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MODAL SCALES

Introduction: Modal scale forms in the key of F major using the 3 Notes/String Scale. You can slide the major (Ionian) form up or down the fretboard to play in any key. The proceeding scale modes (i.e., Dorian, Phrygian, etc.) always follow the same order after the major (Ionian) scale. The entire fretboard is covered in this scale system.

Ionian
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian
Aeolian
Locrian

Chord Compatibility

  • Ionian: The Ionian (a.k.a. major) scale can be used with the Major Triad and Major 7th chord family.

  • Dorian: The Dorian mode can be used with the Minor Triad and Minor 7th chord family as well as with the Dominant 7th chord with an added #9 note.

  • Phrygian: The Phrygian mode can be used with the Minor 7th chord family. This mode can also be played over any chord progression in which the II chord is a Major 7th chord. For example, play the E Phrygian scale over a chord progression containing an Fmaj7 chord (and where Emin is the I chord).

  • Lydian: The Lydian mode can be played over the Major 7th chord family.

  • Mixolydian: The Mixolydian mode can be used with the Dominant 7th chord family.

  • Aeolian: The Aeolian mode can be played over a chord that is built on the 2nd scale step of a minor key (i.e., a I, II, ... chord progression). The II chord is Minor 7th b5 in quality. For example, a I, II chord progression in the key of A minor would consist of an A minor and Bmin7 b5 chord. Hence, the A Aeolian scale will sound best over this type of progression.

  • Locrian: The Locrian mode also works well with the Minor 7th b5 chord family.


Legend

vertical lines = strings (thickest line represents low E)
horizontal lines = frets
numbers = fingering

1 = thumb
2 = index finger
3 = middle finger
4 = ring finger
5 = pinky

Red numbers = Root note. Every red number represents an F note on the fretboard in the above example. Slide the scale shapes up three frets and all red notes will represent G on the fretboard.


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