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Thread: What mode should I use?

  1. #1
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    Question What mode should I use?

    Hey guys, I learned The Ocean by Led Zeppelin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbSugn0dB4c) all the way through, riff, chords, all of that and now I just need a solo, I don't like to copy solos because I think solos are like spontaneous improv but I'm just wondering what mode i should play in. The key in D and I already tried E dorian but it sounded very sad (not what I was looking for for this song ) So yeah, What do you guys think, BTW I want like a happy sound, almost like Page's solo. Thanks

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    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    The major scale is happy. So go D Ionian. Why does Dorian sound sad? It's supposed to. Remember major = happy, minor = sad.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 09-10-2009 at 11:10 PM.

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    If you want a sound similar to Jimmy Page's solo why not study it to try to figure out what scale(s) he was using to get his sound, and then use that knowledge put your own spin on it...

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    I triedn Ionian, It just sounded bad, Not sure why, Almost like I was playing in the wrong mode but I checked again and again D ionian, Any ideas?

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    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeman9412@gma
    I don't like to copy solos because I think solos are like spontaneous improv ....
    This is the biggest load of nonsense to appear on this board for a long time.

    To spontaneously improvise to any level of satisfaction you need to learn A LOT, A HUGE NUMBER, AN ENDLESS VARIETY OF solos.

    No offence mate, but you need to change this specific attitude right now. I have never heard anyone ever say this and I know a lot of musicians. I doubt anyone on this forum would every condone this..... really bad mate, really bad.

    As for this song, try a mix of minor pentatonic, & major pentatonic (this is the same as mixing dorian & mixolydian). Its just a standard blues/rock sound.
    Last edited by bluesking; 09-10-2009 at 11:58 PM.
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    Let's say I go to a show of a band and they play a song like stairway to heaven, I don't want to hear Page's solo, I've heard it millions of times, is it good? Yes, but I'd rather hear the guitarists take on it, Like to play a solo note for note i don't really like to hear, maybe other people do but i don't I'd rather hear something different, Like look at page in different concerts, Yes he sticks to the form of the stairway solo but he soon begins to improvise and create an entirely new sound, see what I mean?

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    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeman9412@gma
    Let's say I go to a show of a band and they play a song like stairway to heaven, I don't want to hear Page's solo, I've heard it millions of times, is it good? Yes, but I'd rather hear the guitarists take on it, Like to play a solo note for note i don't really like to hear, maybe other people do but i don't I'd rather hear something different, Like look at page in different concerts, Yes he sticks to the form of the stairway solo but he soon begins to improvise and create an entirely new sound, see what I mean?
    Yes, thats how I would play that song on stage too. If you continue to have the attitude I highlighted above, you will never be that guitarist. If you think that guitarist hasn't learned at least a hundred similar solos note for note you will regret it.
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    Wait so what do you mean, first you said I was wrong and it was nonsense and then you agreed with me "Yes, thats how I would play that song on stage too."??

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    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeman9412@gma
    Wait so what do you mean, first you said I was wrong and it was nonsense and then you agreed with me "Yes, thats how I would play that song on stage too."??
    I'm trying to avoid being rude. What I really mean is:

    1.) Yes, thats how I would do it. What I do on stage isn't the same as what I do when I practice, nor is it the same as what I do when I'm just jamming to CDs.

    2.) No, you are not ready to do that. You need to learn a lot of solos note for note.
    Last edited by bluesking; 09-11-2009 at 12:45 AM.
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    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeman9412@gma
    Hey guys, I learned The Ocean by Led Zeppelin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbSugn0dB4c) all the way through, riff, chords, all of that and now I just need a solo, I don't like to copy solos because I think solos are like spontaneous improv but I'm just wondering what mode i should play in. The key in D and I already tried E dorian but it sounded very sad (not what I was looking for for this song )
    "This song" is what it is. You don't change the mood of an existing song by using a different mode. That just gives you wrong notes.
    You want to play The Ocean, play The Ocean.
    AFAIK (I don't know the track well), the chords are power chords on D, C, G and A.
    It so happens that this sequence does offer some flexibility of scale choice. There are only 5 notes comprising those 4 chords:
    D, A, C, G, E.
    (That's A minor pent/C major pent if you didn't recognise it)
    That's the material of the song, so is your foundation for any improvisation.

