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Is it worth learning Modes?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by jimmybcool, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    I have a teacher that makes hard effort to keep me working on learning theory. OK, thats a good thing I guess though I have more fun trying to learn songs.

    Right now he is trying to get me to comprehend modes, how to navigate up and down th fretboard, and knowing where I am in relation to the "1" note at all times. I think he says "Playing guitar is knowing where the one note is" in his sleep.

    So, for a guy who is too pld to ever really play in a legitimate band or have a carreer is it worth the time to get this stuff? Will it allow me to assimilate songs so much easier it is worth doing now instead of learning Hendrix?

    Opinions please.

    PS - who can name a single song in Locrian :crazy
     
  2. Blindspot

    Blindspot Member

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    I'm sure you will get some enlightening answers to your query, as soon as the Locrian melody leaves our collective consciousness....:eek:
     
  3. hangten

    hangten Silver Supporting Member

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    No.
    just learn the ones hendrix used...
     
  4. yZe

    yZe Senior Member

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    Modes are more of a theoretical concept in order to explain other concepts

    It is more important to understand chord tones and how those modal scale tones resolve to such chord tones over a given chord progression

    You only look at a mode IN LIGHT OF what the chord tones are
     
  5. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    My current practice priorities are to
    1. Improve my chord vocabulary, mastering a number of shapes/patterns for all the common extensions
    2. be able to play and hear the different modes.
    IMO, building one's chord and scale vocabularies goes a long way towards letting you better hear songs and melodies, making it easier for you to comp as well as solo/improvise.
     
  6. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    My opinion is,.... yes!

    You might be invited to a jam sometime, and someone will play a cool chord progression. If you know theory, you will be able to improvise over the changes and play some cool stuff. How fun is that?

    It's easy to learn and apply modes in a rock context. Just remember that each major mode contains a major pentatonic scale. (5 notes) The other 2 notes come from the key that you are in. Likewise, minor modes contain a minor pentatonic, with the other 2 notes coming from the key.

    Here's an example:

    A minor pentatonic= ACDEG
    in the key of C, add B and F. Aeolian mode

    A minor pentatonic=ACDEG
    in the key of G, add B and F#. Dorian mode

    A minor pentatonic=ACDEG
    in the key of F, add Bb and F. Phrygian mode

    Easy, right? Fun too. Worth the trouble? I think so.
     
  7. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    Wow! What a question!


    Making progress is always going to involve at least a modicum of self-discipline. IE practicing as opposed to noodle-ing and only playing the stuff you want to.

    The major scale modes are a considerable chunk of musical knowledge that can ultimately enable you to do a seemingly endless number of things, if put to good use.

    Getting those seven patterns under your fingers can unlock all kinds of mysteries and ultimately serve to deepen your vocabulary, but not if you keep wondering "when are we gonna get to the good stuff," "or why am I doing this."

    I say, go for it. It'll only make you a better player in the long run -- and I assume that's what you want given that you're taking lessons. :AOK
     
  8. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Yes, it's worth it. But then again, I don't believe the pursuit of knowledge needs a justification.

    The beginning of "Inner Urge" by Joe Henderson.

    Locrian works great over any half-diminished chord, wherever you find them.
     
  9. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Did he tell you what that means, cuzz I'm still trying to figure it out.

    I think learning the modes helps your ears, helps you learn your way around the fingerboard and helps you communicate better with other musicians. It's definitely worth learning. It's not the only way to play melodies or solos, but it's worth more than just dismissing out of hand as being not worth bothering with.

    The intro to Enter Sandman by Metallica, the keyboard melody during the intro to YYZ by Rush.
     
  10. Antero

    Antero Member

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    It depends entirely on your priorities as a player. Knowledge is always good, but you might be better off spending your time working on a different aspect of guitar playing, eh?

    The question is, what do YOU want to do, and what will help you do it?
     
  11. ivers

    ivers Member

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    Learn the major scales in all keys, then take the 30 minutes to memorize the names of the modes within the major scale. It's not hard, and no theory can hurt you. What you don't need, though, is to think modally in order to navigate changes in functional harmony, that's IMO overcomplicating stuff.
     
  12. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    Morning. Thanks for the responses. LOLs. Who knew anyone actually did play Locrian.

    I guess it is hard to stay with the grind. I've been playing now for almost 2 years and still can't really rip up the fretboard. Seems most songs I want to play have some aspect that is too difficult. For example Hendrix uses these chords with the thumb over the top in most of what he does and I can NOT get that right.

    But, I guess I agree that I need the foundation so 5 years from now I'm not still lost. I need to be able to play the scales and pentatonics and chords and recognize what key am in if I want to play with others.

    Gosh. This is hard. I thought all rock guitarists were drug addled undisciplined womanizing party monsters. I mean, that's why I started this :dude
     
  13. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

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    It takes 10 years to get to that point.Keep practicing.
     
  14. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    This is so old school...

    Politicians are now the the kings of the 'undisciplined womanizing party monsters', and lawyers have all the best drugs.


    In all seriousness - relax man, you've only been playing two years? This is a race that goes to the marathon runner, not the sprinter. Learn at whatever pace it comes, find lots of people to play with and have fun.
     
  15. MGT

    MGT Member

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    There's no reason you can't spend some of your practice time learning some theoretical concepts AND learning songs/lead parts, is there? Once you start really understanding the scale/chord relationships better, you'll probably see how that stuff helps you learn the songs anyway!!

    I always loved learning the songs & transcribing solos, too (who doesn't!!) but I always tried to figure out why he/she was playing those notes...otherwise, it would be hard to figure out how to apply it to my own solos. I can remember how much easier those rock solos were to figure out once I knew the natural minor scale (aeolian mode) up & down the neck.
     
  16. unoguitar

    unoguitar Member

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    I learned the 7 major modes over a few weeks last year. This after "playing" guitar for 30 yrs. (see sig.). I am surprised how often now that I can recognize the use of these modes in recordings I've heard all my life, and now I can readily jam along and even improvise a little over the track and do so correctly.
    It becomes even more mind boggling that I might some day be able to actually understand the construct of the modes and chord/mode relationships.
     
  17. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    Nah. My body won't take it. I guess I'll have to emulate a clean living rock star (?) cause I can't even take the hangover more than 4 scotches give me now.
     
  18. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    Hey, I just want the room keys and underwear thrown at me on stage. is that so much to ask? Yup :rotflmao

    I know it takes time but at 51 I wonder how long have I got anyway. I'd like to do something with it but I don't want to do it until I feel accomplished.

    I soulda taken up drums or flute. I'd be farther along now and wouldn't have spent so much on toys :BOUNCE
     
  19. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    Well, another hour spent practicing scales and later another hour reading and practicing different patterns based on mode.

    Maybe in 30 years I'll get it too.
     
  20. Donster

    Donster Member

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    Learning new stuff can only lead to good things. Like an idea that you wouldn't have stumbled on otherwise...

    I vote for learning it. Besides, the more exotic you get with it the cooler it sounds!
     

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