Guitar Modes: Melodic Minor Scale

Music Theory

This is a continuation from my previous guide: Modes of the Major Scale Explained!

The main difference between the major scale and the melodic minor is its flat 3rd as opposed to the major scales regular third. Therefore the seven modes of the melodic minor scale share only one note difference to the modes of the major scale. This scale is used extensively in jazz!

The seven modes of the melodic minor scale are as follows:

  1. The Melodic Minor (similar to ionian mode, but with a flattened 3rd)
    1 2 b3 4 5 6 7
  2. Dorian b2 (similar to dorian mode, but with a flattened 2nd)
    1 b2 b3 4 5 6 b7
  3. Lydian Augmented (similar to lydian mode, but with a raised 5th)
    1 2 3 #4 #5 6 7
  4. Lydian Dominant: (Lydian b7) (similar to lydian mode, but with a flattened 7th)
    1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7
  5. Mixolydian b6 (similar to mixolydian mode, but with a flattened 6th)
    1 2 3 4 5 b6 b7
  6. Locrian #2 (Aeolian b5) (similar to the locrian mode, but with a raised 2nd)
    1 2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
  7. Altered (Super Locrian) (similar to the locrian mode, but with a flattened 4th)
    1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7

You construct these modes in the exact same way as you construct the modes of the major scale, you simply change the root note and you have different sounding mode. i made a diagram to illustrate this (again, in C – click image to make it bigger!):

Music Theory

Be sure to check out the other guitar guides scattered throughout the site!

Chord Theory

Scale Theory

General Music Theory

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14 thoughts on “Guitar Modes: Melodic Minor Scale

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  12. Found your site by accident while looking for info on modes. What a goldmine of well presented information! I am learning a lot from it and thank you for taking the time and effort to put it all together. I have a question I hope you or someone might be able to address. Before I found this site I managed to get hold of the John McLaughlin instructional DVDs which addresses the idea of modes in some depth. While I will never reach such Godly heights with my playing I note he goes on a three note per string pattern and works his way through the C Ionian on to Dorian by starting the new scale from the 10th fret D then starting from the 12th fret and over on to the 5th string. It is ultimately up to the individual to choose the best way but feel a bit confused as learning either pattern will require considerable practice. I wonder if there are any players out there who have had the same dilemma or experience. Ultimately, the more you know, the more playing options you have but it would be interesting to get other perspectives.

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