I've been reading and searching through the forum to try and understand modes. I think I have it figured out with the approach I've used to applying theory on the guitar. Here's how I see it and I'd appreciate if anyone can confirm for me or correct me:

I know the major scale pattern over the entire neck (I've read this is sometimes called the diatomic pattern - maybe wrong name), I can find the notes on the fretboard (getting better at this each day). When the key is a major key, I find the root note, and slide the neck wide major pattern I've memorized accordingly. If its a minor key, I use the circle of fifths to figure out the relative minor and I can use the same scale pattern, starting 4 frets lower than the relative major key's root note. Playing the same neck wide pattern but starting on the relative minor gives the minor tone to the scale.

Are modes the same thing? Can I slide the neck wide pattern that I've memorized to start on the appropriate start note of the mode and be in the proper place? Or, is there an entirely new pattern to memorize for the modes shapes. I can't see how this would be since the same notes in the main key are in each mode.

I really appreciate any help you can give me.
Moved to MT

Modes aren't anything to do with what shape you use, where you start playing or what order you play things in.

The mode shapes are exactly the same as the relative major scale, unless you have a piece of music that manages to establish a tonal centre away from the major or relative minor tonic you're not going to be dealing with modes.
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There's a much bigger difference between major & minor than just sliding your fingers back 4 frets & playing the same pattern. Keys are determined by the resolutions of tension within the chord progression. Major keys resolve to major chords & minor keys resolve to minor chords. Modes, by definition, are scales built off of a parent scale treating a note other than the 1 or 6 as tonic. This definition however does not do much to demonstrate they're proper use.

In order for music to be considered modal then your progression has yo make use of the intervals of the mode & resolve to a note other than the major/ minor tonic. This most often accomplished using a vamp or static harmony or no accompaniment at all. For this reason modes are considered by some, including myself, to be nothing more than a melodic device to use over simple or ambiguous progressions.

The problem with using modes is that as your progressions get more complex then modes become more unwielding & it's much easier to just treat your progression as another key, but with accidentals.that is unless you're playing modal jazz with rapidly changing complex chords then you would basically treat every chord as the one chord & use chord tones which could be said to correspond to a particular mode (this is called Chord scale theory & I'm no expert on it so anyone feel free to correct me.)

Gotta head to work now so I'll correct any blatant errors later but I hope this helps before the shit storming begins.
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no new patterns, you're correct as far as finding the scale/mode notes on the neck go.

*obligatory side note about how modes depend on context*
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In a very layman level, yes. But at that point, your improvs would just be random noodling everywhere. Modes are more about how the different notes group relate to eachother. (just to be safe, I'm going to put this as an opinion)
Last edited by DreamGate at Aug 12, 2013,
4 frets lower will have you playing a different key or a constant V chord flavouring... just saying