Understanding the Modes – Ionian and Dorian – Drill #44

richardsguitarstudio on October 19, 2015


Nate begins a series on understanding the modes – Ionian and Dorian being the first 2 modes on the list. Learning the modes is important for every guitarist, not just as a guitar scale lesson or technique exercise, but as a music theory lesson on how they work. You will learn what it means to play in a key or in a mode, how to play the scales on guitar, how modes are used to make songs and chord progressions, how to make guitar solos using these scales, and how to tell what key or mode you are in by analyzing the chord progression. Eventually, you will be able to look at a chord progression and begin soloing immediately using the right scales skillfully, creatively, and with melodic control.

  1. Practice the scales and memorize them right away. Using such drills as practicing with a metronome, hammer-ons and pull-offs, alternate picking, sequences and patterns, string skipping, etc., drill these scales until you have them memorized.
  2. Memorize the chords that fit the key of G Major. You should know the Roman Numeral analysis that is listed below the chords on the sheet linked above. Knowing which chords fir the key is essential for understanding how keys and modes work.
  3. Record yourself on GarageBand or Audacity and jam along. Follow my advise in the video and record yourself playing the chord progressions, and then solo over top of them. You will understand how chords and scales relate in much greater depth by recording the progression on your own, rather than simply having one provided for you on a YouTube backing track. However, there are some good backing tracks on YouTube and they are very helpful for improvising and learning how to use scales creatively in various styles and genres.

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