    There are three major scales those 5 notes are found in:
    C major
    G major
    F major

    With D as key centre, that translates as the following mode choices:
    D dorian
    D mixolydian
    D aeolian

    E dorian, notice (D ionian), is not among them. That contains a C#, which is not part of the song's material (you have C instead).
    I don't quite know why this would sound "sad" used over those chords: E dorian over D is just D major/ionian, normal "happy" major key sound.
    Still, it would fit the A and G chords too - but not the C chord.

    The thing to do is try the above 3 modes, one at a time, over the solo sequence, see which you like. D mixolydian is the brightest, D aeolian (natural minor) the darkest.

    D blues scale (or minor pent) would probably work OK too, depending on how much time there is on the C and A chords, where D minor pent might cause problems.

    If you want to change the mood, you either play the tune faster (happier) or slower (sadder).
    If you still don't like the results - maybe you should try a different song!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking
    I'm trying to avoid being rude. What I really mean is:

    1.) Yes, thats how I would do it. What I do on stage isn't the same as what I do when I practice, nor is it the same as what I do when I'm just jamming to CDs.

    2.) No, you are not ready to do that. You need to learn a lot of solos note for note.
    I'm not saying not to practice solos, but in all honesty, I've only learned maybe 5 solos, or let's say 10 to be sure to cover the ones i've forgotten that i've learned.

    Imo, what you want to do is know your fretboard, not only from a theory standpoint, which is my weakness, but more from a sound viewpoint. you want to be able to know immediately without thought where to press to get which sound.

    i find the best way to do this is trial and error of making solos yourself, although i really recommend transcribing solos you particularly like as well, and fitting them into the key you're in, so you can use what you've learned in something else.

    transcribing period, can help for this as well.

    once you can play anything you can imagine, then simply remembering the tune of something becomes the equivalent of having learned how to play it.

    you can hear a solo once and repeat it, or maybe not repeat it but add your twist in its flavour.

    this i think is the main goal for soloing. learning solos can help, can give you ideas, but it's maybe not the best way. if you do learn solos though transcribe them because error is where knowledge comes from.

    copying a tab, doesn't really do much for learning. transcribing does, and so does free trial and error of solos over a tune, although free trial and error i find allows for more mistakes and therefore more learning to be accomplished in a shorter time.


    I'm like you MIKE, to me, solos are to be honest and completely different. I never play the same solo twice, not even close, and in fact most of them i'll never remember or hear again. i came up with it once, and then forever it's gone. personally i find that's the real magic and value of improv from a spectator point of view. they witnessed music that the universe will only see once.


    ____________________________________

    as for the modes things, bluesking you said some stuff i had not really realized about using other modes as long as they are correctly minor or major within a tune.

    but i still find my solos much better if i don't use these modes, so i'm thinking maybe i might still be misusing them or something.

    i hear alot of people talk about switching modes for chords and i don't really get that.

    for music, i'm very audius, or audial, or soundal, or whatever the word is that means visual but for sound.

