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Lyle Ronglien >> Understanding Modes >>

Understanding The Modes - part 4

lesson sample

Lyle: Here's your first jam track:

Looping Sound Clip 1

Lyle: D9 is the chord used in the jam track.

Lyle: The D9 chord is in the same group as D7, which are called "dominant" chords. They are built from the 1-3-5-b7. D9 is 1-3-5-b7-9. In the tab above, the 5th is left out.

Lyle: Who can tell me what mode would work over this chord?

Don: D Mixolydian?

JerryO: Phrygian?

Lyle: D Mixolydian is right! The Mixolydian mode is like a major scale, but with a flatted 7th. 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7

Lyle: Here's another pattern:

Lyle: Here's an example of how this mode sounds with the jam:

Lyle: For many guitarists, they would just use the D minor pentatonic scale to come up with licks. The advantage of using modes is it forces you to explore new areas on the neck and develop a new sound for yourself. Here's another example of the D mixolydian:

Lyle: Notice that lick 2 isn't fast or hard to play, but it just sounds unlike anything you might normally play using a pentatonic pattern!

Lyle: Pop Quiz.....What major scale does the D Mixolydian belong to?

Tom: Dm?

Rhinosaur: G?

JerryO: G?

eddie: A?

eric: G?

Lyle: G is right!

Don: What are some ways to find my own new sounds?

Lyle: Don, play your licks and scales backwards, in a completely different order than what you're used to.

Lyle: The Major key of G supports the D mixolydian mode. So you can play the G major scale over the jam too!

Lyle: Here's a lick using the G major scale:

Lyle: So, our jam is over a D9 chord which is the 5 chord in the key of G major, you can use all the modes in the key of G to solo or improvise with.

Lyle: The 2nd mode in the key of G is the A Dorian minor mode:

Lyle: It's just like playing the G major scale starting on the 2nd and ending on the 9th within the key of G, going from A to A within the G major scale.

Lyle: The 3rd mode in the key of G is....?

JerryO: Phygian

Don: b phrygian

ginger: phryg

Lyle: Sharp class! Yes, the B Phrygian minor...!

Lyle: The 4th mode would be C Lydian, the 5th mode is our D Mixolydian, the 6th mode is the E Aeolian, and the 7th mode would be the F# Locrian.

Fletch: Mixolydian is the relative minor, right?

Lyle: Fletch, the 6th mode is the relative minor, E Aeolian is the "relative" minor in the key of G major. Just count back or down 3 frets from the major scale root to find it.

eric: teach, there is a pattern to find the chord for any key?

Lyle: eric, yes,

Lyle: Take the notes of a major scale, there will be 7 of them. Let's use G major - G-A-B-C-D-E-F#. The formula or pattern to the chords that harmonize with it is: Maj-min-min-Maj-Dom-min-minb5. So in the key of G you have: G-Am-Bm-C-D7-Em-F#mb5.

Lyle: Let's change keys a little bit, here's a new jam track, same groove, but this time using two chords: E7 and G7:

Looping Sound Clip 2

Lyle: Same rules as before, but two new keys to move around with. You'll play an E mixolydian for 4 bars, then G mixolydian for 4 bars, like this:

Lyle: Ok, let's see if I can pull this next trick off. Load this jam track now:

Looping Sound Clip 3

Lyle: This jam track has the last tab file looped in it, the E and G mixolydian modes. If you go up a 3rd inside each mode, you can harmonize with the last jam track. Check out this tab file, it will show you:

Lyle: Here's an audio sample of where I'm going with this:

sample E7 to G7

Lyle: Here's a new jam track with 2 harmony guitar parts in it:

Looping Sound Clip 5

So during this part, you are playing in two keys, E7 which is the 5 chord of A and G7 - the 5 chord in C. So you can play the respective Dorian modes over this jam:

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. 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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