Phrygian flat 4 mode for guitar thumbnail

Comparison Between Phrygian Modes - Guitar Theory Lesson

In this guitar lesson, we will explore the differences between five different Phrygian modes taken from the major, harmonic minor, melodic minor, harmonic major and double harmonic major scales.

The Phrygian Mode

Understanding The Phrygian Mode

The Phrygian mode is a musical scale derived from the major scale (built on the third degree), characterized by a lowered second scale degree. It has a distinct and exotic sound, often associated with Spanish music and used to create tension.

The Phrygian mode is built with tonic (1), minor second (b2), minor third (b3), perfect fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), minor sixth (b6) and minor seventh (b7). The interval pattern is : H - W - W - W - H - W - W - 

"H" represents a half step (or semitone) and "W" represents a whole step (or whole tone).

For example, let's consider the key of E Phrygian. The E Phrygian mode is the third mode of C major, it consists of the following notes: E, F, G, A, B, C, D.

E Phrygian E F G A B C D
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 4 (11) 5 b6 (b13) b7
Intervals H W W W H W W
Phrygian mode for guitar
Phrygian mode guitar shapes

Phrygian Mode Variations

Here are four variations of the Phrygian mode discussed above, each with its distinct tonal qualities. Let's explore them one by one:

1 - Phrygian Dominant 

The Phrygian dominant mode is the fifth mode of the Harmonic Minor Scale, it is created by raising the third scale degree of the Phrygian mode. This alteration results in a major third interval between the first and third scale degrees, distinguishing it from the Phrygian mode's minor third. The rest of the intervals in the scale remain the same as the Phrygian mode.

The formula for the Phrygian dominant mode can be expressed as follows : Tonic (1) - minor 2nd (b2) - Major 3rd (3) - Perfect 4th (4) - Perfect 5th (5) - minor 6th (b6) - minor 7th (b7).

This scale is typically used over a dominant seventh chord with a flattened ninth and / or a flattened thirteenth (7b9, 7b13, 7b9b13).

For example, the E Phrygian dominant scale would consist of the following notes: E, F, G#, A, B, C, D. You can use this scale to solo or create melodic lines over an E7b9 chord (in a minor 2 5 1 sequence for example).

E Phrygian Dominant E F G# A B C D
Formula 1 b2 (b9) 3 4 (11) 5 b6 (b13) b7
Intervals H W + H W W H W W
Phrygian dominant mode for guitar
Phrygian dominant scale guitar shapes

2 - Phrygian #6

The Phrygian #6 mode is better known as Dorian b2, the second mode of the Melodic Minor Scale. It alters the Phrygian mode by raising the sixth scale degree by a half step.

For example, the E Phrygian #6 mode have the following notes: E, F, G, A, B, C#, D, E. The formula is : Tonic (1) - minor 2nd (b2) - minor 3rd (b3) - perfect 4th (4) - perfect 5th (5) - major 6th (6) - minor 7th (b7)

E Phrygian #6 E F G A B C# D
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Intervals H W W W W H W
Phrygian sharp 6 mode for guitar
Phrygian sharp sixth guitar shapes

3 - Phrygian b4

The Phrygian b4 mode is the third mode of the harmonic major scale. (Notice that the harmonic major scale is a musical scale that is similar to the major scale but with a lowered sixth degree).

The formula for the Phrygian b4 is : tonic (1) - minor 2nd (b2) - minor 3rd (b3) - flat 4th (b4) - perfect 5th (5) - minor 6th (b6) - minor 7th (b7). As you see in the chart below, the E phrygian flat four mode is composed of : E, F, G, Ab, B, C, D.

When looking to create a sense of tension over dominant chords, the Phrygian b4 mode can be a valuable choice. This mode incorporates three altered tones that contribute to its unique character: the flattened ninth (b9), the sharp ninth (#9), and the flattened thirteenth (b13). 

E Phrygian b4 E F G Ab B C D
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 (#9) b4 5 b6 (b13) b7
Intervals H W H H+W H W W
Phrygian flat 4 mode for guitar
Phrygian flattened 4th guitar shapes

4 - Ultraphrygian

The Ultraphrygian mode is derived from the double harmonic major scale by starting on the third degree of the scale. It is built of : 1 (tonic) - b2 (minor second) - b3 (minor third) - b4 (flat fourth) - 5 (perfect fifth) - b6 (minor sixth) and diminished seventh (bb7). It can also be considered as the seventh mode of the Hungarian Minor Scale.

The notes composing the E Ultraphrygian mode are E, F, G, Ab, B, C, Db. It is actually, the Phrygian b4 mode but with a diminished 7 (bb7).

E Ultraphrygian E F G Ab B C Db
Formula 1 b2 (b9) b3 (#9) b4 5 b6 (b13) bb7
Intervals H W H H+W H H H+W
Ultraphrygian mode for guitar
Ultraphrygian mode guitar shapes


You've now learned about the differences between the Phrygian modes. Remember to explore each mode individually, experiment with melodies, chords, and improvisation to unlock their full potential. 