    is there a way maybe you or someone else could show me how they might use modes over some tune trying different ones over the same progression a few times or something?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    I'm not saying not to practice solos, but in all honesty, I've only learned maybe 5 solos, or let's say 10 to be sure to cover the ones i've forgotten that i've learned.
    Thats cool. At least you don't avoid learning solos dileberately like Mike mentioned. As you say, any transcribing (solos or chords [or even drum parts!!]) is really good for learning music.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    i find the best way to do this is trial and error of making solos yourself, although i really recommend transcribing solos you particularly like as well, and fitting them into the key you're in, so you can use what you've learned in something else.
    Sounds spot on. Learning solos isn't that useful if you don't tear them apart and use what you've learnt when playing over other songs.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    this i think is the main goal for soloing. learning solos can help, can give you ideas, but it's maybe not the best way. if you do learn solos though transcribe them because error is where knowledge comes from.
    Well, whether its the best way isn't so important. I agree though. But you need to do both: learn the fretboard, the theory & learn solos directly. If you forget about any one of these you are in trouble. I was just saying that it was strange that Mike said this. Its not like he is even forgetting to learn solos, its like he was saying he actually avoids it!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    I'm like you MIKE, to me, solos are to be honest and completely different. I never play the same solo twice, not even close, and in fact most of them i'll never remember or hear again. i came up with it once, and then forever it's gone. personally i find that's the real magic and value of improv from a spectator point of view. they witnessed music that the universe will only see once.
    Thats exactly my philosophy too. I can never play the same solo twice (even when everyone needs me to in the studio). Thats actually a bad thing a lot of the time then!!!

    I think a lot of everyone's playing is subconscious. It may be that you are always being completely original, but unless you look at some of the Jazz masters, almost no-one achieves this. Guys like Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, hell even Hendrix show their influences obviously in their playing. I'm not criticising that, I love these guys. Its just a question of what you class as being original. All of these guys learnt from their favourite guitar players.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    as for the modes things, bluesking you said some stuff i had not really realized about using other modes as long as they are correctly minor or major within a tune.
    Not all of them are useful. Off the top of my head these are the ones I think are the most useful:
    1.) Dorian - over a minor key i chord. Typical bluesy sound
    2.) Mixolydian - over a major I chord. Other typical bluesy sound
    3.) Lydian - over a major I chord. Stable, jazzy sound.
    Of course that is just the major scale modes. There are cool things you can do with melodic & harmonic minor too.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    but i still find my solos much better if i don't use these modes, so i'm thinking maybe i might still be misusing them or something.
    Don't worry about it. Its not as important as other stuff you can learn about.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    i hear alot of people talk about switching modes for chords and i don't really get that.
    I don't understand what you mean. Sometimes people say some silly stuff about chord progressions. Like if you have a vi ii V I (Am, Dm, G, C) progression and you solo over it using the C major scale, they will say that what they are doing is using A aeolian over the Am, D dorian over D minor, G mixolydian over G, C ionian over C. Thats a lot of hooplah really. All of those are relative modes of the C major scale, they all use the same notes (ABCDEFG). All they mean when they say this it that they just emphasise different notes of the same scale depending on which chord happens to be underneath them. Emphasising different notes in a scale is not news to anyone I have ever met!

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    for music, i'm very audius, or audial, or soundal, or whatever the word is that means visual but for sound.
    Aural...

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    is there a way maybe you or someone else could show me how they might use modes over some tune trying different ones over the same progression a few times or something?
    I've had a quick stab at recording something for you. Its a bit rough and ready, sorry (a bit embarrasing really!). As you can tell I'm not as used to playing without distortion as I should be

    Anyway, Jazzy mp3 is a iiVI, 4 bar loop.

    The first four bars I solo with major pentatonic
    The next four bars I solo with a bit of lydian
    Next Four bars are mixoldian. This doesnt really work in the recording because the rhythm part is playin a Maj7 chord and they clash.
    Last four bars are back to lydian.
    I only play the modes over the I chord, I tried not to play them over the other chords as they would probably not sound so good.

    minorjazzy.mp3 is a ii7b5Vi in a 4 bar loop.
    For the first half of the recording I use only the minor (aeolian).
    The second half of the recording uses dorian over the i chord.
    Once again, I only used the mode over the i chord because it clashes with the other chords.

    Talking about modes is a pretty grandiose thing in this context (as it normally is) because whenever I chose a mode above its only one note different from the key scale anyway.

    Mixolydian = Major with flat 7th
    Lydian = Major with sharp 4th
    Dorian = Minor with sharp 6

    Its just down to how you want to think about it.
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    Last edited by bluesking; 09-11-2009 at 07:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    The major scale is happy. So go D Ionian. Why does Dorian sound sad? It's supposed to. Remember major = happy, minor = sad.
    I wouldn't say so*. Major can easily sound sad and minor can easily sound happy. Both can also convey other emotions besides happiness and sadness very easily. The same goes for the modes. I have an example of a song in a major key that sounds sad to me, if you want.

