A Little More Advanced Music Theory

author: ironwolg date: 04/23/2009 category: for beginners
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Let's jump right into the theory. I showed you a pattern for the Major scale in the first lesson, well I'm going to show you the pattern that I use, but that will come a little bit later. Both patterns contain the same notes so don't let that confuse you. The 3 note per string patterns just repeats notes more. Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. "Oh no! Not scales! I thought this was a lesson for soloing and cool shred licks! This is going to be boring!" Well you are going to learn endless shred licks from this lesson, don't worry. But I'm not going to be making them, YOU are. So let's talk about the modes. What are they? You already know what a degree of a scale is, a mode is just a scale started on a degree of the root scale. Now that might sound confusing so I'll put it on a chart and hopefully simplify it. Major Scale 1st Degree: Major Scale(Ionian) 2nd Degree: Dorian 3rd Degree: Phrygian 4th Degree: Lydian 5th Degree: Mixolydian 6th Degree: Minor Scale(Aeolian) 7th Degree: Locrian You're probably wondering about that 6th Degree. Yes, it is the minor scale. The 6th mode of any major scale is the relative minor of that scale. What's a relative minor? It's the minor scale that has the same notes as the major scale. We'll use C Major and A Minor as an example. C Major: C D E F G A B C A Minor: A B C D E F G A To see why one is major and one is minor you can go back to the Whole step Half step pattern. The patterns are different for Major and Minor. Major: WWHWWWH Minor: WHWWHWW Hopefully you can see the similarities. If you can't, try looking at the Minor pattern starting on the third step. To help explain and show how the modes of the Major and Minor scales relate to each other, here's a chart for the minor scale. The relationships should become obvious. Minor Scale 1st Degree: Minor Scale(Aeolian) 2nd Degree: Locrian 3rd Degree: Major Scale(Ionian) 4th Degree: Dorian 5th Degree: Phrygian 6th Degree: Lydian 7th Degree: Mixolydian Now, as you can see, the 3rd degree of the Minor scale will show you the relative Major just like the 6th degree of a Major scale will show you the relative Minor. So now you see how everything relates to each other. We're going to work in the key of F Major today. Why F? Because it starts on the first fret and that's the key I practice all of my scales in. Remember that all of these will work in any key, the patterns won't change unless you use open notes. So let's get to it! Remember, I use the 3 note per string pattern for the first scale and conventional patterns for the rest.
F Major Scale(Ionian)

G Dorian


A Phrygian


Bb Lydian


C Mixolydian


D Minor Scale(Aeolian)


E Locrian

Whew! That was a lot of typing! So anyway, this is how I practice them. You should be able to see where the modes connect to each other. Learn to play them diagonally and linearly. Now let's get to those shred licks. I'm not going to tab anything out. Your eyeballs are probably popping out of their sockets right now. "WHAT? I READ ALL OF THAT FOR NOTHING?" No now calm down! With these modes you can create endless shred licks and I'm going to tell you how. You may have seen licks that use the same notes as these but they don't go in the same order. They're probably ascending or decending in 3s or 4s or maybe even 5s or 6s. The way you do that is play the first 3 notes of the scale or mode, then go back to the 2nd note and play 3 notes from there and just continue the process. Ok fine, I'll tab one out so you can see. We'll use Phrygian just because I like it.
And it continues in that way from there. It may look intimidating to begin with but you'll soon see that these patterns can be found everywhere in music. Use the same process to do the scale decending as well, for some reason, decending has always been easier for me so maybe it would be best for you to try it that way first. I'll tab out the pentatonic scale decending in 3s
That one is very Kirk Hammett sounding. Hopefully now you get the idea of how you can make your own licks. Don't just stick with playing them linearly or just across the neck. Play the modes diagonally. Really get all of these shapes under your fingers and then practice jumping from one to the other. Try to get from Phrygian to Aeolian without playing linearly, do it diagonally! There are endless possibilities. This should give you plenty to practice until my next lesson so until then, keep practicing and keep rocking... Or jazzing or popping, or whatever it is that you do.
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