Scales & modes

Scales & modesA "scale" is a sequence of ascending or descending "pitches" that form a palette of notes that can be used to form a melody. The notes have differing intervals between them, sometimes it's one half-step (semitone), other times it's a whole step (two semitones).

There are many sorts of scales, including the "standard" diatonic scale (in western music): 

  • Chromatic scale (every half note in an octave).
  • whole-tone scale notes a whole step apart).
  • Pentatonic scales (the most used scale).
  • Bebop scales (eight notes scales)

They can even include quarter-tones and other microtones in the music of other cultures.

A "mode" is a specific type of scale. Each such sequence created by starting on a different note of a scale is a "mode" of that scale, and each mode has a name.

Click on the links below to access the lessons.

  • Modes of the major scale

    Here are the seven modes of the major scale. Ionian, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, aeolian, locrian. How to play them on the guitar using patterns.
  • Modes of the harmonic minor scale

    The modes of the harmonic minor scale. Guitar diagrams, fingering and positions. Jazz guitar lessons online.
  • Modes of the melodic minor scale

    There are seven modes in the melodic minor scale. Jazz guitar lesson with diagrams, patterns, guitar positions and fingerings.
  • Bebop scales

    Bebop scales are very used in jazz music and a must know for any jazz student.Here are the dorian, dominant, major & locrian bebop scales guitar patterns.
  • Pentatonic scales

    How to play pentatonic scales on guitar. Jazz guitar lessons with guitar fretboard diagrams, theory, scales charts and licks.
  • Blues scales

    Here are the main blues scales, composite blues scale, hexatonic, heptatonic, nonatonic, mixo blues, minor blues & major blues scales for jazz guitarists.
  • Symmetric scales

    Symmetric scales for jazz guitar. Lesson with diagrams and scales charts. Diminished, half whole, augmented and whole tone scales.


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