The Lydian mode

The home of chord IV

Watch These Videos

A Lydian scale shapes

When to use the Lydian mode

Lydian is the 4th mode and consequentially used over chord IV.

The scale sounds as if it wants to go somewhere, therefore many songs hold the IV chord back. If used as the first chord in a bridge or m8 section, it feels as if the section ‘takes off’.

When improvising, use Lydian every time chord IV appear. Do not underestimate the importance of being able to solo in Lydian as most songs use the IV chord.

The best way to approach learning the Lydian mode is to start with your trusted Major Pentatonic. From here, simply add the #4 and maj7, like this:

Major Pentatonic:
Lydian: #4

Watch These Videos

Connect Lydian scale shapes

Connect those shapes

This video lesson demonstrates how to connect all Lydian shapes in A.

When you can do it along with the video lesson, move on to other keys.

Also, try different rhythms, triplets are used in the video but any rhythm is possible.

In the advanced course, you’ll get plenty of musical examples demonstrating the use of Lydian.

Watch These Videos

Lydian and the cycle of 4th

The final step

This exercise takes the Lydian mode and runs it through the cycle of 4th.

Instead of jumping up and down the neck, we now move to the closest possible shape, like this:

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

Repeat that pattern a fret up, starting in Bb with the E shape.

Keep this exercise up for a few days and you’ll never forget how to play the Lydian mode.

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.

Ggo 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.

Sign Up

A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

Go to Monthly subscription.