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Modes Across Fretboard: Lesson 3


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Modes Across the Fretboard

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In this tutorial we will learn to visualize the modes as fretboard patterns.

Modes are a way of looking at a scale. Essentially, we start with a major scale, in this case the A Major scale, and then give each note of the scale a chance to be the first note of the scale. In this way, we are only using notes from one major scale. But by viewing them from a different perspective, using each note in turn to start the series of notes, we wind up with a different set of intervals between the mode degrees.

We started with the A Major scale and number the scale degrees:

A(1) - B(2) - C#(3) - D(4) - E(5) - F#(6) - G#(7) - A(1)

We are going to use the exact same group of notes, but this time we are going to let the third note of the scale (C#) a chance to start the scale. Note the formula of intervals shifts from the original one (WS is whole step or two frets; HS is half step or one fret):

A Major scale: A - WS - B - WS - C# - HS - D - WS - E - WS - F# - WS - G# - HS - A

1st - WS - 2nd - WS - Major 3rd - HS - 4th - WS - 5th - WS - Major 6th - WS - Major 7th - HS - 1st

Letting the 3rd scale note (C#) start the scale results in the third mode, named, phrygian. Watch for the shift in the formula of intervals in between it's degrees.


C# - HS - D - WS - E - WS - F# - WS - G# - HS - A - WS - B - WS - C#

This means we have a different set of intervals and thus a different sound.

1st - HS - Flat 2nd - WS - Minor 3rd - WS - 4th - WS - 5th - HS - Minor 6th - WS - Minor 7th - WS - 1st

In the image and the video we will learn how to play the A major scale starting on it's third note (C#) using a 3-note per string pattern that will cover all six strings. In this way we can move across the entire fretboard. We will eventually do this with all seven modes. In this way we can link all the mode patterns together and cover the entire fretboard vertically and horizontally with these interlocking patterns.

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