The Lydian Dominant Scale - Guitar Lesson with Shapes

What's the Lydian Dominant Mode? 

The Lydian b7 scale, sometimes referred to as the overtone scale or acoustic scale is more generally named Lydian dominant scale. This is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale and a great choice when you want to bring out the sharp eleventh (#11) in your dominant jazz guitar lines. The formula is 1 - 2 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6 - b7.

How is Built the Lydian b7 Mode? 

The Lydian dominant scale is made of seven notes, the formula is tonic (1) - Second (2) - major third (3) - Augmented fourth (#4) - Perfect fifth (5) - Sixth  (6) and minor seventh (b7).

F Lydian dominant scale F G A B C D Eb
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) b7
Intervals W W W H W H W

How to Play the Lydian Dominant Scale on Guitar?

The suggested positions below show how to play the Lydian dominant scale on guitar using one-octave and two octave shapes but also 3-notes per string shapes (3NPS).

Lydian dominant guitar scale
Lydian dominant guitar positions
Lydian dominant guitar diagrams

Difference With Mixolydian

The Lydian dominant scale is a nice alternative to the dominant scale when you want to improvise over dominant 7 chords, it allows you to step outside the box. John Scofield, Larry Carlton, Scott Henderson and many more famous jazz-fusion guitarists are fond of this #11 sound.

We can compare it with the Mixolydian mode to observe that the Lydian dominant mode ius built the same but has a raised fourth (#4/#11) instead of a perfect 4.

Mixolydian scale 1 2 (9) 3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Lydian dominant scale 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 5 6 (13) b7
Comparison between lydian dominant and mixolydian

Comparison With Lydian Mode.

It can be useful to compare the Lydian dominant mode with the Lydian mode (fourth mode of the major scale). As you see in the chart and shapes below, the only difference is the b7.

Lydian mode 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 dominant and lydian scale
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Last edited: 2021-05-17


  • George Elbel
    Very nice !! My all time favorite for getting outside over a dominant 7th chord remains the altered dominant scale - i , b9 , #9 , 3 , b5 , #5 , b7 . I see that you discuss it on the site as well . It's nice to have so many options when adding some "spice" to playing over a dominant 7th chord . It never gets old when you have a few tools in the old tool box to choose from .

    Cheers !!!

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