One-Octave Parallel Mode Fingerings | Hub Guitar

One-Octave Parallel Mode Fingerings

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Hi. This is Hub Guitar.

We're going to play some one-octave mode fingerings on strings 1, 2, and 3. These can help you to compare the different modes and get a sense of how they sound.

First, we're going to play all of the modes in C so that we can easily understand their notes and construction.

Don't worry too much about the specific fingerings because these patterns are pretty simple.

Now, I'll give an example of how you can use these. You can move them all up to E, meaning they would all start on the IXth fret. Then, you can use the low E note as a drone to help lock in the tonal center, and improvise with them. This should really help you to hear the sound of the modes.

You can get further use out of this by switching between similar modes. Major, Mixolydian and Lydian go well together. Aeolian, Dorian and Phrygian go well together also. Locrian doesn't get along with anybody.

So try these mode patterns for yourself and see how you can apply them.


How to Approach the Modes

Learn all of the fingerings for one-octave modes, and use them to frame your approach to improvisation with the modes. As you get more comfortable with the modes, try expanding the range of your improvisation to include the entire fretboard for each mode.

One good way to use these mode fingerings is to practice improvising over a chord progression which changes from one mode to the other. For instance, you can practice the C major mode going to the C minor mode, or the C minor mode going to the C phrygian mode.

Don’t worry too much about the modes, as you’ll learn more about them later. For now, you can think of them as a way of switching keys without switching positions, or as a way of taking the major scale and forcing one of its notes to become the tonicA word describing the tonal center of a piece of music, with other tones resolving to this note., resulting in an interesting sound.

1-Octave C Major Mode Pattern

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a natural
e natural
c natural
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f natural
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b natural
d natural
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c natural
g natural
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1-Octave C Dorian Mode Pattern

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d sharp, e flat
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a natural
c natural
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a sharp, b flat
f natural
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d natural
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c natural
g natural
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1-Octave C Phrygian Mode Pattern

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g sharp, a flat
d sharp, e flat
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c natural
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a sharp, b flat
f natural
c sharp, d flat
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c natural
g natural
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1-Octave C Lydian Mode Pattern

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a natural
e natural
c natural
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b natural
f sharp, g flat
d natural
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c natural
g natural
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1-Octave C Mixolydian Mode Pattern

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a natural
e natural
c natural
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a sharp, b flat
f natural
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d natural
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c natural
g natural
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1-Octave C Aeolian Mode Pattern

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g sharp, a flat
d sharp, e flat
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c natural
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a sharp, b flat
f natural
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d natural
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c natural
g natural
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1-Octave C Locrian Mode Pattern

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g sharp, a flat
d sharp, e flat
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c natural
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a sharp, b flat
f natural
c sharp, d flat
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f sharp, g flat
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c natural
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Key Tasks

  • Memorize all modes presented here.
  • Learn the modes by formula, not by shape; remember which notes are altered.
  • Use the modes to improvise; try changing between modes during your improvisation.

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