#1
Okay, so I'm learning the major and minor scales all over the fretboard. I'm still having problems with modes though. I bought a guitar grimoire, and in it there are some charts and stuff about how to find compatible modes for what key you're in, and stuff like that. But...I'm still confused. I have the major scale memorized everywhere, and I think I'm getting the hang of it...but I don't know.

For example:

F Major

According to the guitar grimoire, it has seven different positions before it goes up an octave. So, if the second position of the F Major scale starts on the F# note, what's the deal with it? Is it also a pattern of the E Dorian mode? I feel like I'm really close to figuring it out, but I'm teaching myself and I'm having such a bitch of a time trying to piece it all together myself.

And if this is way off, then I may be misunderstanding the charts that are in the Guitar Grimoire, but basically I understand them to mean that each different position of a given scale is also the same as another pattern, but just called something else.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
#2
Last edited by tenfold at Dec 12, 2009,
#3
If you're in Fmaj, you won't see an F#. End of story. To find the Dorian mode, play the notes of the Fmaj scale starting on a G. To find the third mode, which is Phrygian, simply play the notes of Fmaj starting on an A. And so on.
#4
Quote by LordTolly
Okay, so I'm learning the major and minor scales all over the fretboard. I'm still having problems with modes though. I bought a guitar grimoire, and in it there are some charts and stuff about how to find compatible modes for what key you're in, and stuff like that. But...I'm still confused. I have the major scale memorized everywhere, and I think I'm getting the hang of it...but I don't know.

For example:

F Major

According to the guitar grimoire, it has seven different positions before it goes up an octave. So, if the second position of the F Major scale starts on the F# note, what's the deal with it? Is it also a pattern of the E Dorian mode? I feel like I'm really close to figuring it out, but I'm teaching myself and I'm having such a bitch of a time trying to piece it all together myself.

And if this is way off, then I may be misunderstanding the charts that are in the Guitar Grimoire, but basically I understand them to mean that each different position of a given scale is also the same as another pattern, but just called something else.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

To be honest the Guitar Grimoire is next to useless as a teaching aid. the F major scale doesn't "have seven different positions", it has as many or as few positions as you want. That's just the way the people that wrote the book decided to break down the pattern but in reality it doesn't matter.

The F major scale is these notes - F G A Bb C D E ...anywhere you can play those notes you can use the F major scale. If you map out every occurence of those notes on the fretboard you'll get a big repeating pattern which you can then break down into smaller patterns to make it easier to learn them. How you do that it is pretty moot though, you could break it into 7 sections if you wanted to, you could do 5, you could do 2! It all boils down to what's going to work best for you, but learning the scale in isolation isn't as constructive as learning it in conjunction with the chords you can use it over. Every major scale has associated chords that are derived from it by harmonising the major scale (there's plenty of lessons on this in the Lessons section) - if you map out all those chords on the fretboard they'll form the pattern of that major scale. Most of the time you'll be playing over chords, so if you already know the chords you're playing over that gives you a massive heads up as to which notes you can use over them.

You don't even need to specifically learn the patterns to learn the scale, if you just learn the notes on the fretboard and work out the scale then you'd discover those patterns by default without even trying. However, you'll find it a lot easier if you combine things, so learn patterns but also make sure you're learning what's behind the pattern - the notes and intervals.

Modes have absolutely nothing to do with shapes or positions - modes occur when you're using the notes of a major scale over a backing that changes the tonal centre ie stops it resolving to the tonic. So you've figured that out right, the patterns for any mode will be exactly the same as the patterns for its relative major scale. Therefore there's little point busting a gut learning the same thing 7 times over. What changes is the context in which those notes are being used.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Dec 13, 2009,
#5
This is intended to be as short as possible. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to explain as much or as little as desired.

I have studied jazz guitar on and off for 10 years and I have a decent understanding of theory. The big problem I find is that it is taught in a very piano-centric way. On a guitar, you know one chord shape, you can move it up or down the fretboard to play the same type of chord in another key. On a piano the asymmetric black and white key arrangement does not let you move chords in the same way. You can't slide a chord shape along a keyboard because of the black and white keys in an asymmetric arrangement complicates the matter.

On the guitar, it is much simpler - if it is taught with the guitar in mind. If you understand theory in one key - you understand theory in all keys since you can just slide up and down the fretboard and everything works exactly the same in the new key in the new fret position.

