Easy Guide To Modes

author: jakobcollins141 date: 03/15/2013 category: scales
rating: 6.5 / votes: 11 
Easy Guide To Modes
Hi Guys! This is my first lesson on UG so hopefully it won't be too awful and I'll try my best to be interesting and informative. Right, so you want to learn your modes, yeah? And you want to be able to play them all over the neck in every position possible? Well, here's the exercise I use to practice them; it's helped me a lot and hopefully it will help you too! Firstly, lets pick a key; we'll choose G Major as that's a nice easy key that hopefully most of you will know; but in case not, here are the 7 modes of G Major for you: Ionian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------5-7-8------------------------------------|
G|-------------------4-5-7------------------------------------------|
D|-------------4-5-7------------------------------------------------|
A|-------3-5-7------------------------------------------------------|
E|-3-5-7------------------------------------------------------------|
Dorian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------7-8-9------------------------------------|
G|-------------------5-7-9------------------------------------------|
D|-------------5-7-9------------------------------------------------|
A|-------5-7-9------------------------------------------------------|
E|-5-7-8------------------------------------------------------------|
Phrygian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------8-10-12------------------------------|
G|----------------------7-9-11--------------------------------------|
D|---------------7-9-10---------------------------------------------|
A|--------7-9-10----------------------------------------------------|
E|-7-8-10-----------------------------------------------------------|
Lydian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------10-12-13-------------------------|
G|-------------------------9-11-12----------------------------------|
D|-----------------9-10-12------------------------------------------|
A|---------9-10-12--------------------------------------------------|
E|-8-10-12----------------------------------------------------------|
Mixolydian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------12-13-15---------------------|
G|----------------------------11-12-14------------------------------|
D|-------------------10-12-14---------------------------------------|
A|----------10-12-14------------------------------------------------|
E|-10-12-14---------------------------------------------------------|
Aeolian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------12-15-17---------------------|
G|----------------------------12-14-16------------------------------|
D|-------------------12-14-16---------------------------------------|
A|----------12-14-15------------------------------------------------|
E|-12-14-15---------------------------------------------------------|
Locrian
e|------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------15-17-19---------------------|
G|----------------------------14-16-17------------------------------|
D|-------------------14-16-17---------------------------------------|
A|----------14-15-17------------------------------------------------|
E|-14-15-17---------------------------------------------------------|
Okay so there are your 7 modes (obviously there are different fingerings for these; this is just how I play it). Now what you want to do with these is string them all together as a run up and down the neck. For example, you start on Ionian, play through to fret 8 on the B string, then you move up to fret 10 (into Dorian) and play down to the bottom note of Dorian. You can practice with just these two modes at first, which would look like this:
e|--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------5-7-8-10-8-7-------------------------------------|
G|-------------------4-5-7--------------9-7-5-------------------------------|
D|-------------4-5-7--------------------------9-7-5-------------------------|
A|-------3-5-7--------------------------------------9-7-5-------------3-5-7-|
E|-3-5-7--------------------------------------------------8-7-5-3-5-7-------|
...and so on; so you can play this as a continuous snake (I recommend that you start VERY slowly using a metronome then gradually speed up. Once you have gotten these two modes to a good standard you can add on Phrygian, the Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and finally Locrian, and play them all together; your finished snake looking like this:
e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|-------------------------5-7-8-10-8-7------------------------------------
G|-------------------4-5-7--------------9-7-5------------------------------
D|-------------4-5-7--------------------------9-7-5------------------------
A|-------3-5-7--------------------------------------9-7-5---------------9--
E|-3-5-7--------------------------------------------------8-7-5-8-10-12----

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|-----------------------10-12-13-15-13-12---------------------------------
G|---------------9-11-12-------------------14-12-11------------------------
D|-------9-10-12------------------------------------14-12-10---------------
A|-10-12-----------------------------------------------------14-12-10------
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------14-12

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|----------------------------------------12-15-17-19-17-15----------------
G|-------------------------------12-14-16-------------------17-16-14-------
D|----------------------12-14-16-------------------------------------17-16-
A|-------------12-14-15----------------------------------------------------
E|-10-12-14-15-------------------------------------------------------------

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|----------------------------------------------------------12-15-17-15-13-
G|-------------------------------------------------12-14-16----------------
D|-14-------------------------------------12-14-16-------------------------
A|----17-15-14-------------------12-14-15----------------------------------
E|-------------17-15-14-12-14-15-------------------------------------------

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|-12----------------------------------------------------------------------
G|----14-12-11----------------------------------------------------9-11-12--
D|-------------14-12-10-----------------------------------9-10-12----------
A|----------------------14-12-10------------------9-10-12------------------
E|-------------------------------14-12-10-8-10-12--------------------------

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|-10-12-13-10-8-7-------------------------------------------------5-7-8---
G|-----------------9-7-5-------------------------------------4-5-7---------
D|-----------------------9-7-5-------------------------4-5-7---------------
A|-----------------------------9-7-5-------------3-5-7---------------------
E|-----------------------------------8-7-5-3-5-7---------------------------
(I hope I didn't make any mistakes in that, but if I did they should only be minor and you can probably figure out the correct fret to play) So there you have it. Again, like the first example of the two mode snake, you can play this pattern INDEFINITELY, so not only is it a great way to practice your modes, but it is also a great exercise to practice your speed, finger strength, accuracy, flexibility, and endurance! Also, this can be applied to ANY scale, for example, in your pentatonics, you can use this method to snake across all of the positions. It really is one of the most useful exercises I know! So, that's the end of my first lesson, I hope you found it useful and enjoyed it, and I hope to do many more in the future! Please feel free to leave your opinions and any constructive criticism in the comments, and I'll also take into account any suggestions for lessons to do in the future.
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