Learning Modes. Part Two

A continuation of of my last lesson, Learning Modes. This lesson will cover the same modes in application to the fretboard and how to be able to easily play them. You will also be introduced to a pattern technique used on the fretboard in use with modes and guitar playing in general.

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Since I could not find an "edit" button for my last lesson and felt like my O.C.D. would kick in about them being easily readable, I've decided to make a part 2 for my lesson so clarity can be achieved!!! After reading comments on my last lesson, it took me about 5 minutes to decide to write a Part 2 So looking at my old lesson, I was using C as a general starting note for all 7 of the modes. By now, you should know your major/minor scales and have a semi-firm grasp on modes. BUT some of you may not have any idea (or only a slight idea) of where notes are on a fretboard. This is an easy fix, AND has awesome benefits too! And for those of you who already know notes on a fretboard, pay attention anyway because how of the patterns I'm using to make life easier on the guitar. The pattern of of fingerings and where the go is something I was introduced to not too long ago. I was told by a friend that virtuosic guitarist Paul Gilbert uses it a lot but as I looked deeper at it, others did the same (Bassist Billy Sheehan admits in an interview/lesson on YouTube, that he has only knows patterns and not notes) so its widely recognized and used by assorted artists and instrumentalist. This is known as "Linear Playing". The concept and application is SUPER EASY. Pick a fret, any fret. Figure out which mode you want to play (This choice will depict the scale pattern you will be playing) The idea from here is an EXACT repeating pattern in your fingers and moving to the string and frets needed to finish the pattern. I will post up a lesson on this style of playing in more detail later on, but for now, it's the basics or I'd have 2 lessons in one! Lets start with the Ionian mode (Or Major Scale) on the note C on the A String using this "Linear Playing". We're only going to go one octave and you wont see the pattern till I put my lesson up on it so bear with me!
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------4--5-
D[-----------3--5--7-------
A[--3--5--7----------------
E[-------------------------
Your fingering should be Index(3), Middle(5), and Pinky(7) for both the A and D strings and Index(4) and Middle(5) on the G string. This is your pattern for a major scale anywhere on the neck, the ONE TIME you must make an exception is when you go from G string to B string. YOU MUST COMPENSATE BY GOING UP 1 FRET for the tuning interval between those 2 strings or you'll be a half step flat ending the scale! The Aeolian mode (Or Natural Minor Scale) pattern on the same note looks like this:
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------3--5-
D[-----------3--5--6-------
A[--3--5--6----------------
E[-------------------------
Fingering should be Index(3), Ring(5), Pinky(6) both strings and Index(3) and Ring(5) on the G string. I've also seen people play this scale as Index(3), Middle(5), Ring(6) so the only difference between major and minor pattern is the placement of the Pinky but to me, there's a little strain in my hand doing that and that could be a problem later on so I guess it's personal preference. I learned both ways just to be familiar with it. If you notice that the only differences between major and minor in the beginning are 1 fret (7 to 6) and the end (4 to 5). Once you memorize this pattern, you can play it anywhere on the fret board! Looking at it now, we have C Ionian as posted above. Next would be C Dorian (Minor scale, Raised(#) 6th)
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------3--5-
D[-----------3--5--7-------
A[--3--5--6----------------
E[-------------------------
Fingering should be Index(A3), Ring(A5), Pinky(A6), Index(D3), Middle(D5), Pinky(D7), Index(G3), Ring(G5) After that is C Phrygian (Minor Scale, Lowered(b) 2nd)
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------3--5-
D[-----------3--5--6-------
A[--3--4--6----------------
E[-------------------------
Fingering should be Index(A3), Middle(A4), Pinky(A6), Index(D3), Ring(D5), Pinky(D6), Index(G3), Ring(G5) Next is Lydian (Major Scale, Raised(#) 4th)
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------4--5-
D[-----------4--5--7-------
A[--3--5--7----------------
E[-------------------------
Fingering should be Index(A3), Middle(A5), Pinky(A7), Index(D4), Middle(D5), Pinky(D7), Index(G4), Middle(G5) After that is Mixolydian (Major Scale, Lowered(b) 7th)
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------3--5-
D[-----------3--5--7-------
A[--3--5--7----------------
E[-------------------------
Fingering should be Index(A3,D3,G3), Middle(A5,D5,G5), Pinky(A7,D7) Aeolian is posted above Lastly, Locrian (Minor Scale, Lowered(b) 2nd and 5th)
e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------
G[--------------------3--5-
D[-----------3--4--6-------
A[--3--4--6----------------
E[-------------------------
Fingering should be Index(A3,D3,G3), Middle(A4,D4), Ring(G5), Pinky (A6,D6) These are the 7 modes tabbed out starting on a single note on the same string. You can move these ANYWHERE using the same PATTERN AND FINGERINGS on the fretboard and get the desired mode out of the desired key. For example, Start on the 2nd fret of the A string (which is B natural by the way), move all the NUMBERS you see above DOWN 1 FRET. Use same fingering. Commence Mind Explosion. Do the same thing and start on the E String 3rd Fret (that's G natural) and play the same NUMBER PATTERNS and FINGERING except move them all up (On the low E string) one string. Put mind back in, Commence Mind Explosion again. EXAMPLES: 1)Lets start on G#/Ab on the low E String and play the Ionian Mode 2)Eb on the D String and play Aeolian just to show the B string compensation. If you notice, if I had started on the A sting my last 2 notes would have ended on the G string and been frets 1 and 3. BUT the B string has to have that 1 FRET compensation so it turns into 2 and 4 instead of 1 and 3.
1)                           2)
e[-------------------------  e[-------------------------
B[-------------------------  B[--------------------2--4-
G[-------------------------  G[-----------1--3--4-------
D[--------------------5--6-  D[--1--3--4----------------
A[-----------4--6--8-------  A[-------------------------
E[--4--6--8----------------  E[-------------------------
As stated in my previous lesson, just make sure to follow the correct amount of Whole steps and Half steps needed for each mode and you cant mess up. In writing this I've also decided to write a 3rd part to this lesson in conjunction with learning where modes are at on the fretboard an linear playing in a more in depth look (Including multiple octaves) as to how it all pans out in the end and little techniques and short cuts I use when I play. It'll be called Learning Modes: The Threequal. Remember, ANY question, concerns, or corrections, please feel free to drop a comment below and I will respond ASAP. But for now, my hands are killing me from typing and I need a cigarette so in a couple of days, keep a watchful eye out for The Threequal. -gnomegod

