Guitar Modes

guitar modes explained

Guitar Modes Explained


Modes on guitar (beloved of modern players like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai right back to Jazz guitar pioneers such as Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery) are simply put just the notes of a parent major scale (which itself is re-named the ionian mode) played from a point other than the first note of that major scale. So if you play the C major Scale from its second note (D) using the notes D E F G A B C and D you produce the D dorian mode.

guitar modes explained

The teachwombat materials give guitar teachers three printable handouts for each guitar mode.

The first sheet explains the guitar mode itself through one octave providing a scale formulae (on the left hand diagram) and suggesting a practical fingering (on the right)

The second and third sheets go on to extend the mode into two octaves and then to cover the whole range of the guitar neck encouraging your student to develop the mode over the entire neck of the guitar.

Below you can see some more material looking at modes on the guitar.

Ionian Modes for Guitar

Ionian Modes defined

The ionian mode is simply the major scale starting from (and ending on) the root (or first) note. Using a parent major scale of C the ionian mode would contain the notes C D E F G A B and C.

Dorian Modes for Guitar

The dorian Modes defined

The dorian mode is the major scale starting from (and ending on) the second note. Using a parent major scale of C a one octave dorian mode would contain the notes of D E F G A B C and D.
In the diagram below (which shows the fingering for a dorian mode of A through two octaves) the "parent" scale is G Major. The A dorian is produced from the G major scale because A is the second note of the G Major Scale (in the same way that D is the second note of the C Major Scale?)
It is very important when teaching your guitar students about modes to keep relating their construction back to the idea of their being a "parent" Major scale which defines and controls the whole process?guiar mode dorian
Another way of thinking about the dorian mode on guitar is to regard it as being a "natural minor scale with a raised 6th note"
Click the link to get a free copy of one of our sheets looking at a two octave dorian mode on the guitar and please consider helping us to spread the word about our site by sharing our free stuff with folks you know via Facebook and Twitter etc (thanks!)?

We also have another page that takes a more detailed approach to teaching the dorian mode on guitar.




modes on guitar


Phrygian Modes for Guitar

phrygian Modes defined

The phrygian mode is the major scale starting from (and ending on) its third note. Using a parent major scale of C a one octave phrygian mode would contain the notes of E F G A B C D and E.
guitar mode phrygian
Another way of thinking about the phrygian mode on guitar is to regard it as being a "natural minor scale with a flattened 2nd note"


lydian Modes for Guitar

Lydian Mode defined

The lydian mode is the major scale starting from (and ending on) its fourth note. Using a parent major scale of C a one octave lydian mode would contain the notes of F G A B C D E and F.

guitar modes lydian
It is also possible to think of the lydian mode on guitar as being a major scale with a raised fourth note

.



teaching guitar lesson plans

Mixolydian Modes for Guitar

mixolydian Modes defined

The mixolydian mode is the major scale starting from (and ending on) its fifth note. Using a parent major scale of C a one octave mixolydian mode would contain the notes of G A B C D E F and G.
the mixolydian mode on guitar
It is also possible to regard the mixolydian mode on guitar as being a major scale with a flattened seventh note

Aeolian Modes for Guitar

aeolian Modes defined

The aeolian mode is the major scale starting from (and ending on) its sixth note.
Using a parent major scale of C a one octave aeolian mode would contain the notes of A B C D E F G and A.
the aeolian mode on guitar
It is also possible to regard the aeolian mode for guitar as being a natural minor scale

Locrian Modes for Guitar

locrian Mode defined

The locrian mode is the major scale starting from (and ending on) its seventh note.
Using a parent major scale of C a one octave locrian mode would contain the notes of B C D E F G A and B.
locrian mode for guitar
It is also possible to regard the locrian guitar mode as being very wierd indeed!

Using Guitar Modes


It is beyond the scope of this page to go into much depth concerning the use of guitar modes by Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and othe legends like Joe Pass etc but hopefully you found some of this information useful?

Guitar teachers might like to look at the full range of guitar teacher's handouts avaliable from teachwombat which feature a full range of printable guitar modes . The material deals with much more than just modes for guitar.



If you did find this page useful then maybe you would like to share the material (and the website?) with your your friends who play or teach guitar?

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