Scales, Modes And Their Uses

This lesson will teach you what scales and modes are, the theory behind them and how to use them in your playing.

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Introduction

This lesson will explain what scales and modes are, teach you the Pentatonic, major and minor scales and give you some riffs and licks to play around with. Some of the information in this lesson is very basic, mainly at the beginning, and some is a bit more advanced. You should not need any musical knowledge to make use of this lesson; all you'll need is a guitar and some idea of how to get around the fretboard. This lesson is set out so that someone completely new to scales can not only get a good grounding in scales but become quite proficient (hopefully. More advanced players should hopefully get something out of it as well).

Scales/Modes Explained

Scales, as well as chords are what most music is based upon (and chords are based on scales). A scale is a series of notes that determine what key something is in. For example, the key of C has the notes C,D,E,F,G,A and B in it. A C Major scale is those notes played one after the other, and because of the nature of the guitar the scales form patterns depending on the mode, whereas on the piano they go more or less in a straight line. Because there are more than one of any note on the fretboard, scales have "modes". In practical terms, a mode determines the pattern of the notes you are playing in the scale. The major scale has 7 modes. These are: 01. Ionian 02. Dorian 03. Phrygian 04. Lydian 05. Mixolydian 06. Aolian 07. Locrian But in this lesson I will refer to them simply s the 1st mode, the 2nd mode etc. This is all you need to think of them as to learn and apply them. Basically, the first mode goes from 1-8, 8 being the same as 1, but an octave higher. The second mode is 2-9, the 3rd 3-10 and so on. There are many, many scales in music, but this lesson will cover the Pentatonic, the Major scale and two types of minor scales. These 4 scales should cover just about everything you would want to play.

Pentatonic/Blues Scales

The Pentatonic scale is used a great deal in rock and blues. It is usually the first scale guitarists learn as it is fairly simple. It is a five note scale (Penta = 5, tonic = note). This means that there are five notes from the root note of the scale and the next octave. The Pentatonic is the major scale (more on that later) but with fewer notes (5 instead of 7) and the degrees of this scale are: 1 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7 (and then 8, the octave). This means that while the major scale is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, the Pentatonic only uses the 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 and has the 3rd and 7 flattened. But don't worry about the degrees of the scale for now; instead focus on the pattern on the fretboard, and on memorising the first mode. Shown here is the 1st mode of the Pentatonic scale, in E:
| X |---|---|-O-| | O |---|---|-O-| | O |---|-O-|---| | b7|---|-8-|---| | 4 |---|-5-|---| | 1 |---|---|-b3|
This diagram represents frets 0 to 3 on the fretboard. The bottom line is the bottom E string; the top line is the top E string. This is the shape of the scale, with the "X" representing the root note (eg. In the key of E, the X's would be E notes). The scale is played from left to right on ascending strings. The first "X" would be 1, the next "O" is 2 (or the flattened third), the next is 3 (or the 4th degree) and so on. The next "X" in the sequence is an octave higher than the first (the same note but higher pitch). As you descend the scale, play in reverse (right to left descending the strings). There are 5 modes of the Pentatonic scale. They link together on the fretboard, giving you a huge range of notes to play around with up and down the fretboard. The other 4 modes are different shapes to the first but have the same notes in them. The diagram below shows how they link together in the key of E, with the number at the bottom being the frets and the numbers at the top being the modes:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 1st | X |---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|-X-|---|---|-O-| | O |---|---|-O-|---|-X-|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|-O-| | O |---|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|-X-|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---| | O |---|-X-|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|-X-|---| | O |---|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|-X-|---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---| | X |---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|---|-O-|---|-X-|---|---|-O-|
The first mode begins on an open note (E). The first mode is then repeated beginning on the 12th fret. So you can figure out what notes are in which mode, I will tell you which frets (this is for all strings, just look at what notes are actually in the scale and you should be able to figure it out) the scale is on: 1st: 0-4 2nd: 2-5 3rd: 4-8 4th: 7-10 5th: 9-12 1st again: 12-15 As I said before, this scale is used extensively in rock and blues in solos and riffs. Here is an example of a riff that uses the Pentatonic scale, from Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter"
|-------------------------------------------------------------| |-------------------------------------------------------------| |-------------------------------------------------------------| |-----6-6-6-------6-6-6-------6---------------------------2---| |-2/4---------2/4---------2/4---4-------4-4-4---------2-----4-| |-----------------------------------0h2-------0---0h4---4-----|

The Major Scale

