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.

  • Modes of the major scale

    How to play the seven modes of the major scale on the guitar. This guitar lesson provides guitar diagrams, scale charts and jazz guitar lines to understand and master the twelve Greek modes widely used in a number of style of music. These 7 scales are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian.
  • Modes of the harmonic minor scale

    What are the seven modes of the harmonic minor scale. Check out this web page that provides jazz guitar lines, scale charts and guitar diagrams about the 7 modes of the harmonic minor scale called Locrian 13, Ionian #5, Dorian #11, Phrygian dominant, Lydian #2 and super locrian bb7.
  • Modes of the melodic minor scale

    If you are wondering what are the seven modes of the melodic minor scale, you can consult this very comprehensive website that provides free guitar lessons with guitar neck diagrams, efficient jazz lines, scale charts to learn how to play these seven scales and how to use them in your improvisations.
  • Bebop scales

    Bebop scales are very used in jazz music and a must know for any jazz student. They are derived from the other modes and contains an additional note what makes them octatonic scales, in other words, scales with eight notes. Check out those lessons with diagrams and charts to learn how to play bebop scales on guitar.
  • Pentatonic scales

    How to play pentatonic scales on guitar. Jazz guitar lessons with guitar fretboard diagrams, theory, scale 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

    Symmetrical scales consists of repeated symmetric intervals, meaning that the octave is divided in equal parts. The most important symmetric scales are the whole-tone scale, the diminished scales and the augmented scale. This page provides links to lessons with neck diagrams, scale charts, theory and licks.