Guitar modes: How to learn all 7 major modes the easy way
Team Artium


Are you tired of playing the same old licks and scales on your guitar? Well, have no fear, because we’re here to introduce you to the exciting world of guitar scale modes! Learning the major guitar scales and modes is an essential step for any guitarist who wants to take their playing to the next level. Let’s take a look at how you master all 7 guitar modes in a way that’s both easy and enjoyable. So, grab your guitar, loosen up those fingers, and get ready to spice up your playing with the modes of the major scale guitar!

Modes are simply a series of scales derived from the major scale. These scales offer a unique sound and character that can enhance your guitar-playing and songwriting abilities.

Here is the normal order of the major modes on the guitar for your review.

  • Lonian
  • Dorian
  • Phrygian
  • Lydian
  • Mixolydian
  • Aeolian
  • Locrian

Each mode has a unique character and sounds that sets it apart from the other modes. Let’s take a look at each mode and its distinct features.

  1. Ionion-  The Ionian mode is exactly the same as the major scale and is just another name for it. It has a happy and uplifting sound, and it is the most common mode used in popular music. The Ionian mode is formed by starting on the first note of the major scale. The beauty of learning the Ionian mode is that it is a foundation on which you can learn the rest of the modes.
  1. Dorian mode-  The Dorian mode, sometimes called the Doric mode, is the second of the seven modes of the major scale. It has a minor chord and is often used in jazz, blues, and rock music. It is formed by starting on the second note of the major scale and playing the same pattern of whole and half steps. The modes are D – E – F – G – A – B – C.
  2. Phrygian mode- This falls under the third mode of the major scale. If you have ever heard any mode that sounds a bit Egyptian then it is most likely to fall under the Phrygian mode. To play this all you have to do is play all the notes on C major but starting on E. 
  1. Lydian mode- You can also think of the Lydian mode as being based on the 4th scale degree of any major scale. The Lydian mode has a dreamy and mystical sound and is often used in film scores and progressive rock music. It is formed by starting on the fourth note of the major scale and playing the same pattern of whole and half steps.
  1. Mixolydian mode- The Mixolydian mode has a bluesy and jazzy sound and is often used in blues and rock music. It is formed by starting on the fifth note of the major scale and playing the same pattern of whole and half steps.
  2. Aeolian mode- The Aeolian mode is also known as the natural minor mode. It has a sad and emotional sound and is often used in pop, rock, and metal music. It is formed by starting on the sixth note of the major scale and playing the same pattern of whole and half steps.
  1. Locrian mode: The Locrian mode has a dark and dissonant sound and is not commonly used in popular music. It starts on the seventh degree of the scale. It is formed by starting on the seventh note of the major scale and playing the same pattern of whole and half steps. The notes of this mode are B – C – D – E – F – G – A.

Learning all 7 major modes can be a bit challenging for beginners, but with the right online guitar courses and some practice, it can be accomplished relatively easily. Here are a few other blogs that can also help you learn guitar modes and play better. 

  1. Learn How To Play Guitar in 8 Steps
  2. 10 Top Guitar Tips for Beginners
  3. 8 Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners

Here are some steps to follow.

  • Practice the modes: The best way to get comfortable with the modes is to practice them in different keys. Start with C Major and work your way through the other keys. Play each mode ascending and descending, and focus on the unique characteristics of each mode.
  • Practice with backing tracks: Playing the modes over a backing track can help you get a sense of how they sound in context. You can find plenty of backing tracks online or create your own using a digital audio workstation (DAW).
  • Experiment with improvisation: Once you are comfortable with the modes, try improvising over a backing track using one mode at a time. This will help you develop your ear and become more comfortable with each mode.

Understand the major scale: All major modes are based on the major scale, so it’s essential to understand how to construct a major scale. The major scale follows the W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern (where W stands for whole step and H stands for half step) and has seven notes.


Learning guitar for beginners in India may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and guidance, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Follow and integrate these above-mentioned steps into your music journey to turn it easier and more interesting. 

If you want to know how to learn guitar online then at Artium Academy, we have music instrument classes that are comprehensive and easy to follow to master the major modes. Our experienced instructors offer 1:1 guidance and feedback to help students progress at their own pace and overcome any obstacles along the way. With our academy’s guidance, mastering the 7 major modes can become an enjoyable and achievable goal for guitarists of all levels. Join our guitar coaching and play your favorite songs now!