How To Get A Hip Soundin` Dorian Mode

Hello players, my name is Miguel Mega and I am here to help you to learn some different ways to approach scales and modes. On my new CD release "Coastline", I use a lot of these approaches in the majority of the tunes. This time we will learn how to spice up a bit our old pal: the Dorian mode.

The Dorian mode is the second mode of any Major scale. Examples:

  • G Major scale: G A B C D E F# G
  • A Dorian scale: A B C D E F# G A
  • A Minor 7, 9, 11, 13

Let's say you are jamming with your bass player and he is just grooving on A minor.
You can use the A minor 7 and A minor 6 blues pentatonics for your solos. See graphics below:

                     A minor7 blues scale (MP3)


                    A minor 6 blues scale (MP3)


Another good way of "thinking" (this is the key word here), is to use a Harmonic Minor scale on the fifth degree of the Dorian mode. For an example, let's take A Dorian: A B C D E F# G A. Take the fifth degree which is E and play E harmonic minor over an A minor 7, 9 ,11, 13. The E harmonic minor scale is: E F# G A B C D# E. If you compare the notes of the two scales, you'll notice just one little switch that goes from an original D (fourth degree) to a D# (flat 5) (the 'blue note' of the pentatonic scale).

To finish, here's an example of this concept on a George Lynch-type lick (MP3) using triplets on the 1st and 2nd strings.


Thank you very much, and do not forget to visit my web page at

Miguel Mega is an Brazilian guitarist who was profiled on the February, 2001 Undiscovered Artists page on the Guitar Nine site.

His new instrumental CD is entitled "Coastline".

Miguel Mega