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Applying Modes Question

Music Fusion

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Just for additional clarity. So, I am playing the A major scale starting on the 5th string of the low E. If I stay to that scale and pattern, and don't move my hand anywhere, but if I start on the B note and not play that first A note, am I not in Dorian mode in the key of A? I think you said I was in Dorian mode in the key of B. Is that what you meant to say?


I remember when it was called Lakeshore music and I recall going there.It was at a different location that the current Burlington L & M wasn't it?

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Generally speaking, when you start a scale on a note (The root note) that is the key the scale is in. So if the second note is a B, it's the Dorian mode in B. If the second note is an f, it's the Dorian mode in F, etc. etc.


Yes, Lakeshore Music was on New Street for many years. I taught there back then and moved with them to the new location on Mainway, when they went. I taught at the new location for a year. Shortly after that, they were bought out by Long and Mcquade.

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Yes, I remember those days. I still buy my stuff from L & M and I am also an author in their gear guide magazines. They have great policies in terms of returns and exchanges etc. I always feel safe buying from them.


Here's where I am at. Thanks to your folks, i finally understand how to place modes. But now I have to put what i learned into practiser. I am almost at that point but not quite.


First, I want to finish learning all the positions of the major scale. I have memorized and practiced up to position 4, and as soon as I memorize and practise the remaining positions, i will loop back and practise modes, the major scale and the pentatonic. Although I think i understand all these things individually now, I have not put my mind to how they intersect, overlap etc. I could to do that up until now because it is impossible to do that unless you understand each of those components individually. So the game plan is:


1. Learn the rest of the major scale positions and practise them.

2. Do some excersizes where I am playing the different modes over pieces of music I am familiar with (as suggested here)

3. Start thinking about how the pentatonic, the major scale and the modes relate.

4. Venture into the minor scale- is there one- is is that the same as the minor pentatonic?


The above steps may take time cause I take these learning opportunities very seriously. I will report back along the way.


Thanks again!!!!



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The minor scale is indeed a thing. From the Major and minor, you can also branch out by adding/removing notes, to make even more scales (ie. Blues scale, Harmonic Minor etc.etc.). I have a list of the common ones and their patterns on the theory thread. Scroll down to Scales (I think it's the third post down and starts with the blues scale): https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1582022/Theory_Thread_with_free_Jam_Tr#Post#1582024
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...I want to finish learning all the positions of the major scale. I have memorized and practiced up to position 4, and as soon as I memorize and practise the remaining positions, i will loop back and practise modes


A final thought, MF.

Realize that, while you might practice particular fingerings in order to learn basic principles, when yer actually playing the way you position the notes of lines should ultimately fit into the best, most efficient fingerings for the context.


At some point, you'll see that strict adherence to the fingerings you learn to work across the fretboard might be better adapted to working up & down along the fretboard & jumping from position to position as you mix all these scales, modes & ideas you use in moving past exercises.

Best of !


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I knw you see my point, CB, :like: & eventually so will MF (if (s)he doesn't already but do you have some handy maps for playing along the length of the neck ?

Or diagonally , string to string ?


My whole point here is to encourage outside the box (pun intended) thinking.

It can be necessary to get a grip (another gtr pun) on standard approaches when learning but players should always remember that there are diff---& sometimes even new !---ways to do things.



FWIW, I'm still wondering abt what MF likes & maybe some specific examples... :snax:

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Don't worry. I completely get it. Let me give you two examples:


Prior to learning all this stuff, when i learned a solo, it was completely by ear (which remains my preference). When learning by ear, I focussed a lot on neck efficiency and found that I could normally play 90% of the entire solo while remaining in the same basic position. I've seen Youtube videos where people teach other people, and they end up moving their hands all over the place unnecessarily. I try to make my movements as efficient as possible by looking for the notes i need to play within a confined area. I venture out of that area when i need to (ie- sometimes, the solo calls for a very high note that forces you to go to another part of the fret board). But, for the most part, being efficient is important to me and saves from, a lot of unnecessary movement, which only makes things more difficult.