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    LeoKisomma
    Very nice lesson, goes through all the modes in parallel and makes the differences easy to recognize by comparing them to what most people will already know. I'll certainly recommend this to people who ask me about the modes in future.
    FluidViscoscity
    Its a good starting place but you fail to mention the basic theory of modes, merely how to play them. I feel guitarists have a bad enough reputation at music theory anyway no? The C dorian, is a c major scale starting and ending on D (second of the scale) while C phrygian begins and ends on E etc. What creates the specific modal 'formulae' is how the notes of the key of C relate to the bass root of the mode key. they are used to give different colour to the music and chords.
    gnomegod
    @fluid, i was gonna include all of that but it seemed a bit much for one lesson and confusing to those who have no idea what all of that means lol. i was gonna use the good ole keyboard example of just going from C to C on white keys and explain it that way for each mode but i thought "well this is ultimate-guitar.com and nothing to do with a keyboard...." lol this is a continuation/edit of my last one. i was gonna put a lesson up on how modes are created and include hypo modes but im trying to get some feedback first on what people are wanting to learn and or confused about. so i appreciate the input on it though man! ill make sure to explain it all it my next lesson.
    JacobCaine
    I like it.. i learned the way fluid was talking about using my scale book. It was confusing to me... i just want to know if your method can be used as well. its a lot easier to remember. Just like learning a new scale.. Say if im playing over a G major backing track.. can i just play different modes just like i would a major scale to improvise? (those modes being major modes of course, or E minor modes)
    gnomegod
    @JacobCaine There are alot of ways of learning the types and qualities of modes and as long as you understand what each mode has in it and what it sounds like, then youre good to go. Learning to apply them is WWAAAYYY easier once you understand each mode independently. my next lesson (part 3) will go into detail on that subject matter actually. so bear with me man! just learn and memorize the modes on different notes and after my next lesson, youll see how it all fits together. i was in the same boat as you were lol.
    tomis16
    To be honest, i feel like i advanced a whole step up in my guitar skills reading your lessons,THANK YOU! I'd like for the next lesson, to learn a little more about using modes in improvisation and songs, that would be awesome. Waiting for part 3! And THanks AGAIN!!
    Guitar guy Ben
    AT LAST i got it, was searching for weeks for a good lesson to modes and my knowledge increased enormously THANK YOU SO MUCH =)
    gnomegod
    @ Darkprinc77, tomis16, Guitar guy Ben: You are welcome. Feel free to message me if there are any questions