The Dorian b5 mode - Guitar Diagrams and Theory

What's the Dorian b5 mode?

The Dorian b5 scale is the second mode of the harmonic major scale. This is a minor scale built with root (1), second (2), minor third (b3), fourth (4), diminished fifth (b5), sixth (6) and minor seventh (b7).

You can see it as the Dorian mode with a b5. It should not be confused with the second mode of the harmonic minor scale named Locrian 13 that contains a b2. The Dorian b5 mode can be used over any half-diminished chord in a minor II-V-I sequence for example.

D Dorian b5 mode D E F G Ab B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) b5 6 (13) b7
Intervals W H W H W+H H W


Dorian b5 scale


Comparison with the Dorian mode

The chart below show you the difference between the Dorian b5 mode and the Dorian mode, which is the second mode of the major scale and the most used when improvising over minor chords.

D Dorian b5 mode D E F G Ab B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) b5 6 (13) b7
D Dorian mode D E F G A B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7

Comparison with the Locrian 13 mode

The Locrian 13 mode is the second mode of the harmonic minor scale. It has a b2 instead of a natural 2.

D Dorian b5 mode D E F G Ab B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) b5 6 (13) b7
D Locrian 13 mode D Eb F G Ab B C
Formula 1 b2 (9) b3 4 (11) b5 6 (13) b7

Triads built from the Dorian b5 mode

The Dorian b5 mode brings four types of triads :

  • Two major triads
  • Two minor triads
  • One augmented triad 
  • Two diminished triads .

Exemple with the D Dorian b5 mode :

  • Gmaj (G-B-D)
  • Cmaj (C-E-G)
  • Em (E-G-B)
  • Fm (F-Ab-C)
  • Abaug (Ab-C-E)
  • Ddim (D-F-Ab)
  • Bbdim (Bb-D-F)

Seventh chords built from the Dorian b5 mode

When stacking thirds on each degree of the Dorian b5 mode we obtain these chords.   

  • i m7b5 (9, 11, 13) 
  • ii m7  (b9, b11, b13) 
  • iii minMaj7 (9, #11, 13) 
  • IV7 (b9, 11, 13)  
  • V maj#5 (#9, #11, 13)
  • VI dim7 (b9, 11, b13) 
  • VII maj7 (9, 11, b13)

Chords of the dorian b5 mode

Dorian b5 guitar diagrams

Here are two main positions to play the Dorian b5 mode on guitar.

Dorian b5 mode

D dorian b5 mode 2

  • 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 guitar.
  • 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 Smooth Jazz Guitar Licks

    In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files related to 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 guitar method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
  • 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.
  • II V I Bundle

    This package contains 3 PDF methods for jazz guitarists with tabs, audio files, analysis about the II V I progression.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • 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.

Last edited: 2021-02-13

Add a comment