Here’s the Melodic Minor scale in F in just three 3NPS patterns:
Assuming that most chords are either major, minor or dominant, the Melodic Minor scale gives us various options for soloing over these types of chords. There are two great options for improvising over dominant chords here, simply play the Melodic Minor scale that starts on the fourth or fifth note of the scale.
Dominant Chord Options
For example, if we’re playing over an F7 chord, or any other dominant chord, you can play either Bb Melodic Minor or C Melodic Minor, making sure to resolve your phrases and runs to F. These might sound a little ‘out’ at first but persevere and you’ll start to hear some interesting results.
Minor Chord Options
If you’re playing over a minor-type chord, there’s a tasty option you can use by playing the Melodic Minor scale that starts on second note of the scale. So, in this case we’d play G Melodic Minor over an F Minor-type chord. You can always play F Melodic Minor itself over any minor chord, although be aware that any chord containing a b7 will clash with the natural 7 in the Melodic Minor scale, unless you want to create some wicked dissonance.
Major Chord Options
There’s also a cool-sounding option for soloing over major-type chords, simply play the Melodic Minor scale starting on the third note of the scale. In this case, we’d play Ab Melodic Minor over F Major.
Here’s a quick visual reference for all the above options:
What am I Really Doing?
For those of you that just have to know the theory behind this, what you’re really doing is using the modes of the Melodic Minor scale! Here’s how it breaks down in F:
Chord: F Dominant – Scales: Play Bb Melodic Minor (F Lydian Dominant). Play C Melodic Minor (F Mixolydian b6).
Chord: F Minor – Scales: Play F Melodic Minor itself. Play G Melodic Minor (F Dorian b2).
Chord: F Major – Scale: Play Ab Melodic Minor (F Lydian Augmented)
If you got a bit lost with this, go back and check out parts 1 and 2 as we’re using the exact same logic. If you want to get deeper into the Melodic Minor scale, along with its arpeggios and modes, check out Hacking the CAGED System – Book 2.