On this page you will find a systematic and simple approach to learning to play modes / modal scales / modal styles on guitar, complete with free mp3 downloads of free backing tracks to jam guitar over.
Watch this video if you want to have modes explained:
Fig one and Fig two, below, show an 18 fret length of guitar neck along the middle, with box positions for the seven modes above and below.
This is so that you can see how the modes relate to each other. They're a bit small, so I've repeated the seven box positions at the base of this page. You can also click here to download a pdf file showing modal boxes, for printing out.
Modal Positions Fig one
Modal Positions Fig two
Here are some tips for taking a systematic approach to becoming familiar with playing modes:
Learn the Aolian mode - most of us know this scale as the natural minor scale.
- Play it loads until you're completely familiar with it. Practice over this MP3 backing track in the key of C.
Notice that there is only one note difference between the Aolian and Dorian modes. Draw the two as box positions so that you know how to play this small difference.
Don't bother with the Lydian or Locrian modes unless you want to be a guitar teacher (or you are an appreciator of the talents of Frank Zappa!)
...........alternatively, click here for a Lydian modal progression, in the key of C.
Practice each mode in the key of C (parallel approach), then play all the modes derived from the C major scale (derivative approach) - C Ionian, D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Aolian and B Locrian.
Teach someone else the modal system
Check out my Backing Tracks page for further free MP3's of modal chord progressions to practice these scales over.
If you really want to launch ahead with your lead guitar playing, whether you're a beginner or more advanced, checkout my ETrax Guitar Lessons.
My ETrax Guitar Lessons are superb quality; Rock, Funk & Blues jam tracks, played by 100% 'live' musicians; and are formatted as complete songs - so you get into soloing over a verse, then it steps up into a bridge to lead you into screaming joy over a thumping chorus! :-)
Each hiqh quality sound file is accompanied by a comprehensive lesson, detailing all you need from chords and associated info on how the backing is played, to scales, licks and tips for improving your soloing.They cover a wide variety of styles, from Jazz and Blues to heavy, dark Rock.