Using Scales and Modes in Your Songs to Give Them More Emotion part 3

In this blog I’ll discuss the last 3 modes as mentioned in my last post. 2 of these are contain major 3rds, and the other a minor 3rd.

Let’s start with the Lydian mode which has a major 3rd.. If you’re in ‘A’ minor,  you would start on the 6th note ‘F’ and play F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F.  If you’re in 5th position on the guitar you’d be starting on the 8th fret ‘F’ and going up the same notes as the A’ minor scale until you reach the 6th fret on the ‘B’ string. This is the octave of the first ‘F’. 

This mode is going to give you kind of a floaty/flying vibe. Listen to the Superman theme and the Simpson’s theme to hear what I mean by floaty.  “Flying in a Blue Dream” by Joe Satriani uses this scale.

Next up is the Mixolydian mode which also has a major 3rd. The interesting thing about this scale is although it has the major 3rd it can sound minor. Some examples include “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, (Guns N’ Roses)  “Thunderstruck” (AC/DC),  and “Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden). In the ‘A’ minor 5th position, you’d start on the G (5th fret of the ‘D’ string) and play G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  The octave ‘G’ being on the 8th fret of the ‘B’ string.

Last up, is the Locrian mode which has a minor 3rd. This mode is known for its tension and instability. Because there is no 5th in the mode it make the root note chord diminished.  It can feel creepy or sad. Examples include “Sad but True” (Metallica) and intro riff to “YYZ” (Rush). There aren’t tons of rock songs written in this scale. In the ‘A’ minor 5th position, you’d start on the ‘B’ (7th fret of the low ‘E’’ string) and play B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B  The octave ‘B’ being on the 4th fret of the ‘G’ string.

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