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The Major Scale Modes for Guitar (Part 2): Lydian, Mixolydian, and Phrygian Modes

The Lydian Mode

Now let's go on to look at the Lydian Mode. Lydian has a major sound but also has a unique sonic character due to a sharp fourth interval. To get the Lydian sound, using our existing patterns, we want to start from the Phrygian mode pattern, and flat every note by one half step. So in other words, start with the second note of Phrygian Mode Pattern 1, then play through the scale. This will yield the Lydian Mode sound.

Lydian Mode patterns

The Mixolydian Mode

OK, now let's take a look at the Mixolydian Mode. This mode is similar to the major scale, but contains a flatted seventh interval. It works well over Dominant Seventh chords (we will look at these chords later).

Mixolydian Mode patterns

The Aeolian Mode

The Aeolian mode is also the same scale pattern that we refer to as the Natural Minor Scale or just Minor Scale. In reference to the Major or Ionian scale, Aeolian has a flat third interval, which is very important in bringing out the minor sound, and also flat sixth and seventh intervals. It has a feel that is more melancholy. This mode works well over minor sounding chords.

Aeolian Mode Patterns

Locrian is the last of the Major Scale modes. We are going to skip this mode, since it is not a very useful one. It contains a lot of altered pitches and just does not play well over any kind of popular music, which is the focus of our course. Just be aware of it for now, and if you feel like you really need it, just play the major scale with every note sharp by one half step.

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