"The Great Moveable Mode"


Page 1.

The World On A String presents Ken in... Illustration of Ken holds a glowing E minor first position scale diagram. The Great Moveable Mode. A Guitar Lesson. Number 5: 7 Modes, 1 Shape. 3/3/2023. CC By-Sa 2023 Ken Alleman. TheWorldOnAString.NeoCities.Org

Page 2.

If we're comparing E major to E minor, E is the tonal center. It's their common point of reference that highlights their differences. Ken points at what looks like a molecule illustration. E is at the center, with F sharp, G sharp, A, B, C sharp, and D sharp floating on the left and F sharp, G, A, B, C, and D floating on the right.

Page 3.

If you know this shape for E minor up at the 12th fret, you can turn it into C sharp minor by moving it down to the 9th fret. Block diagram of the E minor diatonic scale in the 12th position, followed by the C sharp minor diatonic scale in the 9th position. They are the same shape.

Page 4.

This is also how you turn E minor into E major. C sharp minor and E major contain the same notes, just over different tonal centers. Illustration of that same block diagram in the 9th position, labeled as both C sharp minor and E major, with the C sharp notes and the E notes highlighted as the tonal centers for each.

Page 5.

Moving this shape from the 12th fret to the 9th fret turns it from E minor into E major, as long as you keep E as the tonal center. Ken indicates the E major block diagram.

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Any shape that can be used to play E minor can be used to play E major by moving it that same distance! All of the diatonic scale shapes are notated as block diagrams, orbiting in the air around Ken's confused face.

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It also works with any tonal center--say, turning B minor into B major. Block diagram of the B minor diatonic scale in the 7th position, followed by the B major diatonic scale in the 4th position. They are the same shape.

Page 8.

Major and minor are examples of modes, and there are many more like them. Here are seven modes in E, and where to find them with this fretboard shape! A list of seven modes, including Lydian (4th and 6th frets), Ionian (AKA major, 9th fret), Mixolydian (2nd and 14th frets), Dorian (7th and 19th frets), Aeolian (AKA minor, open position and 12th fret), Phrygian (5th and 7th frets), and Locrian (10th fret).

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