Diatonic Theory - Modes: An Introduction


Ahh, "the Mystical Modes", the "patterns every guitarists needs to know", these cryptic names that must hold the key to 
playing music, they are the "next step in your evolution as a guitarist", etc, etc...

These are the weights that are thrown on Modes by budding guitarist, by guitarist who want to be "in the know", and sought 
by guitarists who want to be "in the know".

Modes are USUALLY the next avenue guitarist persue after feeling left high and dry by Pentatonic Scales (which by the way 
is a rediculess reason).

To the guitarist Modes look like "more notes to play", like you are moving farther in your knowledge. Since you are 
applying "more notes"...you must be further along the path to playing everything you want to but haven't been able to YET.

This is such a common path that someone should've put a stop to it a long time ago. But, for some people, they will find 
their destination eventually but it's usually not because they know these "patterns".

If any of this sounds like you, I should tell you it also sounds like me years ago. My eyes widened with fasination and 
anticipation to explore ALL of the new notes I had been given by a friend who was more "trained" than I was.

But, at first they didn't always work to well when I tried replacing my puny Pentatonic scales with these larger more 
robust scales. So, I scratched my head...but I knew these had to be a key piece to the puzzle....but, how did they fit 
together, how would I make them work?

As time went on I found songs that the Aeolean Mode fit over, but in those cases/applications it was commonly called 
nothing more the a Natural Minor scale, not really Aeolean. Was I playing a Mode or a Scale?

Some questions, and even their answers, led to more confusion.

So, I was again back at the drawing board. And, I worked and tried to peice together these patterns known as Modes. I 
continuously tried to make them work.

And, as time went on I found this "three finger to a string" idea that worked GREAT with the patterns. With this I found 
very comfortible "patterns" I could take from the Modes and practice repetative licks with. I could play them comfortably 
too, which resulted in "faster" licks for me. So, I thought I was on to something and started peicing together all of the 
"three fingers to a string" patterns I could find. Still looking for the "magic".

But, after months I still wasn't making music with them. I could riff like mad...but half the time I was playing repetative 
things...nothing new...and in the process usually playing myself into a hole and not knowing where to go next.

But still, one GREAT thing is that over this time I completely learned these patterns all over the fretboard and knew these 
patterns like the back of my hand. So, in that sense I hadn't wasted any of my time.

I realized that I knew these patterns cold across the fretboard but really didn't understand their function in music.

Now I had a new quest...that was to find out if there was any deep meaning to these patterns that would actually allow me 
to create music instead of riffs.

I'm sure this story is in line with many other peoples experiences. Like I said, someone should've put a stop to it a long 
times ago. Modes are not patterns, they are Intervals that just happen to form a pattern on the guitar.

Modes are but one of the important concepts of Diatonic Theory.

This Series will give you an understanding of common concepts that need to exist (for most people) to fully utilized the 
Modes and their capabilities. But, the way to understand them is throught Diatonic Theory.