The Major Scale is bit more complicated than the Pentatonic. This is a seven note scale with three notes per string (mostly) and seven modes. This doesn't seem like much of a difference but it is tricky to play at first. The major scale is used in everything, from jazz to classical to death metal: The degrees of this scale are: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - (8) The first mode of the scale looks like this:
|-X-|---|-O-|---|-O-| |-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-| |---|-O-|-O-|---|---| |---|-7-|-8-|---|-O-| |-4-|---|-5-|---|-6-| |-1-|---|-2-|---|-3-|
As you can see, there are usually three notes per string. This means it is somewhat harder to play at first, but gives many more options as to what to play once you've got it figured out. The second mode looks like this:
|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---| |-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---| |-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-| |-8-|---|-O-|---|-O-| |-5-|---|-6-|---|-7-| |-2-|---|-3-|-4-|---|
This mode starts on the second degree of the scale, so the degree of this mode goes: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 So the third mode would go from 3 -10, the fourth from 4 - 11 and so on. This is what all of the modes of the major scale look like on the fretboard:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 1st | X |---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---|-O-| | O |---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-| | |-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-| | |-O-|-X-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-| | O |---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-| | X |---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---|-O-|
It may look daunting at first trying to get all of the modes down, but learn them one at a time, practice them, and you'll be able to use them all for soloing, lead parts, riffs and improvisation. Here are some examples of licks that are in the major scale:
[-7h9-9h10-7h9-/9--7----------][-------------9----------p--p--] [---------------------10-9

60 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Smokey Amp
    My theory knowledge is incredibly limited, but even I know this information is incorrect.
    guitarWand
    it sounds like I'm joking but really G major and E minor us the same notes,the notes of E min pentatonik are also in G major.the 'blue' note(between the 4th and 5th,B flat in this case)makes for a G major scale that has a minor 3rd as well so you get this hillbilly sound.
    Kirenjob
    rocknrollreject wrote: nigel_fighter wrote: As a jazz guitarist (a rare breed nowadays) all i have to say is that we really do kick you rock fella's asses is in knowing how to use modes. Going off of the comments said here, a lot of rock kids just dont' get em. haha jazz sucks and knowing modes doesnt make you better guitar player stupid
    No it doesnt but if he knows how to play all the scales well and play in a certain key better than you, then he is better.. Jazz doesnt suck.. I dont play it but the guitarists are pretty good.
    SuperRitsu
    lol i remember learning this stuff from that mr fast finger shred show game! good times good times..
    Kainen j
    guitarWand wrote: hey anyone know the Hillbilly Mode?take the E Minor Pentatonik scale/mode(don't want to leave anyone out here)and play it over it's relative major(now that's something you want to know about),in this case the G major chord.Crank up the distortion and hear the Heavy Metal Hillbilly from Hell in you come out.
    You can't be serious right? Pentatonic not with a "k." Also There is no such thing as hellbilly mode. What you are referring to is a major scale and its relative minor which in "mode land" is Aeolian (6th mode)not Hellbilly (redneck slang mode). Most of you agreeing with this lesson or fighting with users who know their shit obviously blow at guitar and are getting offended. Don't just ask for answers. I'll give you a hint, don't start with this lesson. You will get nowhere.
    bass guy 129
    jesus, i havent logged in to UG and replied ot something, and for good measure. i just had to say something here- 1. this is wrong. the least you can do for yourself is go out and buy a theory book and get started there. 2. to the guy who said"haha jazz sucks"- your ignorant as hell. listen to something other than trivium and avenged sevenfold. ( and it does make him a better player. yeah, mabe you can hit 839483 nps, but at least his music can make someone care.) 3. if your going to learn ANYTHING, learn the major and minor penatonics. everyone from noobs, to zakk wylde, to jimmy page, and everyone the **** else uses them. if you like it and it interests you, then learn more scales and modes. thats all I had to say, if your gonna flame me, go for it, but I had to get that out.
    Kainen j
    bass guy 129 wrote: jesus, i havent logged in to UG and replied ot something, and for good measure. i just had to say something here- 1. this is wrong. the least you can do for yourself is go out and buy a theory book and get started there. 2. to the guy who said"haha jazz sucks"- your ignorant as hell. listen to something other than trivium and avenged sevenfold. ( and it does make him a better player. yeah, mabe you can hit 839483 nps, but at least his music can make someone care.) 3. if your going to learn ANYTHING, learn the major and minor penatonics. everyone from noobs, to zakk wylde, to jimmy page, and everyone the **** else uses them. if you like it and it interests you, then learn more scales and modes. thats all I had to say, if your gonna flame me, go for it, but I had to get that out.
