Saturday, January 22, 2011

Learn Guitar Scales to Play Amazing Dorian Guitar Solos

To understand the Dorian mode it is essential that the major scale or Ionian mode is first understood. The Dorian mode is derived from the major scale by simply starting on the second note of the major scale. By making the second note now the root note, and keeping the same interval structure, we create a completely different set of sounding notes known as the Dorian mode. As you learn guitar scales you will find this mode particularly useful for soloing.
Let’s compare the intervals of the Dorian mode with that of the major scale. So if both have the same root note - we notice that they contain the same intervals, however the Dorian mode has its third dropped a semitone creating a minor third and the seventh is also dropped a semitone. This difference in two notes will make the two sound very different.
As you learn guitar scales and modes you will come across the commonly used natural minor scale. The Dorian mode is very similar to the natural minor scale, with one important difference. The Dorian mode has a major sixth interval – the same as the major scale -compared to the flattened sixth of the natural minor scale. This one difference makes the Dorian mode much brighter and happier sounding compared with the natural minor scale.
The Dorian mode is often said to have a “bluesy” sound when played on the guitar. When you learn guitar scales for the first time, no doubt you will encounter the minor pentatonic scale or the blues scale. If we add a major second and a major sixth to the minor pentatonic scale we create the Dorian mode. These two notes will add more flavour and diversity to your guitar solos, whilst maintaining the “bluesy” undertones from the common pentatonic notes.
The Dorian mode can be applied to many different styles of music. In rock music, as an example, Eric Clapton uses this mode in the classic “Cocaine”, and Carlos Santana uses this mode often to solo with. There are many examples in popular music as well as jazz using this mode. As you progress with lead guitar and learn guitar scales, you will start to hear the different intervals and identify the modes in various songs.

The Dorian mode can be played over minor chords or seventh chords. Seventh chords tend to sound good because four out of the seven notes are common, making it hard to hit a “bad” note.
As you learn guitar scales and modes, keep an eye out for the Dorian mode. Using this mode will take your pentatonic solos up a level giving them a more diverse and colourful sound. You will be truly amazed at what the addition of just two notes to the minor pentatonic scale can really do for your guitar solos.
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