Take the usual 6 string E bar chord shape. You can move the same shape up all 12 frets and play the same chord in all 12 keys. Nothing changes other than which fret you bar the chord.


5th fret A major bar chord

G----------- --6---
D----------- -----7
A----------- -----7
E------ ----5-------

This is a major chord shape, and the note on the 5th fret of the E string is A
So, you have an A major bar chord.

Bar it on the 2nd fret and you have F# chord
bar it on the 8th fret and you have C chord
bar it on the 11th fret and you have D# chord

Scales and chords are totally interrelated which is why you learn a scale pattern and you can also move it up and down the fretboard


Major scale pattern:

G--------------
D----2---4-5---
A----2--3--5---
E------ -3--5---

This starts on the 3rd fret of the E string, which is G, so it is a G major scale pattern.

Slide up to the 5th fret and play the same pattern you just played an A major scale. Nothing changed other than the root note of the scale. Play the same finger pattern for the scale, use the same shape for the chord.

Learn something anywhere and you can slide up or down the fretboard to the key you are using but nothing else (the patterns or the shapes) change.

Almost sounds too easy. Yeah there's a catch, but I think it's best to forget about it for the moment and just stick with moving shapes and patterns up and down the fretboard - which we all know how to do.

Let's look at the generic major scale pattern again, something like (excuse my ACSII art)

G--------------
D--- O---O-O-
A----O O---O--
E---- --O---O--


Knowing this pattern is the key to understanding music theory on guitar.

Why?

Because the everything in music theory is based on this major scale. Everything is named in relation to the 8 notes of the major scale (do re me, fa, so, la, te do) and the 8th note is the same as the 1st note one octave higher.

For a moment, let's not think about the names of the notes except the root note. But do keep the major scale pattern in mind.

MODES
Keep that major scale pattern and the root note in mind. Let's try F major, the 1st fret on the E string.

So slide down to the first fret and play the major scale pattern there (you will use the open A string and open D string as notes in the pattern - again excuse the ASCII art)

something like this:
G---------------
D----o--- 2-3--
A----o--1---3--
E------ -1--3---

Guess what? you just played the first mode, the ionian mode, which is the major scale.

Remember these patterns repeat after the octave (which is that 3rd fret on the D string)
The octave (3rd fret) becomes the new root note and the patten shape repeats from this point, which can be played like (again scuse the art)
I use an (F) to show where the root and (f) octave are)

G---------2----3------5
D----o--- 2----3(f)---5
A----o--1------3--
E------ 1(F)-- 3---

That 3rd fret on the E string is the second note of the major scale (which is G or 're' as in 'do re')

Why don't you play the same pattern starting from this second note and go to the second note past the octave (the 5th fret on the D string). Why? Because this is the Dorian mode.

The modes are just the notes of the major scale played from a different starting point.
The dorian mode is the second or II mode and starts from the second note of the major scale. The phrygian or third or III mode starts from the 3rd note of the major scale and goes to the 3rd note past the octave.

The mixolydian or fifth or V mode starts from the 5th note of the major scale and goes to the 5th note past the octave. So in F, the 5th note (refer to the pattern and count) is C 3rd fret on the A string. So start from C and play the same F major scale pattern up 5 notes past the f octave.

Does this pattern look vaguely familiar?)\

G---------2----3------5
D-------- 2----3(f)---5
A-------------- 3------5
E-----------------------

This is your mixolydian mode scale. It is the F major scale played from the 5th note (C) up one octave to C using the same F major scale pattern.

That's all modes are. The notes of the major scale played from a different starting point.

I ionian - play the major scale
II dorain - play the major scale from the second note up to the second note up an octave
III phryhian "" 3rd note
IV lydian "" 4th note
V mixolydian 5th note
VI aoelan 6th note
VII locrian 7th note

Does it make sense why keep the major scale pattern and root note in mind now?

Does this make sense?

Don't worry about making it more complicated for now. When that time comes, you should have no problem understanding.

Feel free to ask any questions or clarification, I realize this is as short as I can trim it down.