    *Not to beat a dead horse or anything...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking

    I don't understand what you mean. Sometimes people say some silly stuff about chord progressions. Like if you have a vi ii V I (Am, Dm, G, C) progression and you solo over it using the C major scale, they will say that what they are doing is using A aeolian over the Am, D dorian over D minor, G mixolydian over G, C ionian over C. Thats a lot of hooplah really. All of those are relative modes of the C major scale, they all use the same notes (ABCDEFG). All they mean when they say this it that they just emphasise different notes of the same scale depending on which chord happens to be underneath them. Emphasising different notes in a scale is not news to anyone I have ever met!
    ya, i noticed some of that, which is kind of irritating and misleading, and complicated for absolutely no reason.


    Aural...
    oh ya lol.... doy (slaps forehaead)

    I've had a quick stab at recording something for you. Its a bit rough and ready, sorry (a bit embarrasing really!). As you can tell I'm not as used to playing without distortion as I should be

    Anyway, Jazzy mp3 is a iiVI, 4 bar loop.

    The first four bars I solo with major pentatonic
    The next four bars I solo with a bit of lydian
    Next Four bars are mixoldian. This doesnt really work in the recording because the rhythm part is playin a Maj7 chord and they clash.
    Last four bars are back to lydian.
    I only play the modes over the I chord, I tried not to play them over the other chords as they would probably not sound so good.

    minorjazzy.mp3 is a ii7b5Vi in a 4 bar loop.
    For the first half of the recording I use only the minor (aeolian).
    The second half of the recording uses dorian over the i chord.
    Once again, I only used the mode over the i chord because it clashes with the other chords.

    Talking about modes is a pretty grandiose thing in this context (as it normally is) because whenever I chose a mode above its only one note different from the key scale anyway.

    Mixolydian = Major with flat 7th
    Lydian = Major with sharp 4th
    Dorian = Minor with sharp 6

    Its just down to how you want to think about it.
    k thanks. nice solos. I've listened to them, but i haven't experimented with them yet. i'll check it out right now though. i noticed also you used the 1st 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 5th etc... technique too if i'm not mistaken. i like that one, though i use it more with piano only because it's easier to visualize with piano.

    i'll try and record something on those progressions too and see what comes of it.

    when you say that those modes you use are only one semi-tone off from the key scale, i think i must use them already in that case. so maybe trying to think of it as modes is just overcomplicated for nothing.


    brb

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    k thanks. nice solos. I've listened to them, but i haven't experimented with them yet. i'll check it out right now though. i noticed also you used the 1st 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 5th etc... technique too if i'm not mistaken.
    Yeah, its just playing every other note in the scale and moving the whole pattern up stepwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    i'll try and record something on those progressions too and see what comes of it.
    Cool. I would offer you the backing tracks but I just burnt the whole recording to mp3 then deleted the original WAVs, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
    so maybe trying to think of it as modes is just overcomplicated for nothing.
    Thats what modes are best at: overcomplicating everything.

    Still. The three options I have talked about deffinitely are the same as the stated modes. I don't know any use for the locrian mode like this. From the major scale, that only leaves the phrygian which may be used by some guys who play metal. But even they (like flamenco guitarists) tend to preffer a harmonic minor mode (phrygian dominant) for this purpose.

    The thing I'm working on right now is the superlocrian (also called the altered scale) which is a mode of melodic minor.

    But as you can see, not even close to all of the modes of the 3 possible scales are useful (21 modes in total).

    I have come to think that, for my purposes, and the purposes of almost any musician I have ever heard, 2 keys & 7 or 8 mode scales are all that is useful. The modal relationships between any modes of a scale are generally irrelevant because when such concerns crop up, it is usually easier to just think about the key scale.
    Last edited by bluesking; 09-11-2009 at 09:51 PM.
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