Tag Archives for " Modes "

How To Skip Learning The Modal System

modal-guitar-scale-sequencesWell, this one is sure to ruffle a few feathers… in fact, it might even make me downright unpopular – scorned even –  in some circles. But yeah, I’ll come out and say it:

The modal system is unnecessary for guitar players.

Now before you leave some comment and tell me how off my rocker you think I am, hang in there for a jiffy and finish reading.

First off – what are the modes? Well, without diving into a lot of theory here, imagine the scale written as a series of 7 numbers: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. Once you hit 8, you repeat again (that’s the octave).

Well, we can write that same scale starting from each of the numbers, like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7 1
3 4 5 6 7 1 2
4 5 6 7 1 2 3
5 6 7 1 2 3 4
6 7 1 2 3 4 5
7 1 2 3 4 5 6

Look like a Sudoku puzzle gone wrong? Just about 🙂

As you can see, all the same numbers are used each time, we’re just starting over from a new point. In the modal system for guitar, every one of those starting points has a name…

And most guitar teachers will make you learn each one.

Furthermore, most teachers will tell you that you if you want to be a good guitar player, you need to learn a unique scale pattern (and sometimes multiple patterns) for each position.

That can add up to dozens of scale patterns, all just so that you have the tools so you can solo. THEN, you still have to learn how to actually solo!

Now I don’t deny there are some cool things you can do with this sort of approach, but that’s not my point. My point is that the average player simply does not need this level of complexity!!!

When you realize that all the modes are just recycling the exact same notes, then you should understand how you can get by with a lot less.

In fact, the way I teach it in my Guitar Scale Patterns course, you only need three scale patterns to cover the entire fretboard quite handily when it comes time to solo.

That’s a far cry from dozens!

If you want to learn all the guitar modes and all their myriad related scale patterns, then by all means, fill your boots! There’s no law on it, one way or another, and I’m not going to stop you.

But if you prefer the simplest, quickest, clearest way to learn all the notes on your fretboard and be able to use them in a solo, then head on over to this link, and I’ll show you how. Checkout Guitar Scale Patterns today.

Are Guitar Modes Outdated?

A common trajectory that many beginning guitar players follow goes something like this:

They learn the basic chords, and a few songs as well.

They learn bar chords, to step things up a bit.

They learn a simple scale, like the pentatonic minor, and get their first taste of soloing.

They want to take their soloing further, so they get lessons somewhere.

They’re given seven guitar ‘modes’ to learn, with a separate guitar scale pattern for each one.

Their names are:

  • Ionian (I)
  • Dorian (II)
  • Phrygian (III)
  • Lydian (IV)
  • Mixolydian (V)
  • Aeolian (VI)
  • Locrian (VII)

At this point, someone who didn’t know better may think a little tribe of small green men had just walked off a UFO and introduced themselves!

And in fact, I’ve talked to several people who just got completely bogged down at this point in their guitar playing.

They stagnated there for a while, sometimes years…

Unsure when to use the Ionian, and when to use a Dorian. (And no, that’s NOT a car that takes you Back to the Future!)

Then they came across my Guitar Scale Patterns course, which throws out that particular approach to the guitar in favor of something much less complicated.

And yet still oh-so powerful…

You see, all those modes are simply re-arrangements of the same thing – the Ionian. Each mode starts at a different scale degree, and goes through the loop.

Now I’ll admit you can do some cool things using modal playing, but I consider that to be a fairly advanced application, and definitely not something that every guitar player needs to learn.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

I always catch the flak whenever I bring up this subject, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

I know lots of guitar players that have gotten by quite happily (and successfully too – at the pro level) without ever relating to the guitar using all seven modes.

There IS a simpler way, and it can get you back on track with your playing again.

Simplify things a little, and you’ll be surprised at how the creativity comes back!

Check it out – Guitar Scale Patterns

I’ve also talked to people that passionately disagree with me.

Mostly, they just can’t get past the fact that modal theory was developed around the piano, and guitar theory should be free to develop differently.

It has become a bit of a sacred tradition of music theory… and beware anyone who tries to change it!

But hey, we can’t all think the same right?

For the average guitar player, I still think my way is faster to learn, and more easily applied.