Movable Major Modal Box Shapes

Simple box shapes for the modes of the major scale.

9
Hey you crazy guitar fanatic people this is my first lesson so please bear with me. So in this lesson I'm going to give you just the simple box shapes I use for the modes of the major scale. These are just the shapes I use so they're not written in stone (Like most things in music) so you may see other people going, No man this is the way you play it and they show you a totally different thing. I use these because they're comfortable for me, but try stick to one persons version of them or you'll get confused. Cool beans. So for this lesson I'm going to be in the key of G Major so as I hope you know there is an F# (G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-[G]), nothing else. G Ionian/Major Scale 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
e |-|-|o|-|o|o|-|
B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-|
G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-|
D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-|
A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
       
e|-------------------------------5-7-8-|
B|-------------------------5-7-8-------|
G|-------------------4-5-7-------------|
D|-------------4-5-7-------------------|
A|-------3-5-7-------------------------|
E|-3-5-7-------------------------------|
 
 
A Dorian 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7
 
e |-|-|o|o|-|o|-|
B |-|-|o|o|-|o|-|
G |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
D |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
E |o|-|o|o|-|-|-|
 
e|--------------------------------7-8-10-|
B|-------------------------7-8-10--------|
G|-------------------5-7-9---------------|
D|-------------5-7-9---------------------|
A|-------5-7-9---------------------------|
E|-5-7-8---------------------------------|
  
B Phrygian 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7
 
e |-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
B |-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
G |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
D |o|-|o|o|-|-|-|
A |o|-|o|o|-|-|-|
E |o|o|-|o|-|-|-|
 
e|-------------------------------------8-10-12-|
B|-----------------------------8-10-12---------|
G|----------------------7-9-11-----------------|
D|---------------7-9-10------------------------|
A|--------7-9-10-------------------------------|
E|-7-8-10--------------------------------------|
 
 
C Lydian 1-2-3-#4-5-6-7
 
e |-|-|o|-|o|-|o|
B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-|
G |-|o|-|o|p|-|-|
D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-|
A |-|o|o|-|o|-|-|
E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
 
e|------------------------------------------10-12-14-|
B|---------------------------------10-12-13----------|
G|-------------------------9-11-12-------------------|
D|-----------------9-10-12---------------------------|
A|---------9-10-12-----------------------------------|
E|-8-10-12-------------------------------------------|
 
 
D Mixolydian 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7
 
e |-|-|o|-|o|o|-|
B |-|-|o|o|-|o|-|
G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-|
D |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-|
 
e|----------------------------------------------12-14-15-|
B|-------------------------------------12-13-12----------|
G|----------------------------11-12-14-------------------|
D|-------------------10-12-14----------------------------|
A|----------10-12-14-------------------------------------|
E|-10-12-14----------------------------------------------|
 
  
E Aeolian/Minor 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7
 
e |-|o|-|o|o|-|-|
B |-|o|o|-|o|-|-|
G |o|o|-|o|-|-|-|
D |-|o|-|o|-|-|-|
A |-|o|-|o|o|-|-|
E |-|o|-|o|o|-|-|
 
e|-------------------------------------------12-14-15-|
B|----------------------------------12-13-15----------|
G|-------------------------11-12-14-------------------|
D|-------------------12-14----------------------------|
A|----------12-14-15----------------------------------|
E|-12-14-15-------------------------------------------|
 
 
F# Locrian 1-b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7
 
e |o|o|-|o|-|-|-|
B |-|o|-|o|-|-|-|
G |o|-|o|o|-|-|-|
D |o|-|o|o|-|-|-|
A |o|o|-|o|-|-|-|
E |o|o|-|o|-|-|-|
 
e|-------------------------------------------14-15-17-|
B|-------------------------------------15-17----------|
G|----------------------------14-16-17----------------|
D|-------------------14-16-17-------------------------|
A|----------14-15-17----------------------------------|
E|-14-15-17-------------------------------------------|
So there you have it you can move these shapes to apply to any key and they all fit together as you see. I don't think I made any mistakes but then again it is 12 at night, so my e-mail address: chasevsgodzilla@gmail.com chow amigos! \M/Keep It Metal\M/

