I often get asked about using modes with the blues, and there aren’t a lot of simple, easy answers…

Except this one. 

The Dorian Mode (the 2nd mode of the major scale) is a drop-in replacement for the minor pentatonic or blues scale – as long as you’re playing over an actual blues progression.

So here I’ll show you how to use it and some pitfalls to avoid.


    9 replies to "Dropping In The Dorian Scale"

    • stephen bowyer

      E and B minor pentatonics are also in that A Dorian form. So, you get a choice of: nat, minor, minor pent. in 3 tonal centers, and – the dorian scale. They are all complementary, Maybe too many choices? dont know, but its nice to have one’s options when improvising.

    • Don Hall

      Awesome sound! I love these rules-of-thumb/heuristics (“a drop-in replacement for the pentatonic”) because I don’t like to think about it too much. I’m off to the woodshed, and thanks!

    • Chris Adams

      Thanks Griff.
      Love the little square of B C F# & G notes.

      Aussie Chris

    • Mike

      Great lesson! Looks like, if I’m not mistaken, that the places for ornamentation are increased with the Dorian mode. Love that sound.

    • Jay Michaels

      What a great lesson! Subtle contrast and “spice” like this can potentially make you sound like you really know what you’re doing , while maintaining musicality and taste. I especially cracked up where Griff said that you can alienate listeners by not coming back to the familiar pentatonic and the “maybe you don’t care.” This is probably the most important part of the lesson. Too often, musicians care more about being complicated and showing what they know rather than being effective at communicating a point similar to a well understood conversation between two people……..

    • Pete Rich

      Thanks Griff – very useful overview of use of Dorian mode over the standard blues progression.

    • Jeff

      Mix it up. It sounds good.

    • Mark

      Great lesson Griff. I have your course on Modes as well as a number of others. This lesson ties in nicely with the course on Modes, where you refer to the points made in this lesson. Thanks for all your output Griff – always useful and well delivered.

    • Gary Watters

      Very helpful lesson Griff. I have several of your courses. You’re a gifted teacher. Thanks for all you do

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