Today we’re continuing and expanding our series on the Major Scales and Modes! For this lesson we’re going to take a look back at the fourth Major pattern.

By adjusting our tonic notes, what we have here is the fifth of seven “diatonic scales”, and in this case it is a “mode” called Mixolydian. Each mode is based around its tonic (root) note and the seven intervals leading to its next tonic note, and each mode has a signature sound. In the case of Mixolydian, its sound is often described as being ambiguous (both happy and soulful), psychedelic, and celtic. Some famous examples of Mixolydian songs include Norwegian Wood by The Beatles, Clocks by Coldplay, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns ‘n Roses, and In God’s Country by U2.

Mixolydian mode can be transposed to any key – and guitarists have a huge advantage in that by using patterns like the one posted here.

For example, if you take this exact pattern and move it on the fretboard so your tonic/root notes are on the fifth fret, which starts on an A, you would then be playing in A Mixoyldian! Take a look at the tab and compare it to the pattern, and then play from tonic note to tonic note (marked with V’s overtop), paying careful attention to the seventh note in the scale (the flat seventh, or b7). That is the “character note”, and helps represent the sound of Mixolydian! You can also check below for an ambient backing track to try this out on!

You can also take a look at the previous several weeks for examples on different modes!

Was this helpful to you? For those familiar with modes, what helps you keep them simple? If you want to learn more, we are currently offering online video conference lessons!

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