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    kratos379
    Remember there's more to modes than just starting and ending on a different note than the root of the major scale. It has to resolve to the new root.
    rockingamer2
    You've basically given modal names to box shapes of the major scale. But all you are playing is the major scale. You can associate the shapes with names, but don't claim that you are actually playing modes. If you are playing in G major, you are playing in G major. If you start the scale on A, you are NOT in fact playing A Dorian, you are still in the key of G major.
    Nikkorico_03
    BledGhostWhite wrote: Pardon my complete ignorance regarding theory, as I've never taken lessons, but say I was playing in the scale of A major, then would these scales still be the same, but moved up a key? So the Dorian would be in B? Basically what I'm asking, is if I follow these blueprints, I could find, say, any Mixolydian scale, based on the key of my Major scale? I hope I'm making sense. Thanks in advance.
    Yep exactly.
    BledGhostWhite
    Pardon my complete ignorance regarding theory, as I've never taken lessons, but say I was playing in the scale of A major, then would these scales still be the same, but moved up a key? So the Dorian would be in B? Basically what I'm asking, is if I follow these blueprints, I could find, say, any Mixolydian scale, based on the key of my Major scale? I hope I'm making sense. Thanks in advance.
    MetalNova
    kratos379 wrote: Remember there's more to modes than just starting and ending on a different note than the root of the major scale. It has to resolve to the new root.
    rockingamer2 wrote: You've basically given modal names to box shapes of the major scale. But all you are playing is the major scale. You can associate the shapes with names, but don't claim that you are actually playing modes. If you are playing in G major, you are playing in G major. If you start the scale on A, you are NOT in fact playing A Dorian, you are still in the key of G major.
    Then please explain and enlighten us all
    martijnsurf
    e |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |o|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| say it if i'm wrong but Isn't this the ioian/major scale? (including the x's)
    i ment e |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| say it if i'm wrong but Isn't this the ioian/major scale? (including the x's)
    MetalNova
    martijnsurf wrote: e |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |o|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| say it if i'm wrong but Isn't this the ioian/major scale? (including the x's) i ment e |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| say it if i'm wrong but Isn't this the ioian/major scale? (including the x's)
    Yup that's the shape I have (Except for the x's). The x's are notes that are played on a previous string i.e. The x on the B string is the last note on the G (c).
    martijnsurf
    e |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |x|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |o|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| say it if i'm wrong but Isn't this the ioian/major scale? (including the x's)
    MetalNova
    Yes I agree on this however if you were to improvise over a ii-I-ii progression using the Dorian shape it would certainly resolve a lot better that your Ionian mode would as the progression is resolving to the Supertonic (ii), also they are great for improvsation and are often used. It also helps to have a shape to the name. For example if Paul Gilbert is explaining his exiting lick for Technical Difficulties and mentions the Phrygian scale then you know what he means. Am I right?
    rockingamer2
    As I already said, starting and ending on a different note in the major scale doesn't give you a modal sound. Beethoven's Fur Elise is in the key of Am, but the first note is E. Does this mean that it's in E Phyrigian? No, it doesn't. Playing modally means you have to have the resolution occur on the new note. Play any of those box shapes over a progression an I IV V progression in G, I guarantee you the most stable note (the root) will be the G. Why? Because it's in the key of G. Achieving a modal sound is usually done through a two chord vamp highlighting the color notes of the mode. Another method is using a drone note. For a much better and more detailed explanation, check out the "The Modal Approach" and the "Ultimate Guide to Guitar." They are both here on UG.
    Viking.sw
    I liked this, thx. Reading the comments it appears the only thing missing was a note that G Major starts on the third fret. This would have removed some of the confusion. Otherwise, well done & keep it up.
    MetalNova
    e |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| ^ isn't that an F not F#
    No that's the G Ionian mode (Major Mode) so there are no F's just F#
    gnomegod
    MarshallGreve18 wrote: e |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| ^ isnt that an F not F#
    hes starting on the 3rd fret. i had to look at it twice myself. look at tab and the o's relate to the tab he provides.
    MarshallGreve18
    e |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| ^ isnt that an F not F#
    krypticguitar87
    MarshallGreve18 wrote: e |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| ^ isnt that an F not F#
    no man thats just how you write the chart... it doesn't specify a fret to start on because the shape is moveable, meaning you can start on any fret.the E A D G B e is just there to specify the string.
    toastrdan
    Thanks I've never learned the name of these modes ?just as long the shape is the same and no matter what octave, the mode stays the same just as long as it is in the same key? e |-|-|o|-|o|-|o| B |-|-|o|-|o|o|-| G |-|o|-|o|p|-|-| D |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| A |-|o|o|-|o|-|-| E |o|-|o|-|o|-|-| if i was to start on the D string of this shape that would be the Phyrgian mode? (O____o)
    slowlybilly
    Uhm...no...Actually...If you're using modes you should be playing a modal piece of music...so you're mode would be the key...For instance, in modal music, you're in E aeolian, or F# locrian. Not G major. Your chords and melodies will all emphasize this. G major is used for tonal music. Which is more common here. Other than that the information on the modes seems to be accurate enough, even though those aren't the shapes I use. Good lesson.