    Thank god for more people like you. I was almost sorry I signed up for this site. Tried to say it better but got flamed in the process expect the same
    Bong Water
    Kainen, several of your comments concern me... firstly teachers need more merit than your pigeonholed characterists you assigned. Theory really is essential depending on the level of music you want to play, and how far you want to develop your skills. It's important to remember that, while helpful, the road to improve your playing is different for each person, and often learning theory in relation to guitar isn't the most helpful. What is sad is that somehow a poorly written article laden with inaccuracy has done nothing but incite debates over different genres from persons who really have no knowledge nor appreciation for musical styles. Bottom line? Stop arguing (everyone) and defending your ignorance and just play yer damn guitar!! And love it!!!
    callum2903
    way to many mistacs, plus a mode is just a medievil scale u fud! please dont rite anymore rubbish that just confuised bigginerrs into theory!
    callum2903
    oh and i agree with bong water,, for tjose who dont like ALL types of music, or can at least appreciate it all of it, or at LEASt empathis on why sopmeone would like it and respect that, dont get at each other,, u cant play with out theory after a certain pint, and deffinatly cannot wirte anthing of merit, so please just all shut up!
    Kainen j
    Bong Water wrote: Kainen, several of your comments concern me... firstly teachers need more merit than your pigeonholed characterists you assigned. Theory really is essential depending on the level of music you want to play, and how far you want to develop your skills. It's important to remember that, while helpful, the road to improve your playing is different for each person, and often learning theory in relation to guitar isn't the most helpful. What is sad is that somehow a poorly written article laden with inaccuracy has done nothing but incite debates over different genres from persons who really have no knowledge nor appreciation for musical styles. Bottom line? Stop arguing (everyone) and defending your ignorance and just play yer damn guitar!! And love it!!!
    I agree with you 100% that each and every student needs to be taught in a different way. I was saying for the serious musician who wants to learn theory and take his playing beyond must require a teacher who can atleast provide what I stated. Debates are healthy
    pandablood13
    calm down dude. . period , comma ' apostrophe Get back to me when you know at least one of those as well.
    haha jazz sucks and knowing modes doesnt make you better guitar player stupid
    Simmer down now chirdren; especially you Kaitlynn (or whatever)
    Bong Water
    Are you saying that a serious musician who wants to further develop his abilities must learn every genre of music? Or at least receive lessons from someone who has this attribute?
    guitarWand
    the thing about modes is you do not have to like the sound or any music style to get something out of it.think of it as different positions of the major or minor scale going up the neck.at some point you want to get out of first position right?modes are a great way to break free and move up the neck in any 1 key,then you can apply what you learned to another key.the end result will hopefully be that you can HEAR your way around the neck and know where your fingers can go,otherwise running through modes and scales with no musical direction,phrasing or musicality becomes what is commonly called wanking.
    Kainen j
    Bong Water wrote: Are you saying that a serious musician who wants to further develop his abilities must learn every genre of music? Or at least receive lessons from someone who has this attribute?
    Yes and if you want to make it in the music business you better do it. Learning just Blink 182 will get you laughed at.
    HaKattack
    rocknrollreject wrote: nigel_fighter wrote: As a jazz guitarist (a rare breed nowadays) all i have to say is that we really do kick you rock fella's asses is in knowing how to use modes. Going off of the comments said here, a lot of rock kids just dont' get em. haha jazz sucks and knowing modes doesnt make you better guitar player stupid
    Ew. Just ew. You're completely wrong. Jazz doesn't suck, and modes can help you become a better player.
    nameismicah
    Each mode has a different sound and feel. The full effect of the different modal sounds can only be heard if you bounce them around the root. Play a C major scale, while singing the C. Then play the same scale while singing the D. Starting on the D note and ending on the D note in the C major {scale position} results in the Dorian mode of D. The D Dorian scale is the same thing {note wise} as the C major scale. The modal sound depends on which notes you return to, and end phrases on.
