Achieving That Scott Henderson Style

Apply melodic minor and symmetrical scales to acquire a Scott Henderson style of soloing.

Ultimate Guitar
Here are some tips on getting into the mind of Scott Henderson: For starters: as much as you can convert things to melodic minor... do so....
  • D Dorian >> use D mel min >> Also think of it this way:
  • Dorian >> use mel min from root of chord: (D = D)
  • G7 >> use D mel min (also known as G Lydian Dominant) >> Also think of it this way:
  • Dominant 7 >> use mel min from 5th of chord: (G = D)
  • C#7#5b9 >> use D mel min (also known as C# Superlocrian) >> This is a tritone substitution of G7 >> Also think of it this way:
  • Dom 7 alt (#5, b9, or #9) >> use mel min from half step above root of chord: (C# = D)
  • Cmaj7 (or maj9) >> use A mel min >> This will produce, or imply a Maj7#5 harmony >> Also think of it this way:
  • Maj7 (maj9) >> use mel min from the 6th of the chord: (C = A)


  • For dominant chords: Use mel min from the 4th of the chord: G7 >> use C mel minor
  • For maj7 chords: Use mel min from the 4th of the chord: Cmaj7 >> use F mel minor
  • Another tricksy tool, is the use of diminished and whole tone scales: Use half whole diminished scales for dominant chords: G7 >> use G Ab Bb B Db D E F G ...and whole half dim scales for minor chords: Cmin >> use C D Eb F F# G# A B C
  • Tips for whole tone scales: Use them with Dominant 7 chords, from the root of the chord (implying a #4, #5): G7 >> use G whole tone G A B C# D# F
  • And over minor chords (within Dorian), from the 5th of the chord D min7 >> use A whole tone A B C# D# F G


    Find "like triads" within the framework of ANY of the above and apply them liberally... ...for example:
  • Major Triads within the diminished context: G half-whole dim = G B D --- Bb D F --- Db F Ab --- E G# B
  • Minor Triads within the diminished context: G half-whole dim = G Bb D --- Bb Db F --- Db E Ab --- E G B NOW MIX THEM: G B D > Db E Ab > Bb D F > E G B > Db F Ab > G Bb D > E G# B > Bb Db F Listen to: Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Coltrane... Then: Jeff Beck, Weather Report, Hendrix, Stevie Ray and Michael Landau... Then: Holdsworth, and Scofield. ...oh and find HIS VIDEOs on YouTube! Here's a derivative and parallel breakdown on the MEL MIN modes:


    Modes derived from Melodic Minor: From C:
  • C mel min: C D Eb F G A B
  • D dorian b2: D Eb F G A B C
  • Eb Lydian Augmented: Eb F G A B C D
  • F Lydian dominant: F G A B C D Eb
  • G Mixolydian b6: G A B C D Eb F
  • A Locrian #2: A B C D Eb F G
  • B Diminished-whole-tone (Superlocrian): B C D Eb F G A


    CHORD 7: mel min, from b3 CHORD 7: dor b2, from 4 CHORD 7: lyd aug, from b5 CHORD 7: lyd dom, from b6 CHORD 7: mix b6, from b7 CHORD 7: loc#2, from root CHORD 7: superloc, from 2 CHORD 7 (alt): mel min, from b2 CHORD 7 (alt): dor b2, from #2 CHORD 7 (alt): lyd aug, from 3 CHORD 7 (alt): lyd dom, from #4 CHORD 7 (alt): mix b6, from #5 CHORD 7 (alt): loc#2, from b7 CHORD 7 (alt): superloc, from root CHORD min/maj7: mel min, from root CHORD min/maj7: dor b2, from 2 CHORD min/maj7: lyd aug, from b3 CHORD min/maj7: lyd dom, from 4 CHORD min/maj7: mix b6, from 5 CHORD min/maj7: loc#2, from 6 CHORD min/maj7: superloc, from 7 CHORD 7#4: mel min, from 5 CHORD 7#4: dor b2, from 6 CHORD 7#4: lyd aug, from b7 CHORD 7#4: lyd dom, from root CHORD 7#4: mix b6, from 2 CHORD 7#4: loc#2, from 3 CHORD 7#4: superloc, from #4 CHORD maj7#5: mel min, from 6 CHORD maj7#5: dor b2, from 7 CHORD maj7#5: lyd aug, from root CHORD maj7#5: lyd dom, from 2 CHORD maj7#5: mix b6, from 3 CHORD maj7#5: loc#2, from #4 CHORD maj7#5: superloc, from #5 For example: on C7, play Eb mel min on C7(alt), play Db mel min on Cmin/maj7, play C mel min on C7#4, play G mel min CMaj7#5, play A mel min Hope this helps, Scott
  • 10 comments sorted by best / new / date

      just like a guitar teacher, overexaggerating rudimentary theory with exotic scales and jargon to confuse people and draw them into their magical practices.
      Yeah... perhaps all of this is obvious to you, but I for instance, being little more than another experimental metal idiot, had to read the thing twice to understand it all anyway, good article, thanks
      Not bad. But a little bit lacking. I,being an experienced guitarist have to guess some stuff from this lessons.
      terrible article actually. sorry- but this is more just a chart than anything else. i actually do understand the theory behind what you are explaining & still think this was very poorly done! i can only imagine someone without my musical background trying to decipher this.
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      Rock Prodigy
      I like the detailed list of options. It's a cool "Go-to" thing, but I think it would help to add a couple of cool Scott Henderson's melodic minor lines an encourage people to use them over the different chords and resolve them over different chord progressions. Scott is huge in learning licks. He always works on learning phrases from different players and he is a master on using them in different harmonic contexts.