Major Scale Modes on Guitar
In this post I will go over the 7 modes of the major scale!
I will also teach what the term Natural Minor (aka Relative Minor) means…
7 Modes of the Major Scale
To begin, you can basically think of a mode as a position in the major scale. These are the major scale patterns!
The first mode will start on the 1st note in the scale (the root note), the second mode will begin on the 2nd note in the scale, the third mode will begin on the 3rd note in the scale, and so on for all seven notes in the scale.
There are seven notes in the major scale, so there are seven modes of the major scale; known as Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian.
- Ionian mode
- Dorian mode
- Phrygian mode
- Lydian mode
- Mixolydian mode
- Aeolian mode
- Locrian mode
7 Modes of the G Major Scale
Here are the seven modes of the G Major Scale:
1st mode – G Ionian
This is the 1st mode, the G Ionian mode (or G Ionian scale), which you can also simply refer to as the G Major Scale.
Notice that it starts on the 1st note in the scale, the root note of G.
2nd mode – A Dorian
This is the 2nd mode of the G Major scale, known as the A Dorian mode (or A Dorian scale). It starts on the second note of the G Major Scale, which is A, and then proceeds up the same seven notes you see above in the G Ionian Mode.
So, yes, we are still in the scale of G Major, this is just the second position of it; or the second mode.
3rd mode – B Phrygian
This is 3rd mode of the G Major scale, known as the B Phrygian Mode (or B Phrygian scale). It starts on the third note of the G Major scale, which is B.
4th mode – C Lydian
This is the 4th mode of the G Major Scale, known as the C Lydian mode (or C Lydian Scale). It begins on the fourth note of the G Major scale, which is C.
5th mode – D Mixolydian
This is the 5th mode of the G Major scale, known as the D Mixolydian mode (or D Mixolydian scale). It begins on the fifth note of the G Major scale, which is D.
6th mode – E Aeolian – Natural Minor
This is the 6th mode of the G Major scale, known as the E Aeolian mode (or E Aeolian scale). It begins on the sixth note of the G Major scale, which is E.
Notice this one is also labeled as the Natural Minor. I detail what that means below…
7th mode – F# Locrian
And this is the 7th mode of the G Major Scale, known as the F# Locrian mode (or F# Locrian scale). It begins on the 7th note of the G Major Scale, which is F#.
Major Scale Modes Guitar
These are the seven modes of the major scale! Above they are presented in G Major. Again, this is the G Major Scale! Being able to play all seven modes listed above will give you the ability to play the G Major scale all over the entire fretboard!
Next, I will show you how to play the seven major scale modes in any key!!!
How to play the Modes of the Major Scale in Any Key!
To play the seven modes of the major scale in any key, simply begin the 1st mode (your root note) on whichever fret that is on the low E string.
The other modes will simply follow the notes in that given key.
For example, to play the modes of the F Major Scale, begin the first mode on the 1st fret of the low E string, which is the note of F:
7 Modes of the F Major Scale
These are seven modes of the F Major Scale:
1st Mode – F Ionian
2nd Mode – G Dorian
3rd Mode – A Phrygian
4th Mode – Bb Lydian
5th Mode – C Mixolydian
6th Mode – D Aeolian (Natural Minor)
7th Mode – E Locrian
You should notice that the pattern for each mode is the same as it was above in G Major. So it is important to get down the pattern of each mode.
These are the major scale patterns! Learn to shred them!!!
The 6th mode is known as the natural minor because it is the Minor Scale!
The other term you might here for this is Relative Minor. It means the same thing. Relative Minor is interchangeable with Natural Minor.
So if you look above, the sixth note of the G Major scale is the note of E (which is where the 6th mode starts).
This means that the E Aeolian mode (6th mode of G) is the E Minor Scale.
In F Major the 6th mode starts on the note of D (the sixth note in the F Major scale). So that is the D Minor Scale!
To summarize, every major scale key has a natural minor, and this will be whatever the sixth note in the scale is.
So guess what, you just learned the 7 modes of the minor scale as well!!!
Guitar Modes Chart
Here is a guitar modes chart for you that simply shows the pattern of each mode:
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