Secondly, when i write music, it is never with theory in mind. It's all about finding my sound on the fretboard, freely and without any regard to rules.


But please know, that my now focussing on rules, scales etc. is because I wasn't to round out my knowledge. What i am now learning is making me a much stronger player. But it does not take the place out of my normal attack on writing original music.


Everything I am learning here is all good and I am fitting it in as appropriate and not as a replacement for efficient playing habits.


I have a question...Which i will post soon


In terms of diagonally, this is something I need to circle back to and further develop. I know it is very beneficial to be able to see the shapes connecting diagonally and horizontally as well as vertical. Especially when determining your next landing points, and it is especially useful when free forming it- ie: wandering creatively around the neck. seeing the connections shouldn't act as rigid landing points, but they should serve as flags that you may elect to go to if the feel calls for it

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I have been learning how to play the Major scale by using this chart:




I have learned all the positions, and have been practicing them by playing the entire scale across the whole neck to a loop i created with the progression F# B and C#. It actually sounds good playing that scale over top.


But I do not understand why, on the diagram I am using it:


1) shows a separate diagram to the right of each of the positions. So for example, in the first position, it shows a diagram with the numbers 7 1 and 2 across the high e string and then to the right, a separate diagram with the same shape, but showing 1 2 and 4 across the high e string. What is the purpose of that second diagram and what do the numbers mean?


2. Then you will notice that off of each set of diagrams, there is a line that shoots out and points to a place on the guitar neck, which is shown vertically on the right hand side of the page. I don't understand the purpose of those lines. What are they trying to tell me?


So, ironically, I can play the whole scale in every position across the neck, but I am getting caught up on what those things mean.

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Hey guys, as an aside, below is a link to a solo that I wrote and put to a backing track i found online. I entitled this piece The Chase.


I find that when writing solos, I b=do better if I imagine a scene, or a theme.


I called this The Chase, as I was imagining a group of teens stealing a car and being chased by the police. Through the solo, you will hear my guitar mocking the cops by playing a "na na na na na na" mini hook. As well, I tried to emulate the dissonant sounds of a police siren. You might hear that in the solo.


I basically relied on the minor pentatonic throughout most of it. None of this would have been possible if it had not been for what i leaned here.


Have a listen





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Great job on the solo!

I heartily endorse the above opinion from my esteemed colleague The entire track, really...best version of "Further On Down The Road" I heard all day !


One Q---is there a sustained kboard bed going on under the other insts or is that just my ears ringing ?! :laugh:


Thanks for hipping me to that site, MusFu !

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I don't know what is underneath the backing track.I found it on youtube and the only thing I did to it, was I reinforced the horns at the very end, as I found that they were a bit buried in the original track. So i just recorded some horns at the very end and added that.


The track was done in one pass for 75% of it. there was 25% that I punched in afterwards.


Thank-you for listening and commenting.


Thanks Craig about the note numbers explanation.


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All scales are moveable.

Any group of notes is moveable.

What defines a scale from just a group of notes is that a scale is a group of notes that spans a full octave & has no significant gaps between notes.


A further defining factor is scales/modes have attached to them a particular "mood" or other quality that derives from the effect the particular notes convey...but that quality can also be embodied by just a few notes.

It doesn't require a full scale.


As far as "how many positions, etc", that kinda depends on how you define position.

Some might do so by starting points that are the tonic (the "1" of the scale) or by other main notes like the 3 or 5.

Some, like me, might consider any note to be a valid positional mark...but I'm abt as liberal an interpreter of musical rules as you'll find.

It might be worth reminding that when one emphasizes certain notes in playing (as sometimes happens when playing in diff positions), it could be considered a diff scale/mode.


Ain't life wonderful(ly confusing) !

