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Bassist Holly Franklin

Bass Edu

Create Amazing Basslines and Progressions with Modes – Lesson 2

Now that you know the setup of the modes (View lesson 1), we are going to look at some examples of how they are played on your bass. I am going to show you how to play the modes across one, two and three strings. To keep things simple, we are going to use the C Major scale as an example.

The fingering patterns are going to be very similar across the fretboard just different frets and positions depending on where you are playing on the fretboard.

The modes that I am playing now are in standard tuning. Adjust your tuning to how you would play these modes best.

Modes really are a great way to improve your playing ability, navigate and learn your fretboard and become a more well-rounded musician.

PF: Pointer Finger
MF: Middle Finger
RF: Ring Finger
PIF: Pinky Finger

IONIAN: C (MF) – D (PIF) – E (PF) – F (MF) – G (PIF) – A (PF) – B (RF) – C (PIF)

3 String Progression Example:

A string: C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret)

D string: E (2nd fret) – F (3rd fret) – G (5th fret)

G string: A (2nd fret) – B (4th fret) – C (5th fret)

2 String Progression Example:

A string: C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret) – E (7th fret) – F (8th fret) – G (10th fret)

 D string: A (7th fret) – B (9th fret) – C (10th fret)

1 String Progression Example:

A string: C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret) – E (7th fret) – F (8th fret) –  G (10th fret) – A (12th fret) – B (14th fret) – C (15th fret)

DORIAN: D (PF) – E (RF) – F (PIF) – G (PF) – A (MF) – B (PIF) – C (PF) – D (RF)

You can remember this mode by the first three notes being a standard natural minor scale progression.

3 String Progression Example:

A string: D (5th fret) – E (7th fret) – F (8th fret)

D string: G (5th fret) – A (7th fret) – B (9th fret)

G  string: C (5th fret) – D (7th fret)

2 String Progression Example:

D string: D (open) – E (2nd fret; PF) – F (3rd fret; MF) – G (5th fret; PIF)

G string: A (2nd fret; PF) – B (4th fret; RF) – C (5th fret; PIF) – D (7th fret; MF)

1 String Progression Example:

D string: D (open string) – E (2nd fret) – F (3rd fret) – G (5th fret) – A (7th fret) – B (9th fret) – C (10th fret) – D (12th fret)

PHRYGIAN: E (PF) – F (MF) – G (PIF) – A (PF) – B (RF) – C (PIF) – D (PF) – E (RF)

At the beginning of this mode, we have a minor 2nd interval.

3 String Progression Example:

A string: E (7th fret) – F (8th fret) – G (10th fret)

D String: A (7th fret) – B (9th fret) – C (10th fret)

G string: D (7th fret) – E (9th fret)

2 String Progression Example:

E string: E (12th fret; PF) – F (13th fret; MF) – G (15th fret; RF)

A String: A (12th fret; PF) – B (14th fret; RF) – C (15th fret; PIF) – D (17th fret; MF) – E (19th fret; PIF)

1 String Progression Example:

E string: E (open) – F (1st fret; PF) – G (3rd fret; RF) – A (5th fret; PF) – B (7th fret; RF)  –

C (8th fret; PIF) – D (10th fret; MF) – E (12th fret; PIF)

LYDIAN: F (PF) – G (MF) – A (PIF) – B (PF) – C (MF) – D (PIF) – E (PF) – F (MF)

3 String Progression Example:

E string: F (1st fret) – G (3rd fret) – A (5th fret)

A string: B (2nd fret) – C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret)

D string: E (2nd fret) – F (3rd fret)

2 String Progression Example:

A string: F (8th fret; MF) – G (10th fret; PIF)

D string: A (7th fret; PF) – B (9th fret; RF) – C (10th fret; PIF) – D (12th fret; PF) – E (14th fret; RF) – F (15th fret; PIF)   

1 String Progression Example:

E string: F (1st fret) – G (3rd fret) – A (5th fret) – B (7th fret) – C (8th fret) – D (10th fret) – E (12th fret) – F (13th fret)

MIXOLYDIAN: G (MF) – A (PIF) – B (PF) – C (MF) – D (PIF) – E (PF) – F (MF) – G (PIF)

Starts off like the major scale with the middle and pinky progression than goes to a minor second interval following the first and second notes.

3 String Progression Example: 

E string: G (3rd fret) – A (5th fret)

A string: B (2nd fret) – C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret)

D string: E (2nd fret) – F (3rd fret) – G (5th fret)

2 String Progression Example:

E string: G (3rd fret) – A (5th fret) – B (7th fret)  – C (8th fret) – D (10th fret)

A string: E (7th fret)– F (8th fret) – G (10th fret)

1 String Progression Example:

G string:G (open string) –A (2nd fret; PF) – B (4th fret; RF) – C (5th fret; PIF) – D (7th fret) – E (9th fret; PF) – F (10th fret; MF) – G (12th fret; RF)

AEOLIAN: A (PF) – B (RF) – C (PIF) – D (PF) – E (RF) – F (PIF) – G (PF) – A (RF) 

The Aeolian mode is the same progression as the natural minor scale because it is the natural minor scale! If you are ever confused when writing or playing the modes know that your first mode is the major scale and that your 6th mode is the natural minor scale.

3 String Progression Example:

E string:A (5th fret) – B (7th fret) – C (8th fret)

A string: D (5th fret) – E (7th fret) – F (8th fret)D string:G (5th fret) – A (7th fret)

2 String Progression Example:

E string: A (5th fret) – B (7th fret) – C (8th fret)

A string: D (5th fret) – E (7th fret) – F (8th fret) – G (10th fret) – A (12th fret)

1 String Progression Example:

A string: A (open) – B (2nd fret; PF) – C (3rd fret; MF) – D (5th fret; PF) – E (7th fret; RF) – F (8th fret; PF) – G (10th fret; PF) – A (12th fret; RF)

LOCRIAN: B (PF) – C (MF) – D (PIF) – E (PF) – F (MF) – G (PIF) – A (PF) – B (RF) 

3 String Progression Example:

A string: B (2nd fret) – C (3rdfret) – D (5th fret)

D string: E (2nd fret) – F (3rdfret) – G (5th fret)

G string: A (2nd fret) – B (3rdfret)

2 String Progression Example:

A string: B (2nd fret) – C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret) 

D string: E (2nd fret) – F (3rd fret) – G (5th fret)  – A (7th fret) – B (9th fret)  

1 String Progression Example:

A string: B (2nd fret) – C (3rd fret) – D (5th fret) – E (7th fret) – F (8th fret) – G (10th fret) – A (12th fret) – B (14th fret)

For more information on music theory check out my e-book and paperback, “No-Nonsense Guide to Music Theory, Scales and More!” available on Amazon

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