Modes can be confusing to guitar players, yet they can help you break out of a rut in your playing and give your riffs and solos interesting sounds. Welcome to the Lydian mode…
The lydian mode is one of my favourites and you can play it by raising the 4th note in the Major Scale. Whilst you get your head and fingers around that though, why not move the first position Pentatonic scale around and play the licks you already know, but with a Lydian flavour?
The Lydian mode is based around the major scale, so in the lessons we will basing the positions on E Major.
Example 1 – A good place to start would be with the Major Pentatonic. If you’ve not played the Major Pentatonic before, it is the same fingering as the Minor Pentatonic, but starts 3 frets lower than the root. If we are playing in E (12th fret), we will move down 3 frets to C# (9th fret) – This won’t give us a Lydian sound, but will give us a good Major vibe. Playing your Minor Pentatonic licks in this position and over a Major chord progression will sound different because of the relation of the notes to the underlying chords (try it over the backing track!).
Example 2 – Starting the Pentatonic scale from the Major 3rd (G# – 4th fret) gives another nice major feel using the same scale shape and licks. Again, this will sound different because of the underlying chords.
Example 3 – The previous two Pentatonic positions can be used in the place of a standard Major Scale and don’t have that Lydian feeling. Starting the Pentatonic Scale a semi-tone down from the root (D# – 11th fret) gives us some really unique note choices and has 2 positions that contain the Lydian note (#4). Playing your favourite Pentatonic licks in this position will give you some really interesting sounds.
Where all of these Pentatonic positions really start to shine is when you switch between them. Moving between Example 1 and Example 3 will give you a great Lydian base to build upon and Example 2 will have you exploring the neck.
If you thought you didn’t know the Lydian mode, every single note in E Lydian (E – F# – G# – A# – B – C#- D#) has been covered here with one Minor Pentatonic scale box!