Pulling Apart the Major Scale

We all know our modes in major key to be able to play across the neck, but how can we break it down even further?

Pulling Apart the Major Scale
10
Hello there UG community, and before you get ahead of yourselves this is not some generic lesson on all the modes as they are misunderstood, but it is something I don't see taught very often and I don't come across any material covering this concept and that is using arpeggios that we find inside of scales. So we know the order of the modes in key - C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aeolian, B Locrian. Chosen for C major because what example isn't? Then we have out knowledge of chords progressions, Major-Minor-Minor-Major-Major-Minor-Diminished in major key. And an arpeggio is a chord with its notes picked out so the progression applies to those too. If any of these concepts are alien to you I recommend looking up lessons on UG covering them in detail as there are too many to count, so now onto the lesson Here we have C Ionian (major) in 2 octaves. Fig. 1
e|-------------------------5-7-8
B|-------------------5-6-8------
G|-------------4-5-7------------
D|-------3-5-7------------------
A|-3-5-7------------------------
E|------------------------------
Nothing very remarkable about this scale, but now let's break it up into it's arpeggios so we can maybe understand how to use it more musically. Fig. 2
  C           Dm             Em          F            
  E  E  E  E  E  E  E  E     E  E  E  E  E  E  E  E   
--------------------------|--------------------------|
--------------------------|--------------------------|
--------------------------|--------4-----------5-----|
--------5--------3--7--3--|-----5-----5--3--7-----7--|
--3--7-----7--5-----------|--7-----------------------|
--------------------------|--------------------------|

  G           Am             Bdim          C            
  E  E  E  E  E  E  E  E     E    E  E  E  E  E  E  E   
--------------------------|----------------------------|
--------------------5-----|----------6--------5--8--5--|
-----4--7--4-----5-----5--|--4----7-----7--5-----------|
--5-----------7-----------|----------------------------|
--------------------------|----------------------------|
--------------------------|----------------------------|
OK, so there we have all of our arpeggios in C major played in the scale, we can play them up and down and make exercises in each scale, and we can further use them over chords and for filler in rhythmic playing. I feel it is important for guitarists to know where the arpeggios are for use in playing or writing instead of playing generic scale runs and not getting anywhere. I will list the rest of the scales in key with their arpeggios in position so that it's there and easy to get right first time then I will have a simple application example in G major at the end (excuse the guitar pro export of the arpeggios, it would be too painful to type them out :P) Fig. 3. D Dorian (minor tonality)
e|---------------------------7-8-10
B|--------------------6-8-10-------
G|-------------6-8-10--------------
D|-------5-7-9---------------------
A|-5-7-8---------------------------
E|---------------------------------

 Dm          Em             F           G             
  E  E  E  E  E  E  E  E     E  E  E  E  E  E  E  E   
--------------------------|--------------------------|
--------------------------|--------------------------|
--------------------------|--------5-----------7-----|
--------7--------5--9--5--|-----7-----7--5--9-----9--|
--5--8-----8--7-----------|--8-----------------------|
--------------------------|--------------------------|

  Am          Bdim             C           Dm              
  E  E  E  E  E    E  E  E     E  E  E  E  E   E   E   E   
----------------------------|-----------------------------|
----------------------6-----|--------8------------10------|
-----5--9--5-------7-----7--|--5--9-----9--7--10------10--|
--7-----------9-------------|-----------------------------|
----------------------------|-----------------------------|
----------------------------|-----------------------------|
Fig. 4. E Phrygian (minor tonality)
e|------------------------------8-10-12
B|----------------------8-10-12--------
G|---------------7-9-10----------------
D|--------7-9-10-----------------------
A|-7-8-10------------------------------
E|-------------------------------------

 Emin            F                G           Am              
  E     E  E   E  E  E   E  E      E  E  E  E  E   E  E   E   
-------------------------------|-----------------------------|
-------------------------------|-----------------------------|
-------------------------------|---------7------------9------|
-----------9---------7--10--7--|------9-----9--7--10-----10--|
--7----10-----10--8------------|--10-------------------------|
-------------------------------|-----------------------------|

  Bdim            C              Dm             Em              
  E    E   E  E   E  E  E  E     E   E   E   E  E   E   E   E   
------------------------------|--------------------------------|
------------------------8-----|---------10-------------12------|
-------7--10--7------9-----9--|--7--10------10--9--12------12--|
--9--------------10-----------|--------------------------------|
------------------------------|--------------------------------|
------------------------------|--------------------------------|
Fig. 5. F Lydian (major tonality)
e|----------------------------------10-12-13
B|-------------------------10-12-13---------
G|-----------------9-10-12------------------
D|---------9-10-12--------------------------
A|-8-10-12----------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------

