Modal Progressions On Guitar

This lesson is the video accompaniment to the "Writing Modal Progressions" PDF tutorial.

After learning the Dorian and Lydian progressions shown in the video lesson, try to come up with a bunch of progressions using various keys and modes. It will work the same way every time.

Then you should record yourself playing the progressions you have come up with and try to start practicing all of your modes over them. Try to really get the sound of each mode in you ear.

I hope everyone is enjoying these modal studies, I know it can get a bit involved with the theory behind it and everything but I think that after a while of playing this type of stuff, you can easily make it part of the way you approach the guitar everyday.

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Modal Progressions On The Guitar


  1. acosebede on February 16, 2010 at 3:40 am

    great lesson, very helpful for a self-taught like me ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks a lot

  2. josh on February 25, 2010 at 11:57 am

    WOW!!! thank you. You cannot begin to believe how hard it has been for me to find someone around here to explain this concept to me in such easy to understand terms as you just have!! I’m totally blown away at how easy this is once it is explained properly.. I’ve even been to the local college instructor who although he knew how to do it, he could not explain what his thought process was in order to relay his knowledge. And most other instructors here feed you tiny crumbs month by month without tying it all together in an understandable and applicable setting….. I have been one to be able to handle large lessons and work through them but it’s the “rubber meets the road” in terms of playing live or improvising that’s been my hard spot but now thanks to your lessons I truly have improved by months if not years honestly, in just a few weeks…… soon as payday strikes (haha) I will definately be supporting you and your website!!! And again, THANK YOU!!!


  3. Carl Brown on February 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the support Josh, I really appreciate everything you said. I hope that as time goes by I will continue to put up lessons that have you go away with a better understanding of a myriad of topics. I am honored that you have chosen my site to help you down your musical path. Its a path that never ends, but that is half the fun right??!!

    Cheers!! Hope to hear from you soon… Carl ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Xaheen on September 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks man. that was awesome. Hats off.

  5. Anonymous on October 21, 2011 at 5:31 am

    hey carl thanks man ,iv been looking for guitar video lesson when i was 18 NOW IM 35 please give me some super licks ,well i would really really want to donate you something ,in our language MARATHI,it;s said PHOOL NAHI PHOOLACHI PAKHLI, that means not a rose but at least it;s leaf, thank u

  6. Mike on November 3, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Wow! you really are an amazing teacher, there is no other lesson I have found on the entire internet that explains the thought process like you just did THANK YOU!!!

    One question though lol. I have been figuring out other modes and keys using this method and I keep getting oddly placed/very dissonant groupings of notes. They are the correct notes, its just the chords dont sound nice so I wanted to ask if there was a way to keep the same notes in the chords but play it differently on the fretboard?
    Thanks in advance for any help ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. samuel gonzalez on November 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

    gracias por este ejenplo que es de mucha ayuda eres un maestro

  8. frank b. on February 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Mr. Brown, U sir r an amaziing instructor. And I thank u for all the lessions, however, I. Would like to ask y the “modal progressions” and “melodic minor scales forms” are not avaliable to watch on a mobile divice (my phone)?

    And thank u so much again, u have turned me into a more rounded musician ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carl Brown on February 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      You should be able to watch them on your phone. They are just Youtube videos so if you can watch those you should be fine.

      Not sure why you can’t see them.

      Cheers! Carl..

  9. Jorge on October 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Hello there!!!! Thanks for your videos, good resource and also good teacher!!! Do you make private lesson by the web? Do you have something like Skype or other system to take class online? thanks!!!

    • Carl Brown on October 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Hey Jorge, at the moment I don’t do any private lessons via web or in person due to the amount of time I spend gigging and making lessons for this site.

      However, I have been thinking of doing a weekly group video lesson via uStream or something but haven’t really gotten it of the ground yet. Maybe soon?

      Cheers! Carl..

  10. sumit singh on December 14, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for sharing this stuff

  11. jake benigni on April 23, 2013 at 5:52 am


    this is great and very helpful. i appreciate it. but how about something that already has Chords then you have to pick the mode. is it different going that way ? like if you are playing in the key of E and your chords are E, B, C#m, A. what would be the best mode to play in ?

  12. Paul on July 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Really cool and helpful man. I’ve got an decent understanding of theory and have built up decent technique but I’m still a little in the dark about how to apply it in context. This is exactly the type of lesson that can help me. Also anything about soloing over chords (other than basic box patterns) would be great. Cheers!

  13. chris martin on July 13, 2015 at 11:03 am

    hi carl thanks but what do you mean by[need to understand
    that G Dorian is in the Key of F Major and A Lydian is in the Key of E Major]. according to writing modal progression pdf.i already study the modes pdf.

    • Carl Brown on July 14, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      That means that you need to be able to establish the parent major key for each mode. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. chris martin on July 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    hi Carl thanks again if i want to for example play five shape of E Lydian how should i play?i should for example after find the parent major key of the Lydian mode play it from the key that i want to play?like from B# FIND THE B# IN THAT MAJOR SCALE AND THEN PLAY IT?

    • Carl Brown on July 18, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      If you want to play the shape built from the 5th scale degree, you will need to do two things to figure out where to play it.

      First, as you stated, you need to figure out the parent major key. Lydian is built from the 4th scale degree so that E is the 4th note in the parent major scale. That will tell you that E Lydian’s parent major key is B major.

      Now since you want to play E Lydian, you are actually going to be visualizing B major across the fingerboard. If you want to use the shape built from the 5th you need to determine what the 5th note in the key of B major is. It is F#.. F# is at the sixth string 2nd fret. So play that shape starting there and you will be playing E Lydian as long as you are soloing over an E root. ๐Ÿ™‚


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