How to Shift Between Certain Modes - Part 1

An easy shift that you can apply to sound more sophisticated and much more interesting while soloing on guitar.

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In this lesson I'd like to share with you this easy shift that you can apply to sound more sophisticated and much more interesting while soloing on guitar.

The main idea here is to shift between the keys using the same mode, in our case here we will be using the Dorian mode and will shift between to keys or tonic centers E and C#.

Listen to the backing track here and have a quick look on the sample jam as it begins.

YouTube preview picture

As you can see there are two bass grooves. One for each key. The shift can be simply done by starting to play the root note of the mode as soon as the new groove starts. As you practice you can do shifting using other notes beside the root note that can sound more cool and much more creative.

Look at the following tabs to see how to play the Dorian mode in E and C# using two positions.

E Dorian

7th position

12th position


C# Dorian

4th position

9th position


Look at the following interval to understand the structure of the Dorian mode in general and in these keys in particular.




If you like to expand and explore other positions then look at the following diagrams and try to come up with licks that can be applied using new positions other than the ones shown in the beginning.



You can apply the same concept to do similar shifts between any modes or scales, but jamming on this backing track in particular you can use the following scales:
  • Dorian Mode
  • Minor Pentatonic
  • Minor Blues
I hope you found this useful. Like the video and leave a comment if you have any suggestion or a question.

About the Author:
By Chusss. Subscribe to his YouTube channel to stay updated. Find more backing tracks here.

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2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MaggaraMarine
    I think this lesson could use more examples. Now it just basically shows "here are the scales you can play over this backing track". It could talk more about the transitions. Because that's the tricky part (and that's kind of the "focus" of the lesson, at least based on the title). How to practice that? That's what a lesson should tell. Give some tools for people to practice this at their own time, not just "use these scales". More like "pay attention to these things". Or "here are some examples of good transitions" (and an analysis of what's going on in those transitions) and "this transition didn't work that well because [whatever]". Something like that. Otherwise people will just end up noodling around with those scale patterns without knowing what they should pay attention to. I don't think this lesson really gives anything that valuable to somebody who finds that backing track on Youtube and wants to play over it. They will obviously find the scale patterns, but that's done easily by just googling them. So maybe not that useful lesson. Well, people get introduced to the topic of course. OK, I understand, this was just the part one. I assume the next parts will get more in detail.