position triad followed by a small scale run that resolves to the 3rd of Cmaj7.

Working with these altered or modified pentatonic scales

When you work on using this pentatonic scale it is useful to try to tap into some of all the things you already have in your system with normal pentatonics. There is a lot of tips and ideas already explored on guitar in several styles using pentatonic scales after all. 

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Pentatonic Scales – Melodic Minor – Altered Scale

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Lydian Dominant Licks – The Best Modern Arpeggios and Structures

In the Lydian dominant sound you can access a lot of cool sounds and you can put it to use in modal situations, blues, tritone subs and IV minor chords. This video will give you some new ideas and non diatonic arpeggio structures to add to your Lydian dominant ideas. I will use 3 Lydian Dominant Guitar Licks to demonstrate how great the arpeggios work in the context of this sound!

You can use the Lydian Dominant Scale as refreshing and surprising sounds besides the fact that you need for some of the chord progressions you will keep running into in jazz standards and originals.

The Scale and the chord

All the examples in this lesson are using an A7(#11) as the Lydian dominant. The Lydian dominant scale that goes with this chord is the 4th degree of the E melodic minor scale as shown here below:

The first Lydian dominant example – The Gmaj7(b5)

The first example is using two non diatonic arpeggios and a triad pair.

The diatonic arpeggios in E melodic minor are EmMaj7, F#m7, Gmaj7(#5) A7, B7, C#m7b5 and D#m7(b5). Basically the arpeggios you get by stacking 3rds in the scale.

But besides those you can also construct other chords in the scale. One of those is the Gmaj7(b5) which is what I use as the first 4 notes of this example. From there it continues with another non diatonic arpeggio: the A7(b5). After this I continue with a very common triad pair with A and B major triads. This is a very common triad pair to use for melodic minor. The triads are played in 2nd inversion.

Crazy arpeggio ideas – Drop2 and diatonic sus4 arpeggios

The first arpeggio in the second example is using a Drop2 version of the A7(b5) arpeggio. The line continues with a Bsus4 triad.

The combination of Bsus4 and A7(b5) voicing works as one large arpeggio structure. If you want to learn more of this approach you can do so here: Crazy Arpeggios

From the Bsus4 arpeggio the melody continues by moving up to the next diatonic sus4 triad: Asus#4.

The last part of the line is coming out of a G augmented triad idea.

Using them as Tritone dominants or as an altered chord

The previous example resolves to a D#, which you can directly interpret as an Eb, the 5th in Abmaj7. It is important to keep in mind that these lines can be used as tritone dominants or altered scale ideas as well.

Sweeping maj7#5 arpeggios and add some Quartal ideas!

A great arpeggio for the Lydian dominant sound is the maj7#5 arpeggio. For an A7(#11) this is a Gmaj7#5, which I am using as the opening statement in the 3rd example. From here the line continues with an F#m7 arpeggio. 

The 2nd bar is combining two Quartal arpeggios. First from G that you might recognize as an A7(13) chord. From here it continues with the one from C#. Together these two spell out an A7(9,13) sound.

The line ends on a D#. This is also an example of a line that would make a great Eb7alt or tritone guitar lick.

Summing it up

I hope you can use these ideas with some non diatonic arpeggios and quartal arpeggio ideas to expand on your own Lydian dominant vocabulary!

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Lydian Dominant licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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