Guitarlincs - Free Guitar Music

Graphics - The Bass Modes

For now, just the simplest graphics for each mode, based on string 4 - the same patterns also work one string down, starting on string 3. These are fully moveable so you need to learn your note names on strings 4 and 3 if you don't already know them! Later on perhaps we can get into whole fretboard versions and following on from this simple introduction, a little more analysis of style and differences in sound quality.

 Mode 1 is the Ionian Mode, this is the scale we normally understand as Major.




 Mode 2 is the dorian mode, basically a minor mode with a raised 6th.


Mode 3 is the phrygian mode, a minor mode with a flat 2nd that sounds darker than the regular minor.


Mode 4 is the mixolydian mode, close to the major scale, but the flat 7th gives it a bluesy quality.


Mode 5 is the lydian mode, a major scale with a raised 4th.


 Mode 6 is the aeolian mode, this is the natural minor scale without alteration.


Mode 7 is the locrian mode, a very dark mode that works well over diminished chords. It is not often used otherwise as its sound is disturbing to many.


Using Modes on Bass

As on guitar, the modes work by effectively reordering the tones and semitones within a scale and changing the points of tension. This affects the sound and the emotional quality of the scale and the music produced from it (more later on this theory!) For now, I intend to add simple graphics of the basic shapes (there are several) and a brief comment on use and style:

Today's offering is C mixolydian. The mixolydian mode works really well in a bright up tempo blues song (not all blues is miserable, forget what your class teachers tell you about that and go check out Howling Wolf, or more recently Stevie Ray Vaughan. Quite a lot of blues is cheeky, raunchy, happy and major.) The mixolydian scale equates with the dominant 7th chords so often used in blues and so has a flat 7th.