A Great Way To Improve Your Scale And Modal Playing

author: shredder1980 date: 08/09/2012 category: guitar scales and modes
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A Great Way To Improve Your Scale And Modal Playing
If you are anything like me, then you find scales and modes a bit of a chore. Well that is a bit of an understatement actually, it's downright horrific. Sitting their hour after hour playing through the G major scales up and down, up and down etc. Well I have devised an almost fool proof way to practice scales and modes without the boredom involved. It is actually extremely simple, and almost childlike in its application. It enables you to practice scales in all positions on the fretboard, in every key and using every mode. It will also drastically improve your improvisation skills as well. Firstly, write out the 7 modes on a piece of paper, 5 times each. So write out:
  • Ionian
  • Dorian
  • Phrygian
  • Lydian
  • Mixolydian
  • Aeolian
  • Locrian 5 times each and then on another piece of paper write out the 12 notes:
  • A
  • A#
  • B
  • C
  • C#
  • D
  • D#
  • E
  • F
  • F#
  • G
  • G# Again 5 times per note. Then simply cut them all out and put the mode names in 1 pot and the notes in another pot. Then you mix them up and draw one from each pot. So you randomly pick out for example. G# and Lydian. So what you will then do is start on the 4th fret 6th string and play the G# Lydian mode up and down the strings. So simple isn't it? You do this for say 20 minutes and when you have gone through the modes at least several times each, put them away for another day. Once you have committed the modes to memory and are comfortable playing whatever mode in any key wherever on the fretboard you need to. Then you can start progressing to the next stage. The next stage is to do the same as before, pick out a note and a mode but this time you play through the mode immediately before, and immediately after. For example. Say you pick out A Dorian, which starts on the 5th fret 6th string. You play that up and down but also play the mode before that, which would be G Ionian which starts on the 3rd fret 6th string. And the mode immediately after A Dorian, which is B Phrygian which starts on the 7th fret 6th string. (If you notice these are the first 3 notes/modes of the G major scale). Once you do this, just try improvising between these three modes fore a few minutes. Do this for whatever note and mode you pick out the pot and within a couple of weeks your modal knowledge will be better than 95% of guitarists.
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