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A Way To Think about Modes Which Actually Makes Sense!



That dreaded word that strikes fear into most guitar players!

Modes are probably the most misunderstood, confusing and bady explained

topic that we have to deal with as guitarists.

Like most guitar players I was confused about them for years…until I started to think of them like this…




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Modes! What Is a Mode?

Probably the thing that confuses more guitar players than anything else.

So what are the modes? In The Mystery of Modes Part 1 I’ll explain what a mode is, how to think of them and where the modes come from.


Here’s a breakdown of what you learn in this video:

0:40 So what is a mode?

The most basic definition is that ‘mode’ is simply another name for a scale.
To be more exact a mode is a scale which comes from another scale. The scale the mode comes from is called the ‘parent scale’. So you can almost think of a mode as a ‘kid’ or ‘child’ of the parent scale!

1:02 The mode will contain the exact same notes as the parent scale just in a different order. So what’s the difference then? If the notes are the same then aren’t they the exact same thing? Well not exactly – let’s look at that next.

1:18 Using the G major scale as the parent scale we’re going to build some modes. The notes in the G major scale are: G A B C D E F#.
You can use the same group of notes but think of A as the root. Now we have the same notes but we’re thinking of them as some sort of A scale. This ‘A scale’ is a ‘mode’ of the G major scale. We’ve recycled the G scale notes into an A scale.

2:07 If we do this starting on each note of the G major scale then we get 6 new scales. We get a scale starting on A, B ,C,D,E and F#. We’ve created a new scale starting on each note of the original ‘parent’ scale.

2:23 These new scales are the ‘children’ of the parent scale, or the ‘modes of the G major scale’.

2:42 The modes each have their own names such as Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aelian and Locrian…but don’t worry about that yet! This is all in the next video. Later we’ll also look at how to use the modes in your soloing and how to pick which one to play.
Watch Part 2 of ‘The Mystery of Modes’


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