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There are no magic beans. Modes can be a method of mental organization. Sometimes it is easier to think in terms of accidentals. A common structure in a lot of my solos is the switching between Aeolian and Dorian. Easy example is my piano ride in Moon Dance. It may be simpler to think of throwing accidentals on the 6. Or .... Just flatting the 7 of a major instead of calling it Mixolydian. Whatever works. The reality is we learn all this so we can internalize it 'forget' when we use it.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne


"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt


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@musicFusion, I would start by learning a single pattern for the scale you want. That way it can be moved up and down to change the key it's in and you can solo with it right away. When yo uare comfortable with the patterns, "in a box", then you can start learning where other notes are that you can grab to move it up and down the neck.


The Minor scale pattern (There are two main shapes I use) are going to give you all of your Major, minor and modes. So...it's good to learn them.


Here is the Minor scale pattern for Am on the 5th:









Learn this. It is also the C Major scale.


Now...move every single one of those notes, up two frets and you get the B minor scale (or the D Major). Move it up so you are starting on the 12th fret and you are playing the E minor scale (G major). Just knowing this one pattern in a box, allows you to play the major and minor scale in any key.


As i said, there IS a second pattern I use almost as much and I also tend to connect the two patterns but...focus on this one first.

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As you can see, the root note is the first note in this scale (The 5th fret on the low E, in this case). What ever note that is, when you move the scale, will be the key your minor scale is in.


As for the key of the Major scale...(once you have down the minor, we can get into that. It has to do with modes)...Basically, the root note will be the note on the 8th fret here. So, what ever note that is when you move it, becomes the new major key.

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Hi folks.


The first position of the minor seems pretty straight forward and I had no problem playing or remembering it. So, if I am playing the minor scale patter in F#m, the new major key would be A?


By the way, I skipped a very important step in my learning. I was supposed to try applying what i learned about modes- which I haven't done. So, I will likely shelve the minor scale for now, and go back to trying out sowed mode stuff to see if I can put into practice, what I learned.


Will report back.


Thanks all

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Okay...so I am back to focussing on applying the modes, and I think I may need a little hand holding on this.


So I have created the following chord progression loop:


A C#m D E


So, how do I apply the Dorian mode over top of this? I thought I knew but now I am second guessing myself.


If I play the A major scale ,



C# D E

F# G# A

B B# D

E F#

G# A B


Would be just a matter of keeping my hand in the exact same position and instead of starting on the root A note, start on the B (E string, fret 7) and end of the B (High E, 7th fret)?



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I think I should have continued on the modes thing before trying to learn the minor scale. i actually understood the modes and had an aha moment, but now I'm not as sure.


Here's what once again has me confused. I know that a mode involves starting a "scale" ie; the major scale, from a note other than the root note. So for example, if you start from the second note in the scale, you are in Dorian.


What I am again getting confused, is if I did that, how would it change the colour or characteristic of the sound?Wou;dn't I just be starting from a different place but rendering the same sound characteristics as if I played the entire scale.


I sense that i am once again missing something.


Damn..i should have stuck to the modes thing when I was getting it.


Sorry for taking a step back.

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Thanks Craig. I have watched and read this thread and I have decided to post a video so that I can validate my assumptions- if they are in fact correct.


In this video, I think I am playing the major scale over top of a chord progression consisting of A C#m D E,



in the first pass, you will see that i am playing the major scale, starting from the Low E String, 5th fret (A).


The second pass, I am playing from the second note in the scale. Does that mean I am playing in Dorian B (even though I am in the key of A)?


The third pass, I am starting from the third note in the scale. Does that mean that i am now playing in C# Phrygian even though I am in A?


I have a feeling I am doing this either completely right, or completely wrong and sometimes showing what I am doing is the best way.


Here is the video. I thought it would be easier to demonstrate what I am doing right or wrong.


Here is the video. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bdCKo4B-c-BSaUMgPNNvghcGfLPUO1xl/view?usp=sharing


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