    nameismicah
    And it goes: Modes are analogous to colors schemes. Learning the scale positions is good for your fingers and for your ears. The people who say music theory is useless obviously dont know it somewhat. try learning, your fingers will thank you The next time you encounter a Dominant7 chord in a song, try some Mixolydian licks. Treating that chord as the root chord. If i were an art student, would learning Art Theory be helpful? Music Theory, Modes, Scales, Chord Inversions, and such is a means to an end, that end being interesting, satisfying Music. That isnt to say good music cant be simple. The only thing I know to say is that the more theory related stuff you learn and apply to your own playing, the more enjoyable music will be. Listening to music is a skill to be learned. Aaron Copland "What to Listen for in Music"
    ridersinthesky
    rocknrollreject wrote: haha jazz sucks and knowing modes doesnt make you better guitar player stupid
    wow man. you are lame. get off these boards and take a music appreciation class.
    gmsje
    Could someone get callum2903 a dictionary. Fire his elementary school teacher too.
    the_bi99man
    I was more or less following this lessen until the diagrams came up. I know how to read tablature, and I know how to read a basic chord diagram, but these images make absolutely no sense to me. I can't even figure out which string is supposed to be which. Or what all the O's and numbers mean (I would assume they meant frets or notes or something but no matter how I look at it, as soon as I get one thing to make sense, something else falls apart).
    sonixbp
    To those fascinated with music, both audibly and mathematically, you will appreciate modes. I am a jazz improv musician and I have always found moves to be amazing. There are 5 basic uses for modes and this lesson doesn't even brush upon the first. You cannot focus on modes just for the guitar without completely understanding the theoretical standpoint by which they are derived and the history by which they were created. Jazz music you notice right off the bat differs from more contemporary styles because there are constant modulations. Most rock these days still follows the old blues 1-4-5's to a very annoying degree. Granted, minor (aeolean) and major (ionian) modes are the most popular (even mixolydian, which is most commonly based on the 5th or dominant of the key), to really accept the modes you need to know your key signatures inside and out as well as having a firm knowledge in your chordal stacks. The easiest way to decide which mode is best is to simply find out which chords you are playing that fit into one key and which ones do not.... the ones that do not can often be accented nicely using a modal melody when improvising or even writing a solo.
    timsworld
    Far out man, you're off. I'm not even going to bother correcting you because it looks like quite a few people have already tried even though they think they know nothing.
    guitarWand
    hey anyone know the Hillbilly Mode?take the E Minor Pentatonik scale/mode(don't want to leave anyone out here)and play it over it's relative major(now that's something you want to know about),in this case the G major chord.Crank up the distortion and hear the Heavy Metal Hillbilly from Hell in you come out.
    rocknrollreject
    nigel_fighter wrote: As a jazz guitarist (a rare breed nowadays) all i have to say is that we really do kick you rock fella's asses is in knowing how to use modes. Going off of the comments said here, a lot of rock kids just dont' get em.
    haha jazz sucks and knowing modes doesnt make you better guitar player stupid
    ouchies
    those aren't really modes, they're just positions of any scale/mode in that particular key. any mode can be played anywhere on the fret board
    Godderz_24
    actually few classically trained musicians that i know, including music teachers at A level know very little about modes, it seems to only really be jazz trained musicians or guitarrists that understand it fully. The box shapes that the poster has given are the 5 shapes of the major scale AND ALL OF ITS MODES the mode you are using depends on the chord it is played over, for example in the key of C major (for the sake of keeping it simple) if you vamp on an E minor chord you will find playing your c major scale pulls you more to the E note as the root, no longer the C. This is the third mode phrygian as it is the third degree of the scale. certain chords imply certain modes however, for example the lydian scale has a raised 4th, so playing a major chord with a raised 4th (or sharp 11) in it will imply the lydian mode to be used. hope this helps clear any confusion
    God's Guitarist
    a pentatonic isnt the major scale. you can have a pentatonic of any scale (being a 5 note exerpt from that scale). the pentatonic minor is what you've mentioned there. -the blues scale (minor) is the pentatonic minor with a note added between the 3rd and 4th notes (called a tritone [i think]). -also you've shown the positions of the pentatonic scale across the fretboard - they're not modes!, they're exactly the same just using different positions on the fretboard. a mode has the same set of notes but they're arranged differently (different key notes and important notes) hence giving a different flavour. im no expert, there'll be an article on all this somewhere but this looks wrong. correct me if im wrong. its been a while since i've indulged this part of my learning.
