The Lydian Scale | Guitar Lesson with Diagrams

The Lydian mode is one of the seven diatonic modes derived from the major scale. It is constructed on the fourth degree of the major scale. It has the same notes as the major scale but with a raised fourth degree (#4).

How To Build The Lydian Mode?

As shown in the table below, the interval pattern for the Lydian scale is 1 (tonic) - 2 (second) - 3 (major third) - #4 (augmented fourth) - 5 (perfect fifth) - 6 (sixth) - 7 (seventh).

F Lydian mode F G A B C D E
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) 7
Intervals W W W H W W H

(W = whole step ; H = half step)

The Lydian mode gets interesting when played over a major chord, for example playing a F lydian over a FM7 brings a little bit of tension because of the raised fourth / raised eleventh (#4 - #11).

Comparison With Other Lydian Modes

It can be helpful to compare the Lydian scale with the five other Lydian modes taken from the harmonic minor, harmonic major and melodic minor scales.

  • The Lydian#2 mode is built on the sixth degree of the harmonic minor scale.
  • The Lydian diminished (aka Lydian b3) is built on the fourth step of the harmonic major scale.
  • The Lydian augmented #2 is built on the sixth degree of the harmonic major scale.
  • The Lydian augmented is the third mode of the melodic minor scale.
  • The Lydian dominant is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale.
Lydian 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) 7
Lydian #2 1 #2 (#9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) 7
Lydian diminished 1 2 (9) b3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) 7
Lydian augmented #2 1 #2 (#9) 3 #4 (#11) #5 6 (13) 7
Lydian augmented 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) #5 6 (13) 7
Lydian dominant 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) b7


Comparison between lydian modes on guitar 1
Lydian mode 4th mode of the major scale

Lydian Scale Guitar Diagrams

One Octave Shapes

Here are four guitar shapes to play the Lydian mode:

  • The first shape has tonic on the 6th and 4th string.
  • The second shape has tonic on the 5th and 3rd string.
  • The third shape has tonic on the 4th and 2nd string.
  • The fourth shape has tonic on the 3rd and 1st string.

To understand and hear the lydian mode it is recommended to play these patterns starting with the tonic (1), the orange note in the diagrams.

Lydian mode guitar shapes

Two Octave Shapes

These two shapes show how you can play the Lydian mode in position whithin the space of two octaves.

Lydian Mode and Major triad Chord - Audio file

Lydian mode guitar diagrams

7 Notes Per String

Here are seven Lydian shapes starting on each degree of the scale. Once you have learned all these shapes be sure to play them in twelve keys by moving the tonic to the desired note keeping the same intervals.

Lydian mode guitar shapes

Lydian Mode Harmonization - Chords & Arpeggios

The Lydian mode harmonized in thirds gives the following chords and arpeggios. One effective way to practice scales is to associate them with their related chords. You can play the Lydian mode over these chords.

C Lydian C D E F# G A B
Intervals 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Roman Numeral Analysis I II iii #iv° V vi vii
Triads Major Major Minor Diminished Major Minor Minor
Seventh Chords Maj7 Dom7 min7 min7b5 Maj7 min7 min7
Lydian mode harmonized in arpeggios

Lydian Guitar Chords

The Lydian scale can be applied to a number of chord types, the most obvious are : maj6#11, maj7#11 and maj9#11. However, you can use the Lydian mode over over non-altered chords as maj7, maj6, maj9, simply to add tension to your lines.

Look at the diagrams below and try to associate them with the Lydian shapes previously seen.

Non altered chords for lydian scale
Lydian guitar chords

Lydian Mode and Minor Pentatonic Scale

When playing a minor pentatonic scale (1 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7) starting from the major seventh (7) of a maj7#11 chord you emphasize the important chord tones that are the seventh (7) and the third (3) as well as the upper-structure (9, #11 and 13). 

Over an Fmaj7#11 chord, just take the seventh degree (E) and play a minor pentatonic scale (E - G - A - B - D) as shown in the first phrase below.

Fmaj7#11 F G A B C D E
Intervals 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) 7
E min penta. E G A B X D X
Intervals 1 b3 4 5 X b7 X
Emin against Fmaj7#11 7 (2)9 3 #4 (#11) X 6 (13) X
Lydian mode and minor pentatonic scale

Lydian Lick #1 - Minor Pentatonic Scale

Here is Fmaj#11 line. You see an E minor pentatonic scale on the first two bars.

Lydian lick guitar

Lydian Lick #2 - Intervals of Sixths

This F Lydian lick contains thee intervals of sixths ; C - A ; B - G and A - F. Trying to play intervals from the Lydian mode can bring interesting ideas into your major lines.

Lydian lick 2

Lydian Lick #3 - Minor Blues Scale

Another idea of Lydian lick is to add a chromatic passing tone, a flatted fifth, between the fourth and the fifth of the minor pentatonic scale, thus giving an E minor blues scale.

This way you will set a short chromatic line (A-Bb-B) to approach the #11 of Fmaj7.

Lydian jazz line

Printable eBooks - PDF

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Last edited: 2024-03-16

Add a comment




Free pdf guitar