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Melodic Minor Scale Positions

Before we begin, make sure you've been over the melodic minor scale lesson and understand the core intervals of the scale.

We're now going to expand across the entire fretboard using melodic minor scale positions. This will free up your playing and give you more options for moving between different notes in the scale whichever key you happen to be in.

The 7 melodic minor positions

We learned that the melodic minor scale is made up of 7 intervals like most other scales we'll learn. The process is always the same - lay out the scale's intervals across the low E string and build new, 5 fret-wide box patterns on each degree.

We'll start on the root of F# in this example but remember this pattern is movable depending on the root note.

F# melodic minor scale across the low E string

So, starting with the 1st position, we already know the boxed pattern from the introductory lesson...

1st position melodic minor scale pattern

Now the 2nd position pattern...

melodic minor 2nd position

3rd position, which starts on the minor 3rd. As you can see, this one overlaps the 2nd position considerably so there's not much difference between the two...

melodic minor pattern 3rd position

4th position...

melodic minor scale 4th position

5th position. Notice how the A string root note in this position marks the beginning of the A string boxed pattern we learned in the initial lesson...

5th position pattern for melodic minor

6th position...

6th degree melodic minor pattern

And finally the 7th position...

melodic minor 7th degree position

We can now link them all together to create a large melodic minor scale pattern (remember, we're only in the key of F# for this particular example)...

F# melodic minor across the entire fretboard

When the key changes, and therefore the root note position, the entire pattern moves with it. The important thing is you can gauge the position of these root notes from the individual position patterns you learn. Spend time learning each one by heart before you attempt to link them together.

Also, as well as linking the melodic minor positions together into one large pattern like above, try creating your own larger boxed patterns by linking 2 positions together. This will allow you to use runs and other scale techniques in more economical spaces on the fretboard, especially at higher frets.

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