A quick rundown of an easy way to view major scales, minor scales, and modes.
I've covered this briefly in Understanding and Choosing Modes, but I thought I should go ahead and show everyone one specifically how major scales, minor scales and modes work.
Today I am going to show you how learning only one pattern that covers 12 frets can instantly give you the ability to play ANY major scale, natural minor scale and each of the seven modes in ANY key! This is the one pattern method.
If it sounds to good to be true, it kind of is. This isn't the "proper" way to understand modes and such, but it does work. Let's get started.
Different names for the same thing:
Major or Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aoelian or Minor, and Locrian
Now that I've said it, you should know its only half-true. Here's why: One pattern (the major scale pattern), contains ALL of the above modes.
Is that confusing? If so, its okay. Just understand that the major scale pattern contains all of the above modes. So now lets learn the pattern that is so darn helpful.
One Pattern To Rule Them All
Here is the pattern, its twelve frets long and simply repeats as you go up further. Thats it, I'll explain it more in a second.
Alright, now that you see the pattern, all you have to do is play it. Let's get around to seeing the pattern in terms of modes.
Just paying the bills:
Major Scale or Ionian Mode
This is your standard scale, best served over a Major 7th chord. There is no difference between Major and Ionian. The root, or starting note, is labeled as "1".
Let's say you want a G major scale, simply start on G as the 1 in this pattern. Easy!
This scale is great for Minor 7th chords. Again, the root, or starting note, is labeled as "1".
Ah ha! I think you see the pattern! It's the same as before but the root starts on a different note of the pattern! Let's do some more...
Useful for its flat ninth and sixth, Phrygian sounds best over minor chords with a b9 or #5. Again, the root, or starting note, is labeled as "1".
More of the same eh? Well, why stop now? Moving on.
This mode is useful for playing over Major 7th chords, the sharp 4th lends more airiness to the sound. As always, the root, or starting note, is labeled as "1".
Popular over dominant seventh chords, Mixolydian has a flat seventh that makes it great for blues and jazz. Root is still labeled as "1".
Minor Scale or Aeolian Mode
The minor scale works fine over minor chords with and without a sharp fifth. Root still labeled as "1".
An extremely diminished mode that is best on top of flat fifths and so forth, the locrian mode sounds foreign to most players.
Now there you go. Modes are not complicated at all. One pattern contains all seven, pretty easy huh?
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