Introduction to Guitar Scale Modes

Scale IntroductionIf you want to know how to apply guitar scale modes into your playing, then you’ve come to the right place. But first, you have to know what mode is.

Understanding guitar scale modes is one of the most difficult concepts for most guitarists who are new to music theory. So before you get a proper introduction to guitar scale modes, make sure to understand what modes are and how they are created.

If you haven’t had any background from playing guitar scale modes, then you have to start learning how to play them.

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The hardest part of playing guitar scale modes is the names. Let’s face it, memorizing gives most guitar players a headache. But the reason why most guitarists find memorizing a difficult task is because they remember the scales according to the notes.

A mode is a diatonic scale that has 7 notes. The function of these notes is the starting point, which is commonly known as the root or tonic.

In general, there are seven types of modes and all of them are named after Greeks. These modes are Ionian mode, Dorian mode, Phrygian mode, Lydian mode, Mixolydian mode, Aeolian mode, and Locrian mode.

Although these modes can be quite hard to memorize, still you should learn how to play guitar scales like these as they can add vocabulary to your soloing.

The Ionian mode

Most guitar players are already familiar with Ionian mode but oftentimes, they find it confusing to recognize. The Ionian Mode is commonly known as the major scale. The major scale can be played all over the chords in a major key.

The Mixolydian mode

This is associated with the 5th, dominant 7, chord in the major system. It is created by lowering the 7th degree of the major scale. The Mixolydian mode can also be played over a dominant 7th chord, also used in jazz bar blues progressions.

The Dorian mode

This is associated with the 2nd chord, the minor, in the major system like Dm in C major. The Dorian mode extends the Mixolydian mode by adding a lowered 3 degree to the lowered 7th degree. It is also played over an ii-V chord progression, such as Gm, and C7 in F major.

The Lydian mode

This mode is associated with the 4th chord, major, in the major system, such as Fmaj7 in C major. It is formed by raising the 4th degree of the major scale. This mode is played over an IV major chord, which is normally just Maj7 chord. If you learn how to apply guitar scale modes into your playing by using Lydian, you will be able to produce an eastern style to the major chord.

The Aeolian mode

This is associated with the 6th chord, minor, in the major system, such as Am in C major. The Aeolian mode extends the Dorian mode by adding a lowered 6th degree into the 7th and lowered 3rd degree. If you know how to apply guitar scale modes into your playing by means of the Aeolian mode, you will create a more classical minor sound, which most music enthusiasts love to hear.

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