  F               G                Am            Bdim              
  E   E   E   E   E  E   E  E      E   E  E   E  E     E   E   E   
-------------------------------|----------------------------------|
-------------------------------|----------------------------------|
-------------------------------|----------9---------------10------|
---------10----------9--12--9--|------10-----10--9----12------12--|
--8--12------12--10------------|--12------------------------------|
-------------------------------|----------------------------------|

   C             Dm                Em              F               
   E  E   E  E   E   E   E   E     E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   
--------------------------------|---------------------------------|
------------------------10------|---------12----------10--13--10--|
------9--12--9------10------10--|--9--12------12--10--------------|
--10------------12--------------|---------------------------------|
--------------------------------|---------------------------------|
--------------------------------|---------------------------------|
Fig. 6. G Mixolydian (major tonality)
e|-------------------------------------12-13-15
B|----------------------------12-13-15---------
G|-------------------10-12-14------------------
D|----------10-12-14---------------------------
A|-10-12-14------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------

 G               Am                 Bdim             C                 
   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E      E    E   E   E   E   E   E   E   
----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|-----------10--------------12------|
----------12----------10--14--10--|-------12------12--10--14------14--|
--10--14------14--12--------------|--14-------------------------------|
----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|

   Dm              Em                 F               G               
   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E      E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   
----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
--------------------------12------|----------13----------12--15--12--|
------10--14--10------12------12--|--10--14------14--12--------------|
--12--------------14--------------|----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
Fig. 7. A Aeolian (Natural Minor)
e|-------------------------------------13-15-17
B|----------------------------13-15-17---------
G|-------------------12-14-16------------------
D|----------12-14-15---------------------------
A|-12-14-15------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------

  Am              Bdim                C               Dm               
   E   E   E   E   E    E   E   E      E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   
-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|----------12--------------14------|
----------14-----------12--15--12--|------14------14--12--15------15--|
--12--15------15--14---------------|--15------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|

   Em              F                  G               Am              
   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E      E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   
----------------------------------|--------------------------15------|
--------------------------13------|----------15------13--17------17--|
------12--16--12------14------14--|--12--16------16------------------|
--14--------------15--------------|----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
Fig. 8. B Locrian (Diminished tonality) This scale can be repeated starting on the second fret.
e|-------------------------------------15-17-19
B|----------------------------15-17-18---------
G|-------------------14-16-17------------------
D|----------14-15-17---------------------------
A|-14-15-17------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------

   Bdim             C                  Dm              Em              
   E    E   E   E   E   E   E   E      E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   
-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|----------14--------------16------|
-----------15----------14--17--14--|------15------15--14--17------17--|
--14---17------17--15--------------|--17------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|----------------------------------|

   F               G                  Am              Bdim             
   E   E   E   E   E   E   E   E      E   E   E   E   E    E   E   E   
----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
--------------------------15------|----------17-----------15--18--15--|
------14--17--14------16------16--|--14--17------17--16---------------|
--15--------------17--------------|-----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
I know this was a painfully long read and might be difficult to get in but it is worth it to go back and get them all in position, and now for my promised example, following the chord progression G-D-Em-C, the D takes an F# on the B string which I liked for moving into the Em. Fig. 9
e|----------------------------------------
B|------------7-----8---------------------
G|------4---4--------------9----------9-12
D|----------------9----------------10-----
A|----5---5-----7-------10---10-12--------
E|-3------------------8-------------------
Alright then, that's it for this lesson, figure 9 played with quavers (8th notes). Any comments and feedback please comment, any advice to make future lessons better please feel free.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Headshot360k
    This is fantastic! I've learned about arpeggios, scales, modes, etc...but this is exactly what I needed to put them into physical practice and actually use them in my playing, great job!
    micdouglass
    this is great. getting me out of the box. whats the next lesson to follow this one?
    Sir_Taffey
    Next out the box lesson to follow will be more chord based (still working on arpeggios in it ) I'll get started on it today actually, then I'm thinking more fun scalar stuff
    Sir_Taffey
    Just a note for everybody, the shapes are a sequence in key, so if you start with the dorian shape on C, then follow all the shapes in the repeating sequence, voila, you are playing in C dorian, and you can do that for C Phrygian and so on, THAT is modal playing and you can really get creative with that, I'll have another lesson focusing on scales