Monday, December 6, 2010

Modes 101

What are modes and why does it matter?

Understanding the relationship between the guitar and the diatonic system would be significantly more difficult without an understanding of modes. In a sense, the seven diatonic modes are key to the fretboard.

This is true because of the way the modes are aligned within the fretboard's systematic grid of strings and frets. Something which is widely misunderstood.

Keep in mind that everything you play on the guitar can be understood better if you can recognize the modal elements in the music. If that last sentence is puzzling to you, consider that you already are using modes if you are playing any scale. If you play a major scale you are in a 'major mode.' If you play a minor scale you're in a 'minor mode.'

You already know two modes. Now you need to learn the other five. And remember ... it actually gets easier.

In the next post we'll revisit modes from a really fundamental place. Meanwhile, you can review some earlier posts on the subject ... herehere, here, and here.


David Glynn said...

How is it possible that of all the guitar instructional sites on the web it has taken me this long to find yours? And how is it possible that none of these posts elicits nary a single comment? Unbelievable. Am now going to go to the beginning and read the entire blog in one sitting, then I will be back to comment more.

Wow. Just, wow …

p.s. if this comment appears more than once, sorry

Mark Newstetter said...


Thanks for the enthusiasm. I wish I knew the answer to those questions. It's likely the "empty restaurant" paradox. No one will go to a restaurant if they don't see anyone else there.

You are a pioneer.