Improvising is, for guitar players, one of the essential skills you must learn if your goal is to jam with other musicians. Knowing how to develop this skill might seem tricky to some, but with the right steps it becomes entirely achievable! One of the preliminary steps in honing this skill is developing an arsenal of go-to scales and modes.

In his course, 10 Scales & Modes You MUST Know, Joe Robinson shows you how to best apply 10 incredibly valuable modes and scales.

Here are 8 free scales & modes guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Joe Robinson’s 10 Scales & Modes You MUST Know on TrueFire!

Phrygian Mode Overview


Download the tab & notation for this scales & modes guitar lesson

Now let’s look at the Phrygian. Take a listen to how this scale sounds and the way the intervallic shift evokes a feeling or a color in your mind as I demonstrate it over this musical example. We’ll attack this section of the course just the way we did the last. It’s a powerful way to get it under your fingers quickly, so let’s dig in.

Phrygian Mode: Two Octave Basic & Thirds


Download the tab & notation for this scales & modes guitar lesson

In this lesson, we’ll focus on learning the two octave position and then working it in interval steps of thirds, another critical tool for improvising. Learning to workout your scales like this will make you a more musical soloist, strengthen your ability to visualize the notes on the neck, and improve your muscle memory too. Take your time with this.

Phrygian Mode: Two Octave Basic & Thirds Alt. Position


Download the tab & notation for this scales & modes guitar lesson

Now we’ll do the same thing in a different position. The idea here is that by learning these two positions of the two octave approach, you’ll have what you need to apply this scale across the fretboard. Work it slowly and take your time. Start with the basic scale, and then start incorporating the intervallic jumps. This will payoff for you in both the short term and in the long term as a guitar player, so do take the time and invest the energy to really get it down.

Phrygian Mode: Improv Approaches


Download the jam track for this scales & modes guitar lesson

It’s time for an improvisational demo where I focus on using the notes and positions of the scale we just worked on. I’m not including tab here because I want you to pay exclusive attention to the video and the way I’m using the notes and positions to improvise all over the neck. Once you’ve watched the video, go straight to the track I’ve included and work it the same way that I did.

Harmonic Minor Overview


Download the jam track for this scales & modes guitar lesson

Next, we’ll focus on the Harmonic Minor scale. First, take a listen to this musical example, you’ll find this sound very useful in classical contexts or over Gypsy style music. We’ll attack this section of the course just the way we did the last. It’s a powerful way to get it under your fingers quickly, so let’s dive in.

Harmonic Minor: Two Octave Basic & Thirds


Download the jam track for this scales & modes guitar lesson

In this lesson, we’ll focus on learning the two octave position and then working it in interval steps of thirds, another critical tool for improvising. Learning to workout your scales like this will make you a more musical soloist, strengthen your ability to visualize the notes on the neck, and improve your muscle memory too. Take your time with this.

Harmonic Minor: Two Octave Basic & Thirds Alt. Position


Download the jam track for this scales & modes guitar lesson

Now we’ll do the same thing in a different position. The idea here is that by learning these two positions of the two octave approach, you’ll have what you need to apply this scale across the fretboard. Work it slowly and take your time. Start with the basic scale, and then start incorporating the intervallic jumps. This will payoff for you in both the short term and in the long term as a guitar player, so do take the time and invest the energy to really get it down.

Harmonic Minor: Improv. Approaches


Download the jam track for this scales & modes guitar lesson

Focus on the positions first, then work on connecting those positions in a fluid and melodic way, and eventually you should be stretching out all across the neck. No licks or lines to learn note for note here, just work with the track over and over and put this scale and some of the connecting lines you come up with into your muscle memory. It’s a great way to quickly become a better soloist.

Digging these free scales & modes guitar lessons from Joe Robinson? Check out his course, 10 Scales & Modes You MUST Know.

Sweetwater