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Lyle Ronglien >> Understanding Modes >>

Understanding The Modes - part 5

lesson sample

Lyle: In this lesson you'll learn several modal examples against different situations. Let's start with the E Ionian mode.

Lyle: The Ionian mode is the major scale.

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: If you have a major chord to jam with like in this jam track (Emaj to Amaj chords), try the E Ionian mode. Here's a simple riff using this mode pattern.

Lyle: Learn the scale pattern that I showed you and the lick and play them along to the jam track. Try improvising on your own with it.

Lyle: Now let's try something different, the B Mixolydian mode which is just like a B major scale with a b7 in it. (1-2-3-4-5-6-b7)

Lyle: Remember, the Mixolydian mode is the 5th mode of a major scale, so B Mixolydian is the 5th mode in the E major scale. You can play this mode over the last jam track, or use this new one:

Looping Sound Clip 2

Lyle: Here's a riff using the new jam track and the B mixolydian mode:

Lyle: Moving on to another example, here's E Dorian minor mode:

Lyle: The E Dorian is the 2nd mode in the D major scale. The formula for a Dorian is: 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7. Use this jam track to play along with:

Looping Sound Clip 3

Lyle: Here's a riff using the E Dorian mode:

Lyle: Remember, all of these mode patterns are moveable to different places on the fretboard, just like when you move a pentatonic pattern.

Lyle: Let's try another Dorian, this time a G Dorian:

Lyle: Use this jam track to play around with the G dorian:

Looping Sound Clip 4

Lyle: I'd like to move along now to the E Lydian mode. The Lydian is like a major scale but with a raised 4th, (1-2-3-#4-5-6-7). The Lydian is the 4th mode of a major scale. E Lydian is the 4th mode in a B major scale.

Lyle: Here's a jam track for the Lydian mode:

Looping Sound Clip 5

Lyle: Here's lick you can try:


Lyle: I'm sending a couple riffs that are from the E Lydian mode. These are also taken from the new Lick of the Day CD-ROM called Progressive Rock Guitarists.


JerryO: What effects you are using, a delay and what else?

Lyle: The effects are delay and chorus.

Lyle: Let's try another mode, the Phrygian. The Phrygian is the 3rd mode of a major scale. This example is an F# Phrygian:

Lyle: You'll need this new jam track:

Looping Sound Clip 6

Lyle: The Phrygian's formula is: 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7. So F# Phrygian is really just the 3rd mode of the D major scale. Here's a lick you can learn:

Lyle: Let's go to another mode now, the E Mixolydian:

Lyle: Here's a new jam track for the E mixolydian:

Looping Sound Clip 7

Lyle: The E mixolydian is the 5th mode in the A major scale.

Lyle: Remember, the Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian are the 1-4-5 modes. Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian are the 2-3-6 modes, and the Locrian mode is the 7th mode of a major scale.

Lyle: The 1-4-5 modes are major, the 2-3-6 and 7th modes are minor.

swen: How do you know what modes to play over a chord or a progression?

Lyle: Good question, I covered that in earlier lessons. If you have a jam on a E major chord, you could play any of the modes related to the E major scale, E Ionian, F# Dorian, G# Phrygian, A Lydian, B Mixolydian, C# Aeolian, and D# Locrian.

JerryO: So then G# Dorian is the 2nd mode in the key of F# major?

Lyle: Yes, very good!

Lyle: What is good to memorize is the major scales in all keys. Then sit down and write out the name of the notes in each major scale. Make a list and compare all the scales that have #s verses the ones that have flats.

Lyle: That's the end of this series. Hope you had some fun and learned some things too! If you would like further study on this topic or any other topic, email me at for info on how you can get your own customized guitar lessons like this using Riff Interactive technology. Your private lessons can be downloaded to your pc for anytime, anywhere study. I can even teach you how to play your favorite songs! Thanks and see you at the next lesson. - Lyle

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