How To Use Guitar Modes – Part 2 – Going Parallel

In part 1 of How To Use Guitar Modes, we looked at using modes on the guitar over a chord progression, by finding the key center. In summary, staying diatonic requires finding the key center or key centers of a chord progression, and using that key center to determine which modes go over certain chords. In this lesson, we are going to go parallel. Going parallel refers to a concept discussed in the lesson, guitar modes explained, which looks a each mode in its own right, separate from other modes or keys. Basically, using this approach, when we see a chord, we say in theory that there are a … [Read more...]

How To Use Guitar Modes – Part 1 – Staying Diatonic

How do you use modes? It can take a lot of practice to understand modes and be able to play the shapes fluently by memory. Once you are starting to get on top of the basics, a greater challenge beckons - Using them in a music situation. This requires a broader understanding of modes. In this two-part lesson on using modes, we are going to look at the basics of using modes over a chord progression. There are two approaches that we are going to explore in this lesson: Staying Diatonic ¬†Going Parallel … [Read more...]

Functional Harmony – The Relationship Between Chords And Modes

Understanding and using modes on the guitar is very important. It takes many hours of practice memorizing the positions, analyzing qualities of each scale and digesting all the theory that goes with it. It's important to realize however, that an understanding of modes is not really complete without a good understanding of how they relate to diatonic chords. Chords and scales are very closely linked and a strong understanding of chords aids the use of scales and visa versa. In this post we are going to explore how modes relate to the diatonic chords of a major scale. Firstly, I'm assuming … [Read more...]

Guitar Modes Explained – A Complete Guide in Theory and Practice to Understanding Modes

One of the things I find hardest to teach to guitar students is modes. The concept of modes is actually not hard to understand, but it is a hard thing to explain in person. There are a few key concepts in modes theory that seem at first to contradict each other, or at least 'get in the way' of each other when trying to explain it in conversation. In written format, or more specifically blog-style written format, the task of explanation becomes quite simple and easy. For example, I can quite easily mention the Ab major scale, or the Lydian mode, or mention that F Dorian and Bb Mixolydian are … [Read more...]

Phrygian Mode Explained – A Complete Guide In Theory And Practice

The Phrygian mode is the 3rd mode of the major scale. It has a 'flat 2', 'flat 3', 'flat 6' and 'flat 7'. In this post we are going to look at how to construct the phrygian mode and explain what it is. To understand the Phrygian mode, just like any other mode, you need to understand the concept of major scales. This means you need to know what a major scale is, what it sounds like and how to construct it. Read the post on major scales if you need to brush up on any of this theory. … [Read more...]

What is the Dorian mode?

UPDATE - For a comprehensive guide to the Dorian mode, please read the post Dorian Mode Explained. Once you have a basic understanding of major scales and how to manipulate them in order to play modes, you will want to start getting familiar with each of the 7 modes. The first mode is the Ionian mode. This is simply a major scale. Therefor, whenever you play a major scale, you are in fact playing the Ionian mode. … [Read more...]