The Mixolydian Mode | Guitar Lesson with Shapes Charts and Licks

The Mixolydian mode is a popular scale in guitar playing, renowned for its vibrant and versatile sound. Built on the fifth degree of the major scale, it features a flattened seventh degree, lending it a distinctively bluesy and folk-like flavor.

Often used in genres like rock, blues, jazz, and folk, the Mixolydian mode offers guitarists a rich palette of melodic possibilities. Its characteristic sound pairs well with dominant seventh chords, making it a go-to choice for improvisation, soloing, and crafting dynamic guitar solos. 

What's the Mixolydian Mode?

The Mixolydian mode is the fifth mode of the major scale. The interval formula is tonic (1), second (2), major third (3), fourth (4), fifth (5), sixth (6) and minor seventh (b7). It is built the same as the Ionian mode (aka major scale), except the seventh which is minor (b7).

The Mixolydian mode can be used over any non-altered dominant chord as dom7, dom9, dom11, dom13, 7sus4.

The Dominant scale is the another name for the Mixolydian mode. It is called " dominant" because it is built from the 5th degree of the major scale also called "dominant". 

The Mixolydian mode is widely used in jazz and blues music for improvising over dominant chords. It is one of the most important scale to know.

G Mixolydian mode G A B C D E F
Formula 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Intervals W W H W W H W

(W = whole step ; H = half step)

One Octave Shapes

Here are four one octave shapes that will help youy play the Dominant scale on guitar. The first neck diagram has the tonic on the 6th and 4th string.

The second has tonic on the fifth and third string. The third shape has the tonic on the fourth and second string and the fourth has the tonic on the third and first string.

To understand and hear the Mixolydian mode, it is recommended to play these patterns starting from the tonic (orange dot).

For example, to play the G Mixolydian mode with the 3rd shape you will need to put your second finger on the 4th string at the fifth fret.

Mixolydian mode for guitar

Two Octave Shapes

These two diagrams provides two shapes to play the Dominant scale within two octaves.

Be sure to play these shapes in all twelve keys by moving the tonic to the desired note while keeping the same intervals.

Mixolydian Mode and Major triad Chord - Audio file


Mixolydian mode guitar diagrams

3 Notes Per String ( 7 shapes)

Here below you see how to play the Mixolydian mode all over the guitar neck using 7 different shapes.

Mixolydian mode guitar positions

Mixolydian Scale - 5 Exercises For Guitar

Here are 5 easy guitar exercises for practicing the Mixolydian mode on guitar.

mixolydian lick for guitar
Mixolydian guitar lick
Mixolydian guitar line
Mixolydian jazz guitar lick
Mixolydian guitar pattern

The Twelve Mixolydian Modes

The chart below represents the twelve Mixolydian modes to know. Any jazz guitar student must keep in mind that each mixolydian scale relates to a parent key.

For example, the parent key of A Mixolydian is D, in other words, A Mixolydian is the fifth mode of D major. 

A Mixolydian Mode A, B , C#, D, E, F#, G D
Bb Mixolydian Mode Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab Eb
B Mixolydian Mode B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A E
C Mixolydian Mode C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb F
Db Mixolydian Mode Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C Gb
D Mixolydian Mode D, E, F#, G, A, B, C G
E Mixolydian Mode E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D A
Eb Mixolydian Mode Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db Ab
F Mixolydian Mode F, G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb Bb
F# Mixolydian Mode F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E B
G Mixolydian Mode G, A, B, C, D, E, F C
Ab Mixolydian mode Ab, Bb, C,Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab Db

Chords From The Mixolydian Mode

The chart below shows you how to build a major triad, sixth and dominant 7th arpeggios from the Mixolydian mode.

As you can see a major triad consists of a root/tonic (1), major third (3) and fifth (5). By adding the sixth (6) you get a sixth arpeggio.

When adding the minor seventh to the same triad you get a dominant 7th arpeggio. Remember that an arpeggio is a chord whose notes are played one by one.

G Mixolydian mode G A B C D E F Chord
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7  
G Major triad 1 x 3 x 5 x x G
G sixth arpeggio 1 x 3 x 5 6 (13) x G6
G dominant seventh arpeggio 1 x 3 x 5 x b7 G7


How To Play The Upper-Structure of Dominant 7 Chords? 

Another technique used by many jazz musicians is to play the upper-structure of chords. This technique consists of playing any note in the chord above the seventh. Let's take the G7 chord (G-B-D-F) which is made up of a root (1), major third (3) perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7).

These notes are derived from the G Mixolydian mode. If you refer to chart above, the upper-structure of the G7 chord includes the ninth (A), the eleventh (C) and the thirteenth (E). It means that you can add these extensions to any dominant chord.

This chart shows the extensions that can be applied to dominant seventh chords or dominant arpeggios.

Root/Tonic C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B
9th D Eb E F F# G Ab A Bb B C C#
11th F Gb G Ab A Bb Cb C Db D Eb E
13th A Bb B C C# D Eb E F F# G G#

II V I Jazz Guitar Line - Extended Arpeggios

This easy example shows you how to apply extensions over a major II-V-I progression in the key of C. Indeed you can play the upper-structure of any type of chord.

The first measure is based on the D Dorian mode (D - E - F - G - A - B - C), it starts with a minor seventh arpeggio (1-b3-5-b7) with the ninth (E) and the eleventh added (G).

In the second bar you may notice three extended tones, the ninth (A), the eleventh (C) and the thirteenth (E)  from the G Mixolydian scale (G-A-B-C-D-E-F).

Mixolydian Modes & Passing Tones

Here is a short exercise implying four Mixolydian lines with passing tones. You'll find the full lesson here and the free Printable PDF on Jazz Guitar Lick's GUMROAD STORE.

Mixolydian Mode Jazz Guitar Backing Track With Scale Chart

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Last edited: 2024-03-13


  • Nikolaos Andrikopoulos
    • 1. Nikolaos Andrikopoulos On 2020-11-12
    thank you!
    • jazz-guitar-licks
      • jazz-guitar-licksOn 2020-11-13
      You're welcome ;)

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