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Playing Outside I: Dorian Alternatives part two

In part one I covered good modal substitutes for the Dorian mode. Just in case some of you misunderstand, I do not mean the Dorian position on the guitar, but the mode itself. This includes all seven positions of the Major scale on the neck, but the focus is over a Dorian vamp or chord, say A minor - B minor for example.

The modes covered in part one were Altered (Melodic), Alt bb37 (Neapolitan minor), Dorian #4 (Harmonic minor) and Dorian+ (Locrian natural 7). These gave us the notes of M7, #1, #4 and #5 respectively. Hopefully, you can jump in and out of the modal patterns (which I listed last time) but which we shall focus on for this post.

In A Dorian, the outside notes are G# (A Melodic), A# (B Neapolitan minor), D# (E Harmonic minor) and E# (F# Locrian natural 7). That gives us a total of 11 notes to play with over the Dorian vamp or chord/bass note. Now, some of these outside notes work best with certain others, all work well when mixed up together, but they have to be used carefully. An outside note note cannot be the end of a phrase or held for too long. If it is held in a phrase then it must resolve to the note above. For example, G# (A Melodic) must resolve to A. This is just for starters, obviously an altered note can be followed by another note from the scale that isn't altered, or one that is altered, but this will help to get you started playing outside.

Below is an example of what I mean, it is not exactly what I use as I prefer not to use licks but gives you the general idea. Next we shall look at further out scales over Dorian.


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