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The Minor Bebop Scale

One of the most popular sounds in jazz is the minor 7 chord, which we normally associate with the dorian scale. As well as using this common jazz scale, you can also bring a jazz vibe to your m7 chords with the minor bebop scale.





Learning the minor bebop scale allows you to bring a bebop vibe to your m7 soloing ideas, as well as pair up with the dominant bebop scale and the major bebop scale so that you can apply a bebop scale to both the iim7 and V7 chords in a ii-V.

The minor bebop scale is a dorian Scale with a descending chromatic note between the root and the b7,which you can see in the following table:


D Dorian Scale (reversed) D   C B A G F E
1   b7 6 5 4 b3 2
D Minor Bebop (reversed) D C# C B A G F E
1 7 b7 6 5 4 b3 2



This minor bebop scale is directly related to the Dorian Scale, and therefore you can use it to solo over any m7 chord in a jazz standard, including Im7 chords and iim7 chords, two of the most popular.

When first working on this scale in your studies, try putting on a static m7 chord vamp and soloing over that chord with the minor bebop scale. From there, try soloing over tunes such as So What, Milestones, and Maiden Voyage in order to take this scale to a full tune in your solos.

The minor bebop scale works best descending, though with practice you can apply it to your lines both ascending and descending through the scale.


Advantages of the Minor Bebop Scale

  • Adds a sense of tension and release to your m7 soloing ideas.
  • Develops your bebop guitar vocabulary and provides a secondary scale choice over m7 chords when soloing.
  • Provides your ears with a new sound that you will be able to recognize when listening to famous jazz solos, allowing you to quickly take these ideas from the record and into your vocabulary studies.


Minor Bebop Scale Fingerings

Here is the D minor bebop scale on the fretboard for you to work in 12 keys as you take this scale from the theoretical to the practical. There are two fingerings provided, one with the root on the 6th string and one with the root on the 5th string. After you have worked out one or both of these minor bebop scales on the guitar, put on a m7 backing track in any key and use these fingerings to create improvised lines over the backing track.


Listen & Play:

Guitar Fretboard : Guitar Scale : Minor Bebop Scale


Listen & Play:

Guitar Fretboard : Guitar Scale : Minor Bebop Scale 2


Minor Bebop Scale Lines and Phrases

To help you take the minor bebop scale from the technical side of your practicing to the improvisational side of your routine, here are 5 minor bebop scale licks that you can use to solo with this scale over a number of musical situations.

Try working these minor bebop scale licks in 12 keys around the fretboard, at various tempos, as well as apply them to any chord progressions or jazz standards that you are working on as you integrate these phrases into your jazz guitar vocabulary.


Listen & Play:

Minor Bebop Scale Lick 1


Listen & Play:

Minor Bebop Scale Lick 2


Listen & Play:

Minor Bebop Scale Lick 3


Listen & Play:

Minor Bebop Scale Lick 4


Listen & Play:

Minor Bebop Scale Lick 5



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