The Altered Scale

Welcome back! In this lesson we will be working with the Altered scale and I will show you a line that I constructed that is based right from the scale.

I have covered this scale in a earlier lesson, I won't go in too much detail. If you are not sure what the Altered scale is, it is the 7th mode of the Melodic Minor scale and It is also known as the Super Locrian scale. The formula is (1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, b7) and it can also be referred as (1, b9, #9, 3, b5, #5, b7). I notated just the first octave of the A altered scale in Example 1.

MP3 - The Altered Scale - Example 1

Example 2 is a line is based off the A Altered scale (A, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G). There are a few passing notes to add some outside tones. In the middle of the 5th bar, there is a 4 note pattern that is from the G whole tone scale that moves down a whole step. You may notice that the Altered scale and the whole tone scale share some of the same notes.

I play this line with strict 16th notes, but try adding your own rhythmic imagination to it. I use alternate picking for the whole thing and it would be a great idea to practice it with a metronome.

MP3 - The Altered Scale - Example 2

This idea will work in many contexts. At first try playing this over an A Dom 7 #5 chord or just an A7 to get the sound of this in your ears.


Most importantly: make up your own lines! I use this type of ideas in my own music. Be sure to pick up my new album, “The Fire Within” and visit for more information, to purchase CDs and merchandise.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within