The Dorian mode

Home of the II chord

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A Dorian scale shapes

When to use the Dorian mode

The Dorian mode is sometimes used in jazz-influenced music as a blanket scale when soloing.

Miles Davis’ So What, Van Morrison’s Moondance and Stevie Wonder’s – I Wish all call the Dorian mode home. So does Scarborough Fair and Mad World.

Should you use the technique of playing a new scale every time the chord changes, you would use the Dorian mode every time you solo over chord II.

Below is the scale formula in relation to the Minor Pentatonic:

Minor Pentatonic: 1
Dorian: 2

To learn to play the Dorian mode you must first practice each shape individually (see first five videos above), then connect the five shapes.

In the step by step guitar courses, we dive deep and find many variations when practicing Dorian. For example, as you work your way through all five shapes, you’ll play them in every key and even vary the rhythm of the exercises.

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Connect Dorian scale shapes

When you can play each shape – Connect

This exercise connects the Dorian shapes in Am, when you can do this, try all other keys and push that BPM!

Also, you wanna find variations to this exercise. What rhythmical pattern are you working on when practicing the chromatic exercises at the moment, can you use them instead of the triplets?

Pairing exercises like this is a great idea, in the advanced step by step course, we synchronize your entire practice routine like this.

When you can do it in A as the video demonstrate, try it in D, G, C, F, and all other keys.

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Dorian and the cycle of 4th

The final step

This exercise takes the Dorian mode and runs it through the cycle of 4th, always moving to the closest shape possible.

Make sure your transitions are exactly as in the video lesson.

The full exercises move like this:

A Dorian – E shape, D Dorian – A shape, G Dorian – D shape, C Dorian – G shape, F Dorian – C shape.

This then starts one fret up, on a Bb.

Watch the video lesson for a demonstration.

Related Pages


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The advanced songs require you to learn 7th note chords, arpeggios, and modal scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fret board.

Go to Advanced guitar course.


These are pretty advanced exercises. You’ll be playing 7th note chords, arpeggios and modes all over the neck.

But don’t fret – As you’ve already mapped out the fret board with pentatonic scales and barre chords, extending the concept is actually really simple.

Go to Advanced guitar exercises.


You can learn how to play these advanced songs on the acoustic guitar.

Angels, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Blackbird, Cannonball, Don’t Wait Too Long, I Shot The Sheriff, Over The Rainbow, Roxanne, Scarborough Fair, Sunshine Of Your Love, Take Me To The River, Tears In Heaven, and Wish You Were Here.

Go to Advanced acoustic songs.

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