Guitars101 - Guitar Forums banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heyas ppls
Well, here I am getting enthusiastic again about playing thanks to this awesome forum and I am wanting to stretch my lead/solo techniques further. Quite a few years ago I learned of modes and their use but I never really quite understood them. Best way I understand them is in the following example:

If someone is jamming say... in the key of C, with a progression of say... C, Am, F, G... then I have some options for doing a few different modal patterns while I solo. Like I can use a C Ionian (major) scale, or an A Aeolian (which is essentially an A minor pentatonic), or I could go for a D Dorian? I think.

But realistically all the modes are just a variation on the original Ionion?

I am sure that in some cases I could play a C Phrygian or something over that C, Am, F, G progression and get away with it.. well, maybe not that particular progression but this is my problem.

How do I know what mode to use and when?

I am sure I am close to understanding modes just not quite. Help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Hey Lotness, Well for starters, you have to know all your modes off by heart and have to have a very quick mind. Secondly you have to have enough confidence in your knowledge of modes. Then you have to chose if your playing major or minor. Ionian is Major, Dorian Minor, Phrygian minor, Lydian Major, Mixolydian Major, Aeolian minor, and locrian is minor/diminished. If you were playing in C (maj) and you were planning on playing in a different mode, well, really the best way to understand it is by looking at this table

Mode Accidentals Start on (c major)
Ionian no sharps or flats C
Dorian b3, b7 D
Phrygian b2,b3,b6,b7 E
Lydian #4 F
Mixolydian b7 G
Aeolian b3,b6,b7 A
Locrian b2,b3,b5,b6,b7 B

So according to the table, E phrygian is a C major, starting and ending on E.
This is basicly what you have to do m8, but make sure that you do sharpen (#) and flatten (b) any notes that are necessary, or it's gunna sound quite off.


If you can't b ****d to learn them all, or if you forget them when playing, just stick to a relative minor. In this case Am.

Hope this helps
 

·
Crazy Admin
Joined
·
4,016 Posts
I think it's one thing to learn your modes , and it is important ,

but you have to use your ear. If your playing over a progression such as the one you mention you are realistically going to get away with using the notes and sounds your ear hears .

This is where i think alot of people go over board with modes , if your thinking B locrian (b2 , b3 , b5 , b6 , b7) over a I VI IV V progression (C Ami F G)

then your totally overthinking things !

try and expand on your major , natural minor and pentatonic ideas is my advice !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I understand about the major, minor thing though I do have trouble remembering flats and sharps. I'm more of a 'pattern' player. I 'see' the scales on the board. For example if I am in the key of 'A' I can play an A major scale no sweat and play it all up and down the fretboard. Or I can play an A Aeolian up and down the fretboard, it's all just the same notes repeated over and over.

Modes just seem sorta ... redundant... that's what I am not understanding I guess.

What about some examples of chord progressions and what modes work over them. I'm still confused.

Ok, I just had an epiphany I think. A mode is just another way of saying what scale you are playing in a certain place on the neck.

Like, if I am playing a C Major scale and I switch to an A Aeolian, it's still a C Major scale just I am starting it on the root A note (for example, fifth fret on 6th string). Or I can play a G Mixolydian (which again is just a C Major scale) starting on a root note of G.

Because if that's the case why have modes? It's more common sense to say if I am playing in the key of C then just play those particular notes (C major scale) wherever you want on the neck. Or is it just a way of identifying the 'pattern' of the scales?

Or... ooh, another epiphany I think. If I song progression is say.. C, Am, F, G... then realistically over the A minor I could play an A Aeolian OR an D Dorian OR an E Phyrigian.. because they're all minors to the key of C?

Could I also play an A Dorian over the A minor? Seeing as the A Dorian would be a minor in the key of G major? Or am I just confusing myself now?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Im no master of modes myself, but i think i can help you a little bit. In terms of working a progression over a cmaj. scale, i think that it is more important to make the cmaj. scale sound like the mode you want it to. This means that you must stress using the notes of the mode you want to use that are within the cmaj. scale. For example, its very easy to make a cmaj. scale sound like it is locrian by using the B Locrian mode especially when using half-step spacing (intervals) between notes.

When improving/soloing over the progression you gave, which was C, Am, F, and G chords, you are going to use a major mode/scale for C, a minor mode/scale for Am, a major mode/scale for F and a major mode/scale for G. This can be used in modal jams when playing with guys like Joe Satriani who use modes like crazy, but modes dont have to be used at all. You can just solo over cmaj. and or make the cmaj. scale sound like the mode you want as i said before.

