The "30 Day" Guitar Modes Workout

Are you ready for a Maximum MODES workout challenge that is suitable for every guitar player - no mater what level of skill? In this video, I’m going to show you my Max-Modes™ workout routine that you can do for 10 mins a day for the next 30 days straight!

This workout is going to help teach you the most popular Modes and give you a jump start on being able to solo with them. There are just 4 exercises in this Modes workout, each one hitting the popular color tones of each common Mode, (Dorian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Lydian).


In this lesson, we’re going to learn about developing the modes because this topic is one of the most common things that leads a guitar student to have confusion.

Usually, it begins with a statement that a guitar student will make to me in a lesson that sounds something to the effect of, “I Just Don’t Understand the Modes.” But, what they're really saying is, "I can't HEAR the sound of Modes."

While there might be several reasons why a student would say this, the lead up to this statement about using Modes is generally almost always the same.

The guitar player will already possess some good general technique, they understand the basic premise surrounding chords and playing rhythm guitar, and they’ll know at least the basics of major and minor soloing – even if it’s only with the Pentatonic scales.

However, Modes (the whole idea of Modes) is a topic that’s often confusing for students to get their mind (or should I say ears), wrapped around!

So, in this lesson we’re going to set up a rather different system for learning the modes.

What I have for you is a routine that any guitar player who’s already familiar with the sounds of Major and Minor (as well as the Pentatonic Scales), will be able to use to start practicing the modes.

And, the best part is if this routine is practiced for as little as 10 mins a day for 30 days, any guitar player will develop a decent grasp for how modes work and for how to use them.

This system that I have for you is based upon first of all realizing that the basic Major and Natural Minor scales are in fact Modes. Their modal names are “Ionian” and “Aeolian.”

For most guitar players, even ones who only understand Pentatonic scales, the Major and Minor scales are common sounds that are in use all the time, and they’re sounds that we learn very early on when trying to play any type of solo.

Now, the “Modes” that are presenting the “Mystery” to students aren’t those sounds. The Mystique around modes is instead based upon names that I’m sure you’ve heard, but they may have had you puzzled. Those names are; “Dorian, Mixolydian, Lydian and Phrygian.”

Okay, so how can the popular modes be easily practiced? Well, scale modes are actually just a mixture of Major and Minor scales that have had simple modifications done.

And, when I say “Simple,” I mean there’s only one note that creates the overall effect of each mode. That’s it.

For a student learning modes this means, by applying the practice routine I have for you –  all we’re going to do is simply focus in on the fact that each Mode is either Major or Minor.

The only difference between them, is one unique tone that functions as the one note which makes the sound of a Mode come alive.

Playing a melody with a mode means that you’ll need to have that mode in your mind, so that you can control the sound.

To nail-down this particular skill in just 30 days, you’re going to need to do two things.

  1. Learn a simple pattern that will help you zero in on the important color tone of each popular mode.
  2. Play the pattern over a modal jam-loop that will help your ear establish the correct sound. 

If you do these two things for 10 mins a day, for 30 days, you’ll gain the perspective for each of the popular modes unique color.

First let’s go over the patterns for each mode. I’ve taken liberty within the diagrams and I’ve highlighted the tones of each unique scale pattern with a color-code.

How it works is really easy.
  • A Black dot (with a circle around it) is the Modes Naming note, (the Root note)
  • A plain black dot is the Quality defining note, (that’s the one note that qualifies the mode as being Major or Minor)
  • Any red dot, is a perfect tone, (those are notes that are neither Major nor Minor)
  • The Blue dot is the important one, (that’s the unique color tone of the mode – that’s the note you’ll want to focus in your attention on)

Next, we'll learn the different practice shapes that I have for you - once these shapes are familiarized, you can go and study each of the modes using the 10m for /30 days routine.

There are going to be two patterns for each mode. The first pattern is based off of the sixth string and the second pattern is an upper octave that’s played off of the 4th-string.

Both patterns are the exact same notes, the only reason we’re learning two, is so that you’ll have a greater range across the fingerboard when you practice with the loop-tracks.

DORIAN: 6th String Root

DORIAN: 4th String Root

PHRYGIAN: 6th String Root

PHRYGIAN: 4th String Root

MIXOLYDIAN 6th String Root:

MIXOLYDIAN 4th String Root:

LYDIAN 6th String Root:

LYDIAN 4th String Root:

Now that you have all the shapes, the actual exercise itself is pretty simple. All you do is turn on your modal loop jam-track and let it play through for 2 mins.

During that 2 mins., all you need to do is play through the modes fingering pattern and focus in on the unique color tone that’s related to the mode that you’re working on.

There’s four modes that we’re studying, so that gives you 8 min. for all 4 modes, with 2 min. to spare for getting set-up between each exercise.

The loop tracks are available below – download them, work for 30 days using this approach and you’ll build up some solid playing skills for using these popular modes!



This 30 day Modes exercise is perfect for any guitarist who’s never understood the modes.

So, if you’re a guitar player who’s bored with the Major and Minor Pentatonic scales, or if you’re tired of using the common Major and Natural Minor sounds, (and you’re ready for some new sounds), this exercise will get you used to the popular modes.

Then, when you want to learn more, you can start digging into a more thorough study of using the Major Scale Modes.My popular eBook "Using the Major Scale Modes," can be a big help in that department.

If you’d like to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher - visit my website and start looking through my Guitar courses. 

There are dozens of lesson plans all with very detailed videos along with PDF worksheets that you can download and print out to start learning more about the guitar.

The lessons are all well planned they’re easy to follow – and they all work in a very organized way so that in the end, you’ll increase your knowledge of guitar, and you’ll be able to start incorporating higher end guitar skills for the music that you enjoy.

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