Melody Line Fills Around Any Chord (3 RIFFS w/TAB)

Playing melody line fills around chords can be done in nearly any style of music. It's not just fun and easy to do, but it also sounds fantastic. When melody fills are added around chords they help a phrase to smoothly connect across the entire line. Plus, they produce a solid flow to the riff that will draw in the listener...

In this lesson, I’ll be working through ideas that relate to composing, "Melody Line Fills for Any Chord."

Watch the Video:

When a progression ties together the chords that are moving one measure to the next in a way that either an upper melody line, or a lower bass-note run can operate as a way to smoothly connect the parts, we generally call this, "melody fill."

Creating these fills is fairly easy if you stick with the notes of the key signature and play phrases that focus on targeting into each chord’s root.

In our first example, let’s take a riff that is moving from an “F Major” chord over to a “C Major.” We can use a melody fill built from scale tones on the upper range of the guitar strings to more smoothly connect each chord.

Let me demonstrate an example of that for you right now…

(1). Upper Range Melody Fill:

When a melody fill occurs lower in the register, we tend to refer to that as a “bass-line” melody. The cool thing about this style of connecting line is that it doesn’t necessarily have to follow the key signature.

Just like upper register lines, the low register lines can also be re-used from chord to chord. In example 2, a Bass-Line Melody Fill is being used to connect a “C Major” chord to a “G Major” chord.

Notice how the bass-line part gets re-used by essentially leading into each chord's root using a chromatic line.

(2). Lower Range Melody Fill:

Both of the examples we've done so far are pretty basic and they operate entirely out of open position chord types.

However, there’s another really cool effect I also want to cover that uses our favorite guitar scale - the pentatonic. The Pentatonic approach can function anywhere along the entire neck using movable Pentatonic shapes.

If you're unfamiliar with this concept, watch my lesson titled, "Guitars Most Important Pattern - The "Frying Pan"

When the Pentatonic scale is laid out on the guitar, the geometry that’s created by the neck pattern (of a major or minor pentatonic scale), is one that functions smoothly along the neck in a very uniform way.

This makes Pentatonic an ideal scale choice when we want to connect chords or even produce a sense of motion when one single chord is being applied within a riff.

There’s one particular style where this happens in abundance and that is funk. So, in wrapping this up, I’ve got a funk riff to leave you with that is based upon the dominant 7th augmented chord rooted off of an “E.” The riff is notated below...

(3). Pentatonic Connection Melody Fill:

I hope that this lesson on melody line fills motivates you to use scales and chords differently when you play your riffs. That was my main goal with making this lesson. These fills are a lot of fun and as you can tell, they sound awesome.

There are a lot of subjects and “topics of study,” to learn about when it comes to scales, chords, phrasing and music theory... If you’d like to learn more about how to really zero in on specific areas of your guitar playing join my web-site as a free member and start taking a look at my “Guitar” Courses.

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