Thursday, August 27, 2009

Melodic Minor?

alfonso 3/24/2007 1:57 PM
Don, I know you're an amazing guitarist not only that you have interviewed, produced and played music with some of the worlds greatest jazz guitarists. Regarding the melodic minor scale, can you tell me who in your opinion uses it the most in jazz guitar? As far as guitar history goes can you name just one of the first guitarist who started using the melodic minor in their guitar playing? Last thing is I wish you would do a DVD on the melodic minor, I know you have a CD and a book but I prefer seeing you actually playing the stuff. thank you

Don Mock 4/3/2007 6:43 PM
Great questions Alfonso. First off, it would be great to shoot a dvd on melodic minor ideas. I may end up doing some version of that or right here in an on-line lesson. We're working on that now. The melodic minor is pretty much the preferred "altered" scale in all of improvised music. Just about everyone of my heroes I listened to growing up used the scale in some form. What is interesting is that's it's often hard to know if the player was "thinking" melodic minor or some other scale such as harmonic minor or diminished. You could find three different players to transcribe the same solo and ask them to add their analysis of what scales the player was using and it's likely you would end up with three different views. With chromatics and passing notes thrown in it's sometime difficult to know what the player was actually thinking. I used to copy a lot of George Benson recordings and to me, he used the harmonic minor scale a lot. But I've met players over the years who were convinced that those were melodic minor ideas with passing tones he played. With all that said, there are still players who clearly use melodic minor a fair amount in their improvisations. Modern players like, Mike Stern, Scott Henderson and John Scofield, to name a few, use the scale quite often and sometimes in very unusual places. From the earlier generation, Joe Pass was the king of melodic minor lines. Joe, like a lot of players, often relied on the "up a half step" use of the scale to get the "altered scale" sound. (Ab melodic minor over G7)Hope this helps a bit Alfonso. I hope in the future you join in on one of the on-line classes where I'm sure the melodic minor will be a popular topic. Thanks - Don Mock

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