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Modes On Guitar

Attention all players, here is a really great way to look at Modes on Guitar (also called scales) that will help open up your patterns and interconnect the fretboard.

This pattern is based on three notes per string. The symmetry allows for ease and facility of playing, fitting into the time of the music naturally, and of course, lightning fast riffs.

We are going to break down all the scales derived from the key of C Major. First you start with Ionian, which is spelled C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. What people don't realize is that this simple major scale has another name "Ionian". When you take the same set of notes from D to D, you have the dorian scale, and so on. The 7 main scales with starting notes are: C-Ionian, D-Dorian, E-Phrygian, F-Lydian, G-Myxolydian, A-Aeolean, and B-Locrian, just depending on which note you start from.

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In this exercise, notice that we are adding a D note at the top of the Ionian (Major) scale. This is very critical because it allows you to keep the three notes per string pattern but does not change the character of the scale. If anything, it enhances the sound by creating a "jazz ninth" effect. You will carry this logic up through the scales adding a high E note on top of the Dorian Scale and so on.

Next is the Dorian Scale Which can be thought of as a Natural Minor scale with a sharp 6th scale degree. Here you are starting from the 7th fret on the g string. You can see the pattern you are just starting one note higher on the G string and playing nine consecutive notes of the C Major scale in the same three note per string pattern.

What I do is two times up and down each scale all the way up to the high C Ionian scale (on the 17th fret) and then all the way back down.

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