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Thread: Scales/modes question

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Post Scales/modes question

    So recently I've been experimenting with different scales. Only scale I really ever play is the natural minor. So I started looking up the different positions for different scales, and I realized that scales like Lydian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, are all within the natural scale (So if I can play the natural scale all over the neck, then I'm already in theory playing these scales.) I know the positions on the neck are different, for example, Mixolydian in D would technically be the same as playing the natural scale in E minor no? I know the feel is quite different as this sounded very uplifting/happy whilst an E minor natural scale would sound more tragic and emotional. That's the conclusion I've come up with but I'm not so sure as I've only been playing for three years and my knowledge on theory is very limited. I also messed around with harmonic minor/major which I know don't fit in the description of the other scales. Anyways, would someone care to explain if I'm getting the right idea? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Scales/modes question

    Yes you've got it right. You can play D mixolydian or G major, for example, for a different shape/neck location for E natural minor. OR you can put a scale directly over the root to match a chord. Say you're in the key of E natural minor but you want to play over the 5 chord. You could play B mixolydian to have an appropriate scale for the 5 chord. Those are the 2 basic uses of modes.

  3. #3
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scales/modes question

    Well, you really only hear the sound of the scale change when it is in relationship to the chords underneath. So, in both examples above, you are just talking about shapes, and you are correct. However, you don't hear D mixolydian unless the chord you are playing over is a D7...or something like C/D to D progression. You can read a more detailed explanation of the modes in my blogs here.
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  4. #4
    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scales/modes question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Well, you really only hear the sound of the scale change when it is in relationship to the chords underneath. So, in both examples above, you are just talking about shapes, and you are correct. However, you don't hear D mixolydian unless the chord you are playing over is a D7...or something like C/D to D progression.
    +1

    I'd actually go one step further and say that you might be playing in D Mixolydian over a D7 chord . . . but it's possible (easy even) to still make it not really sound like D mixolydian if you don't know what notes to target and are just randomly hitting stuff in the pattern.

    Like, if you play all the notes except the b7 you'll sound like you're playing a major scale. If you play the 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 you're technically in the Mixolydian mode . . . but what you'll hear is a major pentatonic lick.
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