Easy Modes For Lazy Players

We have all seen a million articles, books, vid's, etc. on modes and most of us, to be frank, don't require that kind of information overload. For us rock players, let's keep it simple, right?

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I've just joined the UG community so hello to everyone! This is also my first lesson submission, and I felt compelled to do it after reading so many confusing and complicated lessons regarding modes and their applications. Like most of you, I don't want to get a damned PhD on this topic and discuss super-impositions all night long, it would, however, be nice to throw in a slippery Phrygian line into one of my solos if the mood strikes, and to have a general idea of what the hell I just played. So this is my take on this pesky mode issue. My 14 year old nephew asked me to explain all "this mode bulls--t" as he put it.( kids these days, right?) So I'm thinking, hmm, how do I put this in a way that a child of the PlayStation generation will understand and perhaps even apply? This is what I did: Staying with the key of C- (M = Major/ m = Minor) 1- Ionian- you play CM scale or Am scale obviously over CM 2- Dorian- what is C the second of? Bb. So BbM or Gm scale is played over CM. 3- Phrygian- what is C the third of? Ab. So AbM or Fm scale... 4- Lydian- what is C the fourth of? G. So GM or Em scale... 5- Mixolydian- what is C the fifth of? F. So FM or Dm scale... 6- Aeolian- what is C the sixth of? Eb. So EbM or Cm... 7- Locrian- what is C the seventh of? ( always a minor second interval up which is a half-step), C#. So C#M or Bbm scale played over CM. And that's it. That is "basically" the way it was taught to me by some heavy theory dudes and Berklee jazz-fusion instructors I've studied with, I just simplified it for us blue collar rockers. Have a friend drone on a CM chord under you while you play the major scales or relative minor scales and finally get the true sound and feel of each mode as it is supposed to be. Memorize them in all keys, oh hell, we're rockers, just memorize them in A and E and you're there! I hope this helps and best of luck to everybody on here, drop me a line if you need more tricks and, until then, keep rocking-

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    DeadxEndxEmpty
    Honestly this article could be expanded to a more advanced lesson if you go with the dissonance. I myself am a player that like to throw some dissonance in. It can't sound pretty all of the time. Stuff along the lines of say, chromatically ascending phrygian phrases?
    Shotgun Vodka
    Oh no, not Colohue! Okay, here's the thing. I actually like you but you sure try really hard to turn people off. I suppose I could speculate as to the many reasons why you do that but I've only a finite amount of time, space is limited and I'm not a trained psychologist. I've read all your stuff, and what others think about your, shall we say, lack of tact and common courtesy. In fact you are the main reason ( actually your readers and their confusion about what you are trying to impart)that I wrote this. I don't know if you noticed but I did mention the lesson was for a kid, not supposed to be some impenetrable 800 page tome about modal versus tonal,etc,etc. Anyway, you aren't the only person on the planet who plays an instrument, and thank you for your sincere suggestion, but I actually have "tried it" and I know it is dissonant but how else to impart the true sound to a confused guitarist without harmonizing a modal progression and making things more complex? But don't take my word for it, take Frank Gambale's, or would you consider Frank to be "stupid" as well? Thanks for writing, again, I do admire your knowledge and commitment but try a touch of civility, you'll find it to be a refreshing change perhaps. But barring that,you are nothing if not consistent. Cheers-
    Colohue
    Yeah. That's not modal. Every single thing you've played there is either C major or stupid. Who on Earth would enjoy hearing C# over C? Honest to God, I sincerely suggest that you try it. It will not be enjoyable resolving to a minor second.
    gingerbear bass
    it really didnt help me very much... i learned more from more complex lessons but it did help me figure out some stuff but i am not 14 just 15 but thnx
    Shotgun Vodka
    MetalNova, thanks for writing, glad I could give you a laugh! And Jay Stone, thanks for the suggestion, I will probably do that, and if my nephew doesn't know his major scales by now I will kill him! (BTW, I flew him out to LA last year for a lesson with Paul Gilbert, he didn't cock it up entirely, thank God.) Rockingamer2, you are 100 percent correct, I just wanted to impart something that might clarify, at least initially, some of the confusion I think we all felt when we first heard of modes. It was typically, you know "gee, it all sounds the damned same." So there you are, wondering what Steve Vai is doing playing B major over E, and not realizing he is doing his typical lydian thing, or Satriani and all those guys. And that was my whole point, writing to the player who just wants to get Dorian in his ear, and not necessarily go on to try and analyze Di Meola's entire catalog. Anyway, I appreciate you guys and your remarks, as I'm sure you noticed I am new to UG and it's nice to hear from some folks who are more, ahh, like-minded. Take care and have a great weekend-
    JSGlisman
    I see what your trying to do but this is not modes! You basically cover every note on the guitar (A-G#). Where a mode only covers the notes of a particular scale. In the key of C (or A minor), its C, D, E, F, G, A, B repeat. I also understand that your showing a 14 year old, but your shoeing him wrong.
    Jay Stone
    Thanks for your contribution, every little helps. I do think the 14yr neph. would have to know the scales first to comprehend this lesson. Guitarmodes explanation using Degrees, Relative and Parallel approach would be an article worth contributing.
    MetalNova
    Shotgun Vodka wrote: Oh no, not Colohue! Okay, here's the thing. I actually like you but you sure try really hard to turn people off. I suppose I could speculate as to the many reasons why you do that but I've only a finite amount of time, space is limited and I'm not a trained psychologist. I've read all your stuff, and what others think about your, shall we say, lack of tact and common courtesy. In fact you are the main reason ( actually your readers and their confusion about what you are trying to impart)that I wrote this. I don't know if you noticed but I did mention the lesson was for a kid, not supposed to be some impenetrable 800 page tome about modal versus tonal,etc,etc. Anyway, you aren't the only person on the planet who plays an instrument, and thank you for your sincere suggestion, but I actually have "tried it" and I know it is dissonant but how else to impart the true sound to a confused guitarist without harmonizing a modal progression and making things more complex? But don't take my word for it, take Frank Gambale's, or would you consider Frank to be "stupid" as well? Thanks for writing, again, I do admire your knowledge and commitment but try a touch of civility, you'll find it to be a refreshing change perhaps. But barring that,you are nothing if not consistent. Cheers-
    Man I had such a huge smile reading this. Amen brother Amen!! \M/
    MetalNova
    Oh nice lesson to I wrote one about modes a while back to, also a simple one, great to see someone else making it simple.
    rockingamer2
    "Modes made simple" is not something that can really exist. Sure the relationship between modes and the major scale is simple, but actually using them is far from simple.