Depending on how you were trained/taught as a musician as well as how you are able to process information such as scales onto various types of instruments, there will be various tools that one can use to help fast-track this process.
Sure, some people can immediately process this type of information, while others need to take time to “think about it” and process it first.
Others will call this a “cheat” for learning and playing Modes, but in my opinion, it’s not about how you process the theory, or impressing some expert Julliard graduate. It’s about how you play it and how it sounds to you and others – and in most cases, you neighbours (lol). Also, the people who would call this a “cheat-sheet” are often the same people who would charge you per lesson to teach you the hard way of doing this and keep you coming back to pay for more lessons.
I am not a guitar teacher, but a lead guitarist and songwriter, and I have always been looking for the most compact information available as a quick reference when it comes to song writing, jamming, and practicing, and I could never find the perfect tool. I love the modes, but always found them to be an acrobatic, mental, pain-in-the-arse process to get my head around and fully visualize the music beforehand, without having to take 10 mins to gather and check the facts, and by the time I was done, so was the creative mood and I had probably lost the idea that I was after by then as well – so I made my own!
I am sharing this as I know this must be a common problem, and it’s a quick, easy and accurate solution to reference.
So I even went one step further and included the PDF file for you to download, print, cut out, and keep for yourself. It’s free to use for personal use, so enjoy.
Determining what scales to play for the modes is as easy as phi... but now simply, easy!
Follow these steps and apply them to any mode in any key, quickly and accurately!
Say for example, that you want to play C Lydian
Dial in the the key: Turn the wheel to show the key (C in this case) and the Mode together in the 12 o’clock position.
You will immediately have all the relevant chords visible to use for your chord progression. (C, D7, E, F#m, G, Am, Bm not in this particular order I hope…)
Then, for the melody and for lead guitarists, wherever the black triangle is pointing (the G in this case), that note will determine what scale you will play (the Standard G Maj scale Do re mi fa sol la ti do
So find whatever standard G Major scale position/s you are comfortable with and play over them, BUT instead of starting and ending on the on G note, you will start/pivot/root off of the keynote (which will be C in this case) which you chose with the mode. ie. you are playing the G Maj scale, but from the C of the G Maj scale, not the G. ie. fa sol la ti do re mi fa
Easy hey? Now use this exact same formula for any mode in any key, and have fun jamming!
Here are some more examples:
For the lead guitar, play in C Maj, but off of/root from the D.
Example, Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd
For the lead guitar, play in C Maj, but off of/root from the E.
Example, Wherever I may Roam – Metallica
For the lead guitar, play in C Maj, but off of/root from the A.
Example, No One like you – Scorpions.
This is also the Natural Minor to C, but you knew that, hey? : )
For songwriting, remember that each mode has its sounds and feel, so here is a quick reference to how what “flavor” to expect from each Mode:
IONIAN: FOLK, NURSERY RHYMES, HYMNS, MEATLOAF
ONE OF MY SONGS: HEAVENS GATE
DORIAN: CLASSIC ROCK, SOFT ROCK, HARD ROCK, SANTANA, JIMI HENDRIX
ONE OF MY SONGS: DORIAN GREY
PHRYGIAN: SPANISH, METAL, METALLICA, RAMMSTEIN
ONE OF MY SONGS: FERRYMANN’S LAMP
LYDIAN: (MY FAVORITE) LOVE, MYSTERY, PLENTY MELODY, MATURE, FLEETWOOD MAC, SIMPSONS THEME
MIXOLYDIAN: BLUES, MILITARY MARCHING BAND, STYX, SWEET CHILD OF MINE, SWEET HOME ALABAMA, THUNDERSTRUCK, STAR WARS THEME
ONE OF MY SONGS: MAC MARINE
AEOLIAN: GARY MOORE, LOVE SONGS, I WAS MADE FOR LOVING YOU – KISS, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
ONE OF MY SONGS: VIA’BILITY
LOCRIAN: (VERY DISSONANT SOUND, NOT EASY TO MAKE GOOD MUSIC FROM THIS MODE), HORROR MUSIC FOR MOVIES, ENTER SANDMAN (2ND SOLO), BJORK, MASTER OF PUPPETS
ONE OF MY SONGS: Forbidden Loki
Make youR own...
Simply download this file:
Print it out on A4 board ot paper
Cut out around the outlines
…and that’s it, done!
Keep a copy in your guitar case, and for the next jam, when someone says, “let’s jam in F#Locrian”, no problem!
I just have one special request; that you be kind, and PLEASE share this with someone wanting to be a Rapper/Hop-Hop artist that you may know… The world needs more than one note! : )
Lastly, what do call a guitarist without a girlfriend? ——–> Homeless! : )