10 Minute Daily Shred Workout

Spend 10 minutes a day warming up with these exercises, and learn some modes at the same time.

Ultimate Guitar
I found that by assigning each mode shape a different technique, it was easier for me to remember them all individually.

The Exercises

Starting at a slow pace, practice the first exercise (Ionian, alternative picking) until you can play it cleanly, accurately and without referring to the written tab.

When you are happy with this, continue at the same slow speed, but start to work on the second exercise (Dorian, economy picking). When you can play both of these exercises cleanly, accurately and without referring to the written tab continue to play the first two exercises daily, but add the third exercise to your routine also.

As you grow comfortable with each exercise, add the next one into your daily routine. When you can play all the exercises cleanly, then it's time to start working on your speed, building up in small, almost unnoticeable steps weekly, with an emphasis on clean, clear playing.

Using a metronome will be a huge help throughout these exercises.

With the addition of the sweep picking and string skipping exercises I have added at the end, at 70bpm, these exercises will take just 10 minutes to play.

The Theory

All these exercises use the scale of C played in different positions on the guitar neck.

To play a certain mode over the chord of C, take your chosen mode shape as shown below with it's designated technique (e.g. Dorian - economy picking) but move the whole shape to start with the note C, 8th fret.

To play the Aeolian mode over the chord of C, play the Aeolian (trill) shape as shown below but move the whole shape to start with the note C, 8th fret.

To play C Phrygian, play the Phrygian (legato) shape as shown below but start with the note C, 8th fret, etc etc...

This works for all the shapes, so if somebody is strumming the chord of A and wants you to solo in A Lydian over this, play the Lydian (tapping) mode shape as shown below, but move the whole shape to start with the note A, 5th fret or 17th fret.

If somebody is strumming an F chord and wants you to solo in the Locrian mode over this, play the Locrian (fingerpicking) shape as shown below, but start with the F note on the 1st or 11th fret.

If they then move to the Bb chord, stick to the same Locrian mode shape, but move the whole shape to start with a Bb, 6th fret.

Guitar Pro version is available here.

3/4 time
Standard tuning


 h - hammer on/pull off
+ - tapping
= - tremolo picking
t - trill
V - pick stroke up
n - pick stroke down

C Ionian, alternative picking

     n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V
E ||----------------------------------------------10-12-13---|
B ||-------------------------------------10-12-13------------|
G ||o---------------------------9--10-12---------------------|
D ||o------------------9--10-12------------------------------|
A ||----------8--10-12---------------------------------------|
E ||-8--10-12------------------------------------------------|
  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V  n  V
-----------------------------------------------12-10-8---|| X12

D Dorian, economy picking

 n  V  n  n  V  n  n  V  n  n  V  n  n  V  n  n  V  n
  V  n  V  V  n  V  V  n  V  V  n  V  V  n  V  V  n  V
-----------------------------------------------13-12-10--|| X12

E Phrygian, legato

-----------------------------------------------15p13p12--|| x12

F Lydian, tapping

(hammer on the first note of each string, no picking)

           +           +           +           +          +           +
  +        +        +        +        +        +
-----------------------------------------------17p15p13--|| x12

G Mixolydian, tremolo picking

 =  =  =  =  =  =       =  =  =  =  =  =       =  =  =  =  =  =
  =  =  =  =  =  =       =  =  =  =  =  =       =  =  =  =  =  =
----------------------|----------------------|-----------7--5--3---|| x4

A Aeolian, trill

----------------------|----------------------|-----------8t-7t-5t--|| x4

B Locrian, finger picking

 p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m 
  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m  p  i  m
-----------------------------------------------10-8--7---|| x12

Sweep picking

 n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n
  V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V
  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n
  V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V
  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n
  V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V
  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n
  V     V  V  V  V  n  n  n  n  n     V     V  V  V  V
---------------------------------------------------------|| x3

Pentatonic sweep

 n     n     n     n     n     n     V     V     V
  V     V     V     n     n     n     n     n     n
  V     V     V     V     V     V     n     n     n
  n     n     n     V     V     V     V     V     V
--------------------------------------------------8p-5---|| x6

Pentatonic string skipping / tapping

           +           +          +             +             +          +
 +           +           +            +           +           +