  • Guitar Scale Dictionary

    This E-book is a printable PDF method including over 700 scale diagrams and formula charts for guitarists.
  • 30 Groovy Jazz Guitar Licks

    This downloadable package contains a PDF WITH audio files giving access to 30 groovy guitar phrases mixing jazz, blues and funky licks for beginners.
  • Guitar Chord Dictionary

    This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on the guitar neck.
  • 172 Arpeggio Shapes For Guitar

    This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
  • 126 Triad Chord Shapes

    This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
  • 30 Minor Arpeggio Licks

    This package includes a printable PDF method containing 30 exercises with tabs, staves and audio files for practicing minor arpeggios on guitar.
  • II V I Bundle - 170 Exercises

    This bundle contains 4 PDF methods for a total of 170 exercises with tabs, staves, analysis & audio files for practicing scales, arpeggios licks & chords over the 2-5-1 progression.
  • Diatonic Licks Bundle

    This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
  • 30 Smooth Jazz Guitar Licks

    In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files for practicing 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
  • 40 II V I Jazz Guitar Licks

    This pdf method for guitar contains fourteen 2 5 1 jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This printable PDF guitar method provides 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab and staves for learning major 2-5-1 chord voicings.
  • 40 Minor 2 5 1 Chord Voicings

    This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
  • 40 Minor II V I Licks

    This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor 2 5 1 jazz patterns.
  • 40 Mixolydian Jazz Guitar Lick

    PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
  • 40 Minor Jazz Guitar Licks

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • Guitar Walking Bass Lines

    This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
  • 11 Jazz Blues Studies

    11 jazz blues chord studies with tabs, standard notation, analysis, and audio recordings and PDF.
  • 10 Easy Fingerstyle Blues

    This PDF with Tabs and audio files provides 10 easy acoustic fingerstyle blues guitar studies for kids and beginners.
  • 25 Altered Jazz Guitar Lines

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant Patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
  • 10 Minor 7 Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF eBook offers 10 easy minor 7 arpeggio patterns with its related YouTube video for beginner guitarists.
  • 10 Easy Major 7 Arpeggio Licks

    This is a printable PDF for beginner jazz guitar players providing 10 easy licks to practice major 7 arpeggios.
  • 10 Chord Melody Lines

    Within this package, you'll discover a set of ten chord melody exercises for beginners. Printable PDFaudio files, a backing track, and a link to the associated YouTube video.
  • 10 Minor Blues Scale Licks

    You'll find here a PDF with 10 easy jazz guitar licks to practice the minor blues scale on guitar.
  • Mini Lesson 01 (ML 01)

    You'll find a mini guitar lesson about walking bass lines and chords containing a PDF with tab, score analysis, shapes, a video and a guitar pro file.
  • Mini Lesson 02 (ML 02)

    In this mini jazz guitar lesson you will learn how to play easy and cool jazz lines over basic chord changes found in jazz. Pdf, tab and video included.
  • Mini Lesson 03 (ML 03)

    With this short lesson you will learn how to play and connect basic guitar arpeggios over a diatonic chord progression.
  • Mini Lesson 04 (ML 04)

    This is a downloadable package with PDF, Tab, guitar pro file and video to practice guitar arpeggios over a jazz blues chord progression.
  • Mini Lesson 05 (ML 05)

    This downloadable package provides a PDF with Tab/score, a guitar pro file and a short video for practicing guitar arpeggios on a jazz blues progression in Bb.
  • Mini Lesson 06 (ML 06)

    This package for guitarists contains a PDF with tab, video, backing track and guitar pro file for practicing arpeggios over a basic jazz blues progression.
  • Mini Lesson 07 (ML 07)

    With this mini guitar lesson you will learn how to superimpose arpeggios over a diatonic chord progression. Video, pdf, jamtrack and guitar pro file included.
  • Mini Lesson 08 (ML08)

    Mini lesson with PDF, guitar pro file, video and backing track for practicing scale and arpeggio connections over a Bb jazz blues progression.
  • Mini Lesson 09 (ML09)

    This mini lesson is a downloadable package containing a PDF, video, backing track and guitar pro file of a jazz blues progression study in B.
  • Mini Lesson 10 (ML 10)

    This mini guitar lesson provides a printable PDF with tab/notation, video, backing track and guitar pro file for practicing open triads over Fly Me To The Moon.
  • Mini Lesson 11 (ML 11)

    This guitar lesson is a package inlcuding a PDF transcription with analysis, a short video, a backing track and a guitar pro file to learn to play jazz solo lines over Blue Bossa.
  • Guitar Arpeggios Poster

    This giant guitar poster for any guitar player, student or instructor contains colorful arpeggio diagrams. Giant size 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm).
  • Guitar Scales Poster 24*36

    Guitar posters and wall art with eighteen neck diagrams representing the most used scales in music.
  • Jazz Guitar Chords Poster

    This printed color posters contains 63 guitar chord diagrams for jazz players, students, teachers and schools.
  • Guitar Modes Poster

    Guitar reference posters and wall art about modes of the major scale for guitar teachers, students and music schools.
  • Melodic Minor Modes Poster

    Educative and decorative giant guitar poster with neck diagrams, interval names about the seven modes of the melodic minor scale.
  • Pentatonic Scale Guitar Poster

    This guitar reference poster shows the positions and intervals of the major pentatonic scale.
  • Guitar Notes Poster

    This is a giant poster showing the notes on the guitar fret board and their positions on a musical staff.
  • Triads Guitar Poster

    This reference poster show the positions and intervals of the main triads used on guitar. This is a useful tool for guitarists, teacher and students.
  • Four Archtop Guitars Poster

    This is a decorative poster with four archtop jazz guitars. Several size and colors in landscape format available on Teespring and redbubble.
  • Intervals On Guitar - Poster

    This giant poster for guitar provides neck diagrams with interval positions.

phrygian mode music theory guitar scales jazz modes minor scale flat second improvisation modal music jazz modal interchange ultraphrygian

Add a comment




Free pdf guitar