Improvising in Different Modes, Made Easier

author: vels7545 date: 05/28/2014 category: guitar techniques
rating: 5.8 / votes: 5 
Improvising in Different Modes, Made Easier
Hey, like many others, I've always struggled with improvising without using the minor pentatonic scale. I just wanted to share my solution to this problem, this may not work for everyone but it definitely helped me a lot. 

The problem I always had with diatonic scale improvising, is that the right notes to land on aren't at comfortable places, I always ended my licks on the frets which are comfortable with the first position of the minor pentatonic scale. So here's my solution to this problem.

I'm not going to explain all theory because that's been done almost too many times but here we go.

I'm going to show the variations of the C major diatonic scale.

These shapes are meant to start with when improvising, as soon as you get comfortable enough, you can play different shapes with the same notes around the neck.

C Ionian mode (CDEFGAB)

I found out that when you use the second position of the minor pentatonic scale, you can very easily use the licks you're used to do over a minor chord progression, using the first position of the minor pentatonic scale. The shape looks like this:
e |----------8--------------10-----
b |----------8--------------10-----
g |-----7---------------9----------
d |-----7-------------------10-----
a |-----7-------------------10-----
E |----------8--------------10-----

D Dorian mode (DEFGABC)

Since the Dorian mode is a variation on the minor scale, we're going to be using the first position of the minor pentatonic scale. In order to make this shape sound Dorian, we're going to add the Dorian note, which is B in the D Dorian scale. The shape looks like this:
e |----------10-----------------13---
b |----------10---------B12---13-----
g |----------10-----------12---------
d |---B9----10-----------12----------
a |----------10-----------12---------
E |----------10-----------------13---

E Phrygian mode (EFGABCD)

The Phrygian scale is also a variation of the minor scale so this one will be like the first shape too. In order to make this scale sound Phrygian, we're going to add the Phrygian note, which is F in the E Phrygian scale. The shape looks like this:
e |-----12---F13---–-----------15-----
b |-----12------–----------------15---
g |-----12---------–---14-------------
d |-----12-------–-----14-----F15-----
a |-----12-----–-------14-------------
E |-----12---F13–--------------15-----

F Lydian mode (FGABCDE)

The Lydian scale is a variation of the major scale so here, we're going to be using the second position again. If we want to make this shape sound Lydian, we have to add the Lydian note, which is B in this case. The shape looks like this:
e |--------------13-------------15--
b |----B12-----13-------–----15-----
g |------12--------–--14------------
d |------12---------------------15--
a |------12-------–-B14------15-----
E |--------------13-------------15--

G Mixolydian mode (GABCDEF)

The Mixolydian scale is a variation of the major scale again so the Mixolydian scale will have the second position. The Mixolydian not here is F. The shape looks like this:
e |------------15-------------17-----------
b |------------15-------------17-----18----
g |-----14------------16-------------------
d |-----14----15-------------17------------
a |-----14--------------------17-----------
E |------------15-------------17-----------

A Aeolian mode (ABCDEFG)

The Aeolian scale, or the minor scale, has no extra notes you have to had to make it sound Aeolian. This one's just the regular first position. It looks like this:
e |-----5------------------8-----
b |-----5------------------8-----
g |-----5------------7-----------
d |-----5------------7-----------
a |-----5------------7-----------
E |-----5------------------8-----

B Locrian mode (BCDEFG)

The Locrian scale is different from the others, it's not related to a major or minor scale. It's the diminished scale. When I play Locrian, I always use the following scale:
e |-----7--------------------10-----
b |-----------8--------------10-----
g |-----7--------------------10-----
d |-----7------------9--------------
a |-----------8--------------10-----
E |-----7--------------------10-----
Those were the shapes, let say, if you want to do D Mixolydian, you're going to use the exact same shape but you move it so the first note would be a D, etc.

I hope you found this lesson useful, if not, there are plenty of other lessons you can checkout. This is my first lesson so I'm sorry if I've made mistakes here and there.

Bye!
Comments
Your captcha is incorrect