    AngusX
    I did quite a bit of theory about a year ago, so I'm a bit rusty, and I may have the details wrong, but this is the way I was taught to think of modes. Think of each mode as a different starting point for your scales to use. Lemme try to explain (I'm bad at explaining, and I may screw up, so don't flame me too much!!!). The notes in C Ionian are the same as in D Dorian, as in E Phrygian, etc. However, say you wanted to solo in something like E Locrian. Well, I use my step progression thingy (Whole Whole Half Whole Whole Whole Half, or W W H W W W H), as well as the modes they are associated with (it's almost like modes are connected to the scales or something), to figure out that if I move from Locrian to Ionian by raising a half-step I end up in F Ionian, meaning that to solo in E Locrian I'd start where F Ionian is at. I hope I got that right, it's been a while since I did that stuff. By the way, I really like the presentation of this article, showing how the minor and major scales aren't totally different scales. I see a lot of people that can't make the connection between "different" scales, and learn each pentatonic shape in the standard pentatonic scale (not one of those funny ones like the wholetone(?) or something like that), and never realize they fit together. Personally, these are the two scales I use almost exclusively, with the exception of a bit of blues (one extra note). Overall, a great article showing how to apply a bit of theory to your playing. Nail the pentatonic and minor/major scales and you'll be dressed to impress, I always wow my friends by doing nothing more than running some scales. Now, if someone could just explain that super complicated chromatic scale to me...
    Ænimus Prime
    This is very bad. You are mistaking box patterns for modes. You say that the five 'modes' of minor pentatonic give you 'a huge range of notes to play with'...no, theres still only 5 notes. The second mode of the major scale (Dorian) is 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7. NOT 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, which means that you still have the same root note. Each mode has a different root and different intervals. Most of what you've written is deadset wrong, and exactly what we try to correct in the Musician Talk forum. You obviously have very little understanding of scales, modes, or how to use them.
    Captain Planet
    i know a fair bit of theory but this article just confused me. for a start some of the diagrams are mis-aligned etc. to clarify for anyone reading who is a bit confused: Modes are variations of the major scale. the Ionian mode IS the major scale. the other modes are exactly the same as the Ionian mode WHEN PLAYED WITH THE ROOT OF EACH SCALE STARTING AT THE NEXT NOTE IN THE MAJOR SCALE. E.g. in 'A', (all roots on 6th string) Ionian starting at 5th fret, Dorian at 7th, Phrygian at 9th etc. However, this is not really the point of modes, and these are really just box patterns. The modes are variations of the major scale and are mainly used to inflect different kinds of sounds. some modes inflect major, others minor so each has it's own use, and each will sound best when used with certain chords. For example, the Dorian mode is great of latin/salsa (think Santana) and is best when used with 9, m7 and maj7(just to name a few). All modes in A can be used at the 5th position, and when this is done, each shape will have a different sound as it uses some slightly different notes.
    Yespleasevicar
    The pentatonic scale you showed is not a 5 note version of the Major Scale as it has a b7 and more importantly a b3rd which makes it minor u dumbass.
    Bong Water
    'tonic' refers to the root position of a scale. This is such a dangerous topic as many new guitarists and those who are not theory adept can be confused quite easily. Make sure you make use of the forums with article ideas before posting them here, you've the risk of confusing and putting off musicians from learning further theory. Quite a poor written article with inaccurate theory.
    Nhex (PT)
    1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 1st | X |---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---| -O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|- --|-O-| | O |---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|---| -O-|---|-O-|-O-|---|-O-|- --|-O-| | |-O-|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-| ---|-O-|-X-|---|-O-|---|- O-|-O-| | |-O-|-X-|---|-O-|---|-O-| -O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|- O-|-O-| | O |---|-O-|---|-O-|---|-O-| -X-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|- --|-O-| | X |---|-O-|---|-O-|-O-|---| -O-|---|-O-|---|-O-|-X-|- --|-O-| i dont get this stuff what is supposed to do ??
    cashewchaching
    yea, modes are what you put in the top, i.e. the phrygian and dorian and mixolydian, and ect. You think of modes as positions on the fretboard. The church modes (phrygian, dorian, ect) are a very advanced subject that i few people on ug, and most likely few of the major artists today really know what they are about, unless you get deep into jazz and classical and the like. I would get your theory straight before you try to teach it to other people.
    zhille
    Man...who approved this??? Nothing personal, but this will just further confuse beginners and should be removed. Music theory lessons should be revised by someone relevant! I did not go in music schools, but I educated myself with music school literature, and this lesson is just teaching people wrong. Again, nothing personal.
