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Major and Minor Guitar Scales

The Professor. View Member Profile. Mar 6 , PM. Post 1. In this series of articles we will be taking a look at the different sounds that you can build from any mode in the Major Scale, in particular the chords, scale, triad and arpeggio that go with each mode in the major scale. So far we have covered the Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian Modes, which you can see linked below, and we are now ready to dig into the 6th mode of the major scale, the Aeolian Mode.

Here is a quick look at each device from the Aeolian mode, with further details provided below to read further. Aeolian Chords.

Lead Guitar Lesson - Modes: Aeolian Scale Study For Guitar

Aeolian Triad and Arpeggio. The Professor View Member Profile. Because G major and E minor are relative to one another, they both use the same pentatonic and major scale patterns. Notice that because you start with pentatonic pattern 1 at the 12th fret, the remaining patterns are an octave lower in order to place you in a more comfortable position on the neck. The key of E minor is just a starting point.

Move the same patterns around to play Aeolian mode in other keys. Some song examples that are either entirely based in Aeolian mode or at least have an Aeolian section include. By emphasizing this note, you outline the sound of the mode in your lines, differentiating it from other minor modes such as the Dorian mode, which has a major 6. The following example only uses notes of the B Locrian scale.

I emphasize the 11 in this lick because it adds a nice color played over m7b5 chords. A modal standard is a standard that uses modes instead of chord progressions as its harmonic basis. On that part, I play the A Aeolian scale shape, which might be confusing for those that just started studying modes. This is because a lot of guitarists think in shapes rather than in notes.

D Dorian has the same notes as A Aeolian both come from the C major scale , they just start on a different note. Because the harmonic background of this tune is D minor, the A Aeolian shape will sound like D Dorian.


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They will all sound like D Dorian because the tonal center of the tune is D. The diagram below shows you a D Dorian scale that looks like the A Aeolian scale shape.

Aeolian Mode for Guitarists - Roland Australia

Notice how the red root note is D, not A:. Although it is ok to visualize scale shapes as you improvise, realize that they are just a set of 7 notes that depend on the tonal center of the tune you are playing. Here finishes our introduction to guitar modes. What to learn after guitar modes?


  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Guitar Modes and Scales.
  2. How to Attack the Aeolian Mode;
  3. A Aeolian Mode;
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The best tool for improvisation are arpeggios. Learn all about them in our Introduction to Guitar Arpeggios. Beautiful Dirk. Thank you. I love your 8 minute video covering all of these modes each with a rif and then breaking each down into its own audio practice sections with music sheets. This has really inspired me to work on learning these modes.

In the past I would try to experiment with the modes but would usually give up quickly. Thanks for all your work producing this.

Natural Minor Scale

Your solo at the end is an absolute gem, Dirk. Really beautiful rhythmical ideas. Many thanks. Thanks Dirk, this is a great guide and a good future reference when I will be working a song in terms of modes. Creating good content creates high expectations : I look forward for a more advanced guide with other great examples like these one! The only thing I miss in this guide is ways to understand and use modes in a song to put forward their own particular colors or moods. Too much is made of this mode concept as it pertains to the diatonic scale.


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  • Just learn the diatonic scale starting from any scale degree. Time would be better spent simply understanding how the seven fundamental chords of any major key signature are just built from the scale. Hi Dirk!!! Thanx for this awesome video. This is perfect, each modes with one superb lick!

    The Aeolian Mode in Twelve Keys

    And bravo for your website wich is a goldmine to learn jazz stuff. I wonder where to find a backing track like the one in the video? The backing tracks of the video can be played or downloaded by clicking the play or download button above the individual lick examples. It works!!! Great theoretical and applicable distillation of an essential component in guitar improvisation. This site is the fountainhead for jazz guitar knowledge based on sound principles and practical application.

    Thank you for sharing. Yes, all modes are scales, but not all scales are modes.