A lot of people see the “boxes” of the pentatonic scale as modes…

But they really aren’t used that way and would not be considered modes.

So here’s a quick discussion of what modes are and how they work, and how they have the requirement of being diatonic, and not pentatonic.

Want to know more about modes? Check out Modes Unleashed

    12 replies to "Do Pentatonic Scales Have Modes?"

    • Walt

      Must say Griff!

      I’ve seen a lot of videos on “Modes”. Those videos left me completely adrift. I’ve basically tried to understand modes with no teachers to verify my thoughts until today.

      What a relief to finally find I was on the right track. The other modes you demonstrated left me a bit confused BUT…thank you for being the ONLY instructor to make basic “Modes” information understandable!

    • Ricardo

      Diatonic scales are a subset of hepatatonic 7 note scales that have 2 diatonic half-steps and 5 whole steps such that the half-steps are either 2 or 3 whole steps apart.

      • Ricardo

        Oops! That’s heptatonic.

    • ImanAlI

      Thank You

    • David

      Hey Griff So if I’m playing using the pentatonic boxes say box 5,but I want to switch to a mode, do I go to mixolydian? I guess what I’m trying to articulate is there a corresponding mode for each box? Thanks David

      • Griff

        No, there isn’t a mode that goes with each box, they simply don’t line up that way… short answer 🙂

    • BISHOP




    • Rox

      Excellent explanation!
      I’m one of those people who like to hear the thump on my porch. Like the CD’s dvd’s and printed manuals.
      I don’t want to have to print my own manuals.. if this is a new course I hope you go back to this option. Like to load the DVDs in player, watch the big screen TV and follow along in the manual while I do the lessons. This works well for the modes unleashed course….
      Was unhappy with the downloads only courses. I own hundreds of dollars of your stuff.
      I love Santana’s modal playing.

      • Griff

        Many of my courses are still shippable and likely will be for a long time to come. The demand for DVDs and printed manuals has really dropped off and since I can’t reliably ship them out of the US it’s dropped even further. Some of the things I’ve done recently were not on DVD, but as I clear some space on the shelves I will stock them.

    • Mark

      Tx Griff. Modes Unleashed is a great introduction to this. Just going thru it for the third time (over a three year time period). I never was too much into theory – but – modes and how some of them can expand the blues vocabulary is a good cure (a tonic even) to push yourself into new areas. Well worth a study. Regards from Manchester UK

      • Rox

        You are so right!

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