could anyone tell me an easier way to learn the modes other than running the boxes all day because i get bored so easy with that .... i know that you can use the major scale with displaced roots but i want to be able to improvise them in the middle of a heavy groove or jam scenario, and cant keep focused enough to learn the boxes of all seven modes, because they all start running toghether but i do totally know and understand pentatonics and major scale and im pretty good on my theory for a 17 yr old
Last edited by petrucci_owns_u at Nov 14, 2007,
I would suggest the best way is to first absorb the major scale across the fretboard, not really box positions, but if you prefer them, then sure, they will map the major scale out for you.

Then absorb the mode formulas-
Ionian 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Dorian 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Lydian 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Mixolydian 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Aeolian 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Locrian 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

ok, i think they were right, maybe cross check them somewhere.

NOW, take the modes one by one and jam out across the entire fretboard, starting from a root and altering the major scale patterns you know to give the new mode patterns.
work small areas of the fret board, learning string patterns and then go right down/up to a different area and just learn/feel where the notes are and most of all LEARN THE SOUND.

That is what i have done over the last few months, although i am still on dorian... i dont see the need to move on just yet
I'm not sure how well working "modally" will help you in terms of actual usage of
the major scale system (and a "box" shape isn't a mode BTW).

The single biggest thing to learn at the start is being able to "see" the major scale
as one pattern that spans the entire neck. That gives you the whole collection of
notes in the scale you can use whereever you happen to be.

So how do you get to that point? If all you do is "run boxes" up & down the scale,
you probably never will. All you're doing is connecting things on 1 slice of the neck
at a time, so that's how you'll tend to always see it -- separate boxes. What really
helps is working on patterns that move both vertically and horizontally and even
diagonally (there's a million ways to do this, but I'd suggest triads to start).

Not only will learn some things about the scale this way, but one day it'll just hit you
that you can move around the whole neck quite easily without getting lost. You
won't be limited to only knowing one or two spots.