Mike "fx303" lee
#6
One thing I forgot to mention. Remember the bit about sliding shapes and patterns up and down the fretboard. This works the same way. Now you can play any mode in any key by moving up to the desired fret and playing the notes of the major scale pattern that correspond to the mode.
#7
Quote by LordTolly
Okay, so I'm learning the major and minor scales all over the fretboard. I'm still having problems with modes though.
Modes won't make sense until you understand the major scale - learn how the major scale is constructed, learn how to harmonise it, and learn how its related to the natural minor. Then think about learning modes if you want to.
#8
Yes, the major scale is important since everything else relates to it in some way.
It is one of those things you have to memorize but here is a

Quick and Dirty reference how to build a major scale

Let's build the F major scale on the E string.
G-------------------
D-------------------
A--------------------
E----1--3--5 6--8--10---12--13

(Play it, sounds like do, re, me. fa, so, la, te ,do.)

the notes and each note's position in the scale F being 1 or root.
F G A Bb C D E F
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (octave)

From the first to the second note
G------------------
D------------------
A------------------
E----1--3---------
F G
2 frets

From the second to the third note
G------------------
D------------------
A------------------
E----3--5---------
G A
2 frets


From the third to the fourth note
G------------------
D------------------
A------------------
E----5--6---------
A Bb
1 fret

Pause a moment a look back

The first 4 notes of the major scale are made by

1st note, up 2 frets,
2nd note, up 2 frets,
3rd note, up 1 fret,
4th note

A sequence of 2 2 1 (frets between notes)

=============================
from the 4th note to the 5th note go up 2 frets
=============================
The first 4 notes of the major scale are made by

1st note, up 2 frets,
2nd note, up 2 frets,
3rd note, up 1 fret,
4th note

From the 4th note go up 2 frets to the 5th note

The last 4 notes of the major scale are made by
5th note, up 2 frets,
6th note, up 2 frets,
7th note, up 1 fret,
8th note

Notice how there are two exact repeating sequences of 2 2 1 (frets between notes) for the first four notes of the major scale then go up 2 frets form the fourth note to the fifth note, then repeat this sequence for the fifth note to the eighth note. The sequence of 2 2 1 repeats from the fifth note of the scale.

This is how to build the major scale from any fret

starting with the root note,

move up the 2 2 1 sequence to play the first four notes of the scale

move up 2 frets to get from the fourth note to the fifth note of the scale

move up the 2 2 1 sequence to play the fifth note to the eighth note of the scale


That's all on one string, thrilling.


Crossing Strings

The standard tuning makes it simple to cross strings.

Let's look at an F power chord, also known as an F5 chord because you play the first and fifth note of the F major scale together. That is F and C together make an F5 power chord.

tabbed out
G-----------------
D------------------
A----------3------
E----1------------
F C

So, if we shift one string over and up two frets, we find the fifth note of the major scale.
Since the fifth note is 2 frets past the fourth note, the fourth note is the one right across the next string. And we all know where the octave is: 2 strings over, 2 frets up

Let's look at the relationship again: The I is the first note of the major scale, The IV is the fourth note and is one string over, the V is the fifth note and one string over up two frets. the eighth note or VIII or octave is 2 strings over and 2 frets up

G-------|-- |-----
D-------|---|VIII-
A----IV-|---|V---
E----I---|-- |---

The Roman numerals refer to the note positions in the major scale relative to the strings and frets.

Maybe this looks a bit familiar?

By knowing this I IV V VIII relationship on the fretboard, we can construct the major scale.

From the I or first note go up 2 frets
second note, up 2 frets
third note up 1 fret
4th note


Tab Note positions in scale
G--------------------
D---------------------
A----------------------
E---- 1----3------5--6 I II III IV


Now, go back to the first note and shift over one string
go up 2 frets to the fifth note like on a power chord

From the 5th note, repeat the 2 2 1 sequence

Tab Note positions in scale
G------------------------
D------------------------
A----------3----5----7-8- V VI VII VIII (octave)
E---- 1-----------------

There's your F major scale and how to build it.


Once again

starting at the root note,

A. go up the 2 2 1 sequence for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th notes
B cross over a string using the F power chord shape (over one string up 2 frets)
C. go up the 2 2 1 sequence again for the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th notes

But what about the other major scale patterns?
They all work the same way, this example is simplified using only two strings to give a basic understanding on how to build the scale.

If it makes any sense or there is interest I can go into details.