The real beauty of the modes, though comes with modal interchange/pitch-axis theory, which i might add that there is an excellent article on in this section of the forums. Anyway, modal interchange. With this theory you can basically change to a different mode according to what type of chord you are using ( Major, minor, or diminished). For example, soloing over your progression, you could change to say C mixolydian when playing over Cmaj., then a minor mode for Am that is in the key of C or Am etc. etc.

I hope you get the idea and hope that this helps. Just remember to go with the feel and guitar theory is only THEORY. Theory is not always right and "wrong notes" can sound awsome with good phrasing tech.:biggthump :biggthump
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
yes, but if you're practicing them diatonically, C Ionain, D Dorian, E Phrygian, you're not hearing the sounds of the modes, really.

Its better to practice them, C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phrygian, then you will actually hear the different qaulities of the modes.

just something to keep in mind when you're practicing your modes.

The best advice I can give you is to memorize your major scale.
and from there, just memorize which interval will give you the qaulity you desire.
Like raising the 4th will make it Lydian. flattening the 3rd and 7th will give ya Dorian.

basically, just memorize all your major scale positions, and then memorize each mode as a major scale with an altered degree (or more), giving the mode a certain flavor. But is it still basically a major scale at heart, with just a few notes shifted here or there.


all modes are is a major scale with certain degrees raised or lowered to give it a new sound.

memorize those degrees, and you can switch between modes effortlessly.

they are:

Ionain - no sharps or flats.
if you want lydian - raise the 4th
if you want Mixolydian, flatten the 7th
if you want Dorian, flatten the 3rd and 7th
if you want Natural Minor, flatten the 3rd, 6th, and 7th.
if you want Phrygian flatten the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th
if you want Locrian, flatten the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th degrees.

If you have that memorized, and also know several ways to play a major scale, you can play any mode you want in, on the spot, just by changing some notes in the major scale around.

this is where memorization comes in handy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ah ok. So I can realistically play any mode over say a C Major scale and what the mode essentially does is 'colour' or set the 'tone' of the lead/solo. With particular modes being more appropriate over certain chords in certain keys because of their minor/major/etc status. I think I understand now.

You're certainly right. I shall have to start practicing all the modes in one key instead of doing it diatonically which is what I have been doing. As you said I wasn't hearing the full flavour of the modes.

I do remember the order of the modes pretty easily, and from that I can fairly quickly identify major or minor tonality. That's one good thing from learning my chord theory.

For anyone who wants to remember the order of the modes, this little.. phrase? works well.

If Dora Plays Like Me All's LOst

which of course leads to Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Myxolydian, Aeolian, Locrian. Pretty easy really. And as far as the major minor stuff goes. I just think of it as C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, etc.. which matches in with my chord theory of
1 2 3 - 4 5 6 7 - 8
C D E F G A B C
M m m M M m dim (M-Major, m-minor, and dim-diminished)

I think it's dimished? laf.. been a while since I taught any chord theory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Lotness said:
Ah ok. So I can realistically play any mode over say a C Major scale and what the mode essentially does is 'colour' or set the 'tone' of the lead/solo. With particular modes being more appropriate over certain chords in certain keys because of their minor/major/etc status. I think I understand now.

You're certainly right. I shall have to start practicing all the modes in one key instead of doing it diatonically which is what I have been doing. As you said I wasn't hearing the full flavour of the modes.

I do remember the order of the modes pretty easily, and from that I can fairly quickly identify major or minor tonality. That's one good thing from learning my chord theory.

For anyone who wants to remember the order of the modes, this little.. phrase? works well.

If Dora Plays Like Me All's LOst

which of course leads to Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Myxolydian, Aeolian, Locrian. Pretty easy really. And as far as the major minor stuff goes. I just think of it as C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, etc.. which matches in with my chord theory of
1 2 3 - 4 5 6 7 - 8
C D E F G A B C
M m m M M m dim (M-Major, m-minor, and dim-diminished)

I think it's dimished? laf.. been a while since I taught any chord theory.
no problem, I hope I helped ya out. Back in school, when teachers thought I was doing my work, I was really studying music theory, and since Im a guitarist, I have a guitarist view and use of theory. I've figured out the simplest and easiest ways to look at the stuff.

It's good to memorize the diatonic order of the modes:
Ionian, Dorian Phrygian etc etc etc,

and it's also well to memorize the modes as alterations of the major scale:
Ionian- no sharps or flats. Lydian, raised 4th. Mixolydian flat 7 etc etc etc....
you'll see they also go in a certain order too.

practice them both ways!!! get it down!!!!

Diminished is simply two minor 3rds stacked upon each other.
you could also look at it as 1-b3-b5.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, one last question -

Anybody have any good backing tracks for practicing the different modes over so I can really hear how they will apply? midi or mp3 would be kewl. Just let me know and we can priv message or something. I have yahoo/hotmail/etc.. so we can set up a transfer.

