Guitar modes

Hello :pray:. I know five patterns of major scale and five patterns of minor pentatonic scale. I learnt it from Justin guitar. I heard lead guitarists play on modes. What are modes? Any guidance for learning guitar modes?


A mode is starting on an interval other than the Root of the parent Major Scale. The natural Minor scale is also the Aeolian Mode. All this means is it is the major scale with the tonal center resolving to the 6th interval. In other words the A minor scale is the C Major scale starting with the note A and using the note A as it’s tonal center.

Modes are only used if the song is written in a mode or using borrowed chords.
90% of music is written in a Key so the Major or Minor scales will work.

One question can you play solos with the Major Scale, the Major or minor pentatonic scales?

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Hello Stitch. I play lead on major and minor pentatonic scale, improvising with a backing track. I never play song solos, should I learn songs solos? Is it good to learn song solos?

Learning solos from your favorite players is a good way to learn how to construct solos, lead lines and phasing.

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Thank you Stitch. What is Phasing?

I think you’ll get a lot of your questions answered and give you a good path to follow if you watch these two series of lessens Justin did with Lee a few years ago. The first series is called Rut busters and the second is Lee’s Privates. They are both Justin helping Lee get on a good path of learning how to solo and what he needs to learn and practice to become good at it.


Good. I’ll learn. What you’ve been practicing stitch :guitar::smiley:

Summer jam seasons has started so mostly dusting off songs I’ve neglected all winter.
Jammed with a couple of buddies on Wednesday and going up there today after I do some spring cleanup yard work.

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modes are covered in depth in the theory course


Lee’s private lessons is a great watch. I learned a lot. I highly recommend. In a way it becomes your own private lesson Justin.

And for any Singer songwriters, I would watch Justins lessons with Tammy


Yes. Thank you Lespaulmoreray :ok_hand:


:pray::pray: :guitar::clap::clap:

Can you make music using all five patterns, linking them seamlessly for melodic playing, lead guitar work etc?

Can you make music using all five patterns, linking them seamlessly for melodic playing, lead guitar work etc?

Did you learn Justin’s thinking around learning scales and when not to learn scales?

That is way too much a vague and misleading thing you have heard. Some musicians use modes on occasion to make music for sure. They are not confined to lead guitar and many guitar players will spend years playing lead guitar parts that do not involve going anywhere near a mode.

All that said, modes are fascinating, different, beautiful. Justin teaches them and @bblak kindly linked to my topic too.


Hi :grinning::pray:. Yes, i can play melodies using five patterns of major and minor pentatonic scales, i didn’t know about the video, very good :ok_hand::ok_hand::guitar:. :guitar::clap:

That was such an eye opener for me, that video, When NOT to learn scales. I stopped practicing scales right after I watched that video. :joy: :joy:

Then I instead invested the time getting a closer look at the different scales, patterns, modes and so on, to get a roughly overview.
That resulted in getting to know, that the Pentatonic scale is like the black key on the piano. I got some few lessons almost 30 years back, where I should compose a melody using only the black keys and it was very easy and was a fine melody. Had this Japanese feel and sound to it.

Then looking at the C major scale, I used the 6th string to find the notes within that scale. Then trying to make a little piece of melody with those just using 6th string. If I then get something melodic I like, I can then slowly start to transfer that into chords.

The scale patterns are just finding the same notes a different place on the fretboard as Justin explains so nicely in the video. :joy:

But the modes are in some sense no different than the scales. It’s the same 12 notes being shuffled around, so to speak. We need to make music out of those 12 notes and maybe using different octaves. But a scale is basically just some notes being picked out among those 12.
If we take all the major scales, it is just 7 notes taken out from the 12 and those 7 are known to go well together. Modes are in this sense no different.
The combination of those notes just gives a different sound and sound picture. But basically it’s the same.

When I am exploring and find some nice chords or single notes, that goes well together, I can then use the theory and look up what scale and mode it is. I also can use the theory to give me suggestions and hints, where to go or what to try, if I get stuck and can’t hear where to go or just want some inspiration.

I have totally stopped training playing the scales all together and will only do if I need them. I can train the fingers, coordination etc in so many other ways. Like when I go exploring. Or to shuffle around those chords I luv the sound from.

So easy to spend time training in something that we might never really use. Or get totally stuck into theory, so we loose our ability to explore and be creative.

Both my view and my way of using theory have changed dramatically and it all started with that video: When NOT to learn scales. Saw the video after having some days with frustraiton about why learning this and that. What should I use it for. That video was a blessing for me :joy: :joy:

Since I have a very specific goal about composing, I am totally into exploring and use the theory in combination with this. Trying to come up with some melodies or short one string little tunes.

Like on the 6th string I found the other day and know it belongs to a start of a song, maybe by Lee Ritenour and goes on 6th string - slow E - F - G - - - , - E - F - G and quickly after last G jumps to 5th string C. - Sounds pretty damn good, just unable to find from where and by whom :joy: :joy:

Funny thing is, that it’s possible to make some funny melodic tunes or very nice even, kind of jumping all over in different modes and scales. :joy:

It might be from a different point of view though, but I totally agree, if you can’t make a melody out of the most easy one, the Pentatonic and the more common scale like C Major, there is really not that much point training them :joy: :joy: :joy:
That time and energy could have maybe been more beneficial used on other areas, just like a little part of the scale and get some melody going.

That’s just my take on it and might change again, again, again. I have seen how dramatically things have changed for me in just few weeks. :joy: :joy: I luv this music universe. It’s really cool.

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