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    thanks for posting this practice exercise, I learned modes in music theory, your way is much easier thanks again
    What are the durations of these notes? 16ths? Triplets?
    On the Guitar Pro version, I've tabbed these exercises as 16th note triplets, but with the trill and legato exercise as regular 8th notes.
    Thanks for the post! I'm looking forward to implementing this into my workout routine.
    This sure is a good way to build up speed and practice scale shapes, but this doesn't really help learning modes. There is a factual error by the way, only a few of these exercises are in C, the rest are in their respective mode. D dorian for example has nothing to do with C ionian, except that they share the same notes. As a technical exercise this is good, but as a musical exercise this is very lacking. But for ten minutes a day, this could be a really efficient routine.
    I was taught that if you play a major scale from the root note, this is Ionian. If you play the same scale from the second, this is Dorian, if you play the scale from the 3rd, this is Phrygian etc. I've been using this system for years so if it's wrong I'll be gutted.
    Yes, the shapes are all correct, and the modes are closely related to the major scale because of that. But C Ionian is not the same scale as D dorian, and they are as much of a same key as G major and H major. Every shape here is completely correct, and if you would play all of these exercises over a C major progression, these would all be in C. But there really isn't a harmonic context here, so it's nearly impossible to tell the keys of the exercises. You could say that everything here is in A aeolian, or E phrygian or F lydian and it would technically be correct in all of the cases since we don't know the root notes.
    Actually when you're classifying modes by a key, the name of the mode is the same as the key. Not A Aeolian, C Aeolian. C Ionian (starting with C) C Dorian (starting with D) C Phrygian (starting with E) C Lydian (starting with F) C Mixolydian (starting with G) C Aeolian (starting with A) C Locrian (starting with B) C Ionian (second octave starting with C)
    What? Would you agree the Dorian mode is: Tone - Semitone - Tone - Tone - Tone - Semitone - Tone If you do then the following will describe Dorian mode in the key of C and D. C Dorian is: C D Eb F G A Bb C D Dorian is: D E F G A B C D A Mode is a scale. A scale has a sequence of steps which affect the pitch. What you may be confused about is if you understand the starting points, and their respective scales you understand that if someone asks you to play over a track in A Aeolian, you can just rock C major focusing your efforts on the root and end notes.
    It's it the next point of the exercise to do all of the exercises above in every key? If the guitarist only practices in the key above they are only going to be half baked. What one should do is do the entire lesson then do the entire lesson with say C as the root note. For example C Major, C Dorian, C Phrygian so on and so forth.
    What I found doing this was that I relatively quickly learned the different patterns by attributing them to different exercises. Next I swapped the patterns and exercises around so I wasn't confined to only playing Lydian by tapping etc. I only wrote it out this way to give it some context, and really I was more interested in building up my technique and speed, and added a few more exercises at the end that I wanted to work on. This worked for me so I thought I'd share it and let others use it as a base for there own needs. Hope it helps some of you.
    The goal of this lesson isn't to teach modes! In addition, this lesson covers the modes as they are designed to be on the guitar. Every mode belongs to a major scale. The indication of any given mode is the starting note. I'll throw you a bone: If the key is G for example and the starting note is G, it is G Ionian. If the starting note is A, it is Dorian, and so on. The notes in all modes are consistent with the major scale they belong to. The only difference is the starting note.
    I know this is an old comment, but no, that's not what modes are. Modes are not scale positions. Modes are not in a key. D dorian is not in the key of C major. D dorian is a different thing, just like A minor is not in the key of C major. The key scales just share the same notes. D dorian is much closer to D minor in sound. You could look at it as D minor with a major 6th - B instead of Bb. When played out of context, just from the lowest note to the highest note, yes, you are playing the modes. But when you apply them to a context, let's say a chord progression like C-F-G-C, it doesn't matter what position you are playing in. If you are using the notes A B C D E F G in any order, in any part of the fretboard, it doesn't change anything. You are not playing in any mode, you are playing in the key of C major (if those are the chords). But if the chords you were playing over were for example Dm7 and A (only those chords), you would be playing in the mode of D dorian, no matter how you used the notes and whatever part of the fretboard you were using. It's all about the tonic. If your tonic is C, and you use the notes of the C major scale, no matter how you use the notes, you are in the key of C major, not in any other key or mode. The note that you start with/your lowest/the part of the fretboard you are using has no effect on the mode/key of the song. Again, when playing out of context , yes, you are actually playing the modes if you are just playing them up and down. But if we add a chord progression, or something that gives us a sense of a tonic, it doesn't matter what position you are using. You are not playing different modes. You are only playing the same scale. So all of the positions here could be just called the C major scale, or the D dorian scale, or the E phrygian scale or whatever. I would suggest just calling it C major, because that's the most common one of them. A minor would also be common, but A minor usually also uses the G#, so that's why I would suggest just calling it C major. Modes are the same for all instruments, even for instruments without fretboard positions. Guitar is not an exception. The same music theory applies to all instruments.
    Thx a lot this is really helpful but since I'm a noob, could you tell me how exactly you play a scale using trill? I know how to do a trill but I'm not entirely sure what you mean in the exercise