Anyway.. thanks for any and all help. It's been very informative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks! Will come in most handy. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Try playing all the modes in E, playing an open low E as a drone, that way you dont need any backing track and you can hear the differences easily. Try doing E lydian all over the neck with an E note ringing out and pretend you are Steve Vai, you can create some nice tunes messing around that way.
Then after you have mastered the major modes look into the melodic and harmonic minor modes and welcome to the land of jazzzzzz and fusion:eek:hnoes:
I gave up and stuck to the major modes and wrong notes and hope for the best , if you dont admit they are wrong notes nobody cares and as Paul Gilbert said, play them fast enough and who knows:Sylvia:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
And after you master the modes...

once you get the hang of modal playing over a given chord progression you can get all geeked out Ted Greene style and break the progression up into a series of "instances" of chord scales over which to play. Treating a single or perhaps two chords as tonal centers in and of themselves. That will create some great outside tones to the ear that may still hear C as the overal tonal center in the piece (in your case). Throw in the harmonic and melodic minor chord scales and your in for ages of fun! And always remember, it's the ears that matter most, listen listen and listen, then the ideas will come together!

good luck
Moe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
Get Frank Gambales "Modes Mystery No mode"
completely changed how I look at the fret board in regards to modes.
watch this DVD a couple of times and you will start to hear modes jump out at you when you are listening to songs.
He also gives great methods to jump in and out of modes based on a major scale.
For instance if you have a backing going on in C Lydian, by jumping to the 5th (G) and using the G major scale,......voila C lydian.
if you are going to play over a backing in A mixolydian. Jump up to the 4th (D) and play D major, which ==A mixolydian.
F# Phrygian? jump up to the 4th (B) and play B harmonic Minor. easier shapes and it opens up the fret board to you.
Scott Henderson teached modes this way as well ( but Gambales DVD really gets into it).
Harmonic and Melodic minors are (to me anyway) a lot more difficult to get a handle on but the major/minor modes will become clear as day to you from this DVD.
good luck
Nick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Thanks Ace

Thanks, I've been left in the dust by not understanding modes. After reading Ace's thread I wanna leave work early and head right for my 6 string, Thanks!

-Del
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
notes "outside" the scale

A while back I read a thread discussing the use of notes that are not within the scale, but I can't find it now, so I'm asking my question here (since it's somewhat related):
I approach music in a mathematical/logical way, so using a particular scale/mode over a set progression makes sense to me. So, when I hear folks talking about playing notes that are not in the scale but still sound good baffles me.
Are there any rules for when you can go outside the scale, or do I just have to learn by making "mistakes" that sound good with the chords?
Jack
 

·
Crazy Admin
Joined
·
4,016 Posts
jcowsert said:
A while back I read a thread discussing the use of notes that are not within the scale, but I can't find it now, so I'm asking my question here (since it's somewhat related):
I approach music in a mathematical/logical way, so using a particular scale/mode over a set progression makes sense to me. So, when I hear folks talking about playing notes that are not in the scale but still sound good baffles me.
Are there any rules for when you can go outside the scale, or do I just have to learn by making "mistakes" that sound good with the chords?
Jack
If you delve into improvisation theory deep enough, at the highest level you will find a "mathmatical" way to put any note over any chord. Some notes will never sound as good by themselves ie playing an F repeatedly over a C chord , but it's more how you resolve the tension of that sound . ie playing the F and resolving it to E . once you can master that idea (not easy) you can really play anything over anything. just have to learn to use that ear. Knowing the notes that "fit" as such is a great starting point.
 

·
Shredding it up!!!
Joined
·
1,185 Posts
AceMarshall said:
Its better to practice them, C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phrygian, then you will actually hear the different qaulities of the modes.
I gotta say thanks to you for pointing this out Ace, for some reason I hadn't thought to do it that way and i've been learning them diatonically:doh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Stiglar said:
If you delve into improvisation theory deep enough, at the highest level you will find a "mathmatical" way to put any note over any chord. Some notes will never sound as good by themselves ie playing an F repeatedly over a C chord , but it's more how you resolve the tension of that sound . ie playing the F and resolving it to E . once you can master that idea (not easy) you can really play anything over anything. just have to learn to use that ear. Knowing the notes that "fit" as such is a great starting point.
Thanks for the comments, stiglar, they were very helpful. It helps me put together some concepts I have heard in the past, but haven't made use of.
I'm going to experiment by going to some notes that create "tension", then resolve to something that fits the scale.
I downloaded Marty Friedman's video that was mentioned (in another thread, I think) and some of those concepts dovetail into what I was struggling with also.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top