Guitar modes in G major and playing lead guitar
This topic covers using the modes from the key of G major. Also using the E Aeolian mode at the 12th fret.
The question was, do I have to play from E to E if I am playing the E Aeolian mode? The answer is no. What’s important is that you know E Aeolian is from E to E in G major. You can now visualize the notes of that mode. When you play the notes of the E Aeolian mode, you are playing the minor mode in G major. The notes of E Aeolian are Em F# dim, G major, Am, Bm, C major, D major. If you were playing over the Em chord, yes you would want to start with the E note or even a note of the Em chord. If you were playing a G chord, then maybe start with the G note or F# note, which is the leading tone for the key of G major.
E Aeolian has the notes E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, E
The E chord in the key of G major is minor chord and so are the A and B chords.
The G, C and D are major chords. The F# is the diminished chord.
The notes and chords in the key of G major are: G Am, Bm, C, D, Em F# dim and G
One way to think about the Aeolian mode is to consider the Aeolian mode and Ionian mode the same. This is because they share the same key signature signature.
One of the most popular positions to play the E Aeolian mode, is at the 12th fret. The two most popular minor modes in rock music are the Aeolian and Dorian modes. The Mixolydian is a popular major mode, but with a bit of alteration.
If you were playing the Am chord, you could start with the A note or a note of that chord, but just remember the notes A to A in that mode, or the A Dorian mode in G major. It is just important to visualize the modes as separated entities, but to incorporate them as one. They are just a continuation of each other. All the modes come from the same family. Since you want to play the Aeolian mode, it is the Em mode in G major. So you will base your song in Em. Play at the 12th fret and become accustomed to that location. Just remember, you can play this mode all over the fretboard. Once you learn them as illustrated it will be easier to move them around to different locations. You can learn to play lead in one location and play over all of the chords of that key. But you can also move to different positions to play the same notes.
For example, if you record an E5 chord you could play lead in the E Aeolian mode 12 fret. Then say you switched to a C chord. You could stay at that position of the Aeolian mode, but instead of starting with the E note, maybe play the C note and the notes of that chord, which is C Lydian, C to C in G major. It’s all about playing off the chords of the backup rhythm. The Em chord and the C chord are both in the key of G major. So is the Am, Bm, D and F# diminished. E to E in the G major scale would be the Aeolian mode, but you don’t have to play from E to E. Play from C to C over the C chord or G to G over the G chord. But remember the chords you want to play over and play the notes of those chords for true kick ass lead guitar.
If you are playing this E Aeolian mode, then you must be playing some of the chords in G major. If this is true, then you may want to concentrate on the E, G and B notes, the notes of Em chord. But try to concentrate on the chord you’re playing. If you are playing the Em or G chord, then think of playing the notes of those chords. The illustration below shows the E Aeolian or G Ionian. G Ionian means the key of G major. The E Aeolian is E to E in G major. G Ionian is G to G in G major. You could use this position to play a lead in E Aeolian.
If you wanted to play lead over the Em chord, this would be a good place to start. You could use the E Aeolian scale below and also Em pentatonic. Or even E blues. They all fit in one way or another below.
The tablature for the E Aeolian mode played at the 12th fret position is shown below. Practice this scale over and over. I’ve added the fingers to use below the tablature.
1 3 4 1 3 4 1 3 1 2 4 1 2 3 1 3 4
Look at the illustration below. The E Aeolian is shown in the open position and the 12th fret position. The E notes have been shown in red. If you were to move this same fingering pattern lower two frets to the 10th fret and used the same fingering pattern, you would be playing the D Aeolian mode.
Here’s an example of how to use the E Aeolian mode at the 12th fret position. Match the notes used to the ones highlighted in the illustration above.
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