    Kainen j
    I got to tell you guys, I signed up only to post this. I'm a music major and this lesson pretty much pissed me off. Listen, let me give some real advice. When you sign up for guitar lessons make sure your teach can do the following: 1. Reads Music and sight read for you 2. Knows Music theory and is able to explain it 3. Can play all types of music, not just metal 4. Can solo to any type of style on the spot. There are more things you should consider but if your teacher can't do the following or tries beating around the bush over any of these topics - LEAVE and tell him/her why. Also Godderz, you're right. Very few people take the time to learn music theory and how to read music. My college did a study of this. 10% of guitar players can read and know theory as a result of a study my school did. Fucking sad.
    nigel_fighter
    As a jazz guitarist (a rare breed nowadays) all i have to say is that we really do kick you rock fella's asses is in knowing how to use modes. Going off of the comments said here, a lot of rock kids just dont' get em.
    Guitar_Poet
    God's Guitarist wrote: a pentatonic isnt the major scale. you can have a pentatonic of any scale (being a 5 note exerpt from that scale). the pentatonic minor is what you've mentioned there. -the blues scale (minor) is the pentatonic minor with a note added between the 3rd and 4th notes (called a tritone [i think]). -also you've shown the positions of the pentatonic scale across the fretboard - they're not modes!, they're exactly the same just using different positions on the fretboard. a mode has the same set of notes but they're arranged differently (different key notes and important notes) hence giving a different flavour. im no expert, there'll be an article on all this somewhere but this looks wrong. correct me if im wrong. its been a while since i've indulged this part of my learning.
    yea, same thoughts went through my mind when i read this. then again, i was reading the article to see if it was giving misleading information... and it was (is).
    Kainen j wrote: I got to tell you guys, I signed up only to post this. I'm a music major and this lesson pretty much pissed me off. Listen, let me give some real advice. When you sign up for guitar lessons make sure your teach can do the following: 1. Reads Music and sight read for you 2. Knows Music theory and is able to explain it 3. Can play all types of music, not just metal 4. Can solo to any type of style on the spot. There are more things you should consider but if your teacher can't do the following or tries beating around the bush over any of these topics - LEAVE and tell him/her why. Also Godderz, you're right. Very few people take the time to learn music theory and how to read music. My college did a study of this. 10% of guitar players can read and know theory as a result of a study my school did. Fucking sad.
    i agree with you on the guitar teacher thing, but i dont appreciate the way that you act like you're god's gift to the world because youre a music major, can read music, and know some theory. get over yourself. this lesson could be very helpful, but it needs quite a bit of tweaking. =)
    Guitar_Poet
    Captain Planet wrote: i know a fair bit of theory but this article just confused me. for a start some of the diagrams are mis-aligned etc. to clarify for anyone reading who is a bit confused: Modes are variations of the major scale. the Ionian mode IS the major scale. the other modes are exactly the same as the Ionian mode WHEN PLAYED WITH THE ROOT OF EACH SCALE STARTING AT THE NEXT NOTE IN THE MAJOR SCALE. E.g. in 'A', (all roots on 6th string) Ionian starting at 5th fret, Dorian at 7th, Phrygian at 9th etc. However, this is not really the point of modes, and these are really just box patterns. The modes are variations of the major scale and are mainly used to inflect different kinds of sounds. some modes inflect major, others minor so each has it's own use, and each will sound best when used with certain chords. For example, the Dorian mode is great of latin/salsa (think Santana) and is best when used with 9, m7 and maj7(just to name a few). All modes in A can be used at the 5th position, and when this is done, each shape will have a different sound as it uses some slightly different notes.
    +1. i havent thought about the show Captain Planet in years, rofl.
    Guitar_Poet
    nimus Prime wrote: This is very bad. You are mistaking box patterns for modes. You say that the five 'modes' of minor pentatonic give you 'a huge range of notes to play with'...no, theres still only 5 notes. The second mode of the major scale (Dorian) is 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7. NOT 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, which means that you still have the same root note. Each mode has a different root and different intervals. Most of what you've written is deadset wrong, and exactly what we try to correct in the Musician Talk forum. You obviously have very little understanding of scales, modes, or how to use them.
    yes... it is fun to discuss in the forums because it can be a source of learning for everyone, and also mistakes can be called out easily so as not to confuse anyone.
    johnsy2004
    (Penta = 5, tonic = note).
    actualy technicly tonic means first note of scale but yeh... great lesson! learned loads! thanks! 4*s