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I'm always pleased when I see someone mention how often articles and lessons on modes are downright baffling. It makes me feel less stupid about having been so baffled for so many years.
Your description of stumbling by chance on a method that works and everything "clicks" is very familiar - in my case it was a couple of short video lessons by a teacher called David Wallimann that were the key - I am so grateful to him for that. It's a revelation when a method teaches the subject in a practical context that "clicks" and I commend your approaching it from that practical context angle.
There's such a huge extra musicality that modes can bring to ones playing it's so very worth tracking down whatever method unlocks that door. But so many very good guitarists I've encountered on line have said they can't understand modes.
It seems ridiculous that none of the advice on modes I saw pre David Wallimanns lessons mentioned 6 of the modes being just the pentatonic plus 2 extra little notes. Given how many guitarists do know the pentatonics I am baffled why this link would be kept so secret and I'm glad you mention it so clearly.
It does take some practice and really listening to the music to know when to play those extra notes to bring out the character of the mode - but that action of really listening also enhances the joy of making the music.
Your love of the Lydian and enthusiasm for it certainly shines through in your article. I'll have to admit I've always found myself drawn to the minor modes - but I'm not a naturally happy chappie!
Glad you enjoyed the blog, mate. Yeah, I love the Lydian - that "happy but anxious" feel gives me the chills (in a good way).
That moment when I realised just how simple it can be to play modes was a revelation. I too can't figure out why it always seems to be explained in such baffling terms. I'll put some more stuff up when I get the chance.
Thanks again for the kind words,
Nicely done - just shows how a shift in perspective can bring the same basic information from confusion to clarity.
Here's a little mnemonic I use to remember the order of the modes...
Ionian Dorian Phrygian Lydian Mixolydian Aeolian Locrian
I Decided Playing Loud Means A Lot
Easy enough for most guitarists to remember