How to Play the Dorian Mode on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play the dorian mode on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


Alright, let's talk about the Dorian mode. The Dorian mode is the second mode in a system of the major scale. So, if i take C major, most of have heard this: Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do. [plays scale] If I start that from the second note [plays scale], that gives me a slightly different pattern. It's all the same notes but it's starting on second. I can move this to the tenth fret and play the exact same group of notes.

By the way, if you're not familiar with these scales, there is a HowCast video on scales and beginning guitar lesson so you might want to refer to that.

I'm here among the tenth fret and I'm playing the Dorian notes. And I can play that in tenth octaves [plays scale]. This mode works great over the D minor chord. If you're going to throw in additional chords, one possibility is G major. Now that's a very common sound and you'll hear that in songs by Santana, The Doors, Light my Fire, is very somewhere that's like a D minor moving up the solo section Down in the Hole by Alice in Chains. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica has guitar patterns that were Dorian.

What I'm going to do right now is play a little bit Dorian. My rhythm is going to be D minor to C to G. And I'm going to stay on the tenth fret and I'm going to combining the Dorian mode. Which is these notes. With the pentatonic. So minor pentatonic goes great with the Dorian mode. It just a five note pattern. So I might play some pentatonic licks and then throw in notes from the Dorian. For example. That's pentatonic. If I through in this note, little one fret bend. That's Dorian. So ultimately I want to combine those. So I'm going to play along right now and try to bring some of those ideas together.

[plays guitar]

And one final thing to keep in mind: The Dorian has a raised six. And what I mean by that is if you play a natural minor, you get this [plays guitar]. So notice the sixth note is here. When you play Dorian, the sixth note is raised. So you get this [plays guitar]. And that's it. I hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the Dorian. Have fun.

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