Major Pentatonic Modes

The three major modes

Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian

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Major pentatonic modes

Build the major modes from the Major Pentatonic scale

The major modes are easy to learn on the guitar because of their relationship with the Major Pentatonic.

Simply start with a Major Pentatonic scale shape, add either the 4 or #4, as well as either the b7 or maj7 to create the desired mode.

Below, you’ll find a diagram displaying the intervals as well as what it looks like on the guitar fretboard.

When you practise any of these modes, start by playing the Major Pentatonic, then add the desired interval, one at a time.

Major Pentatonic
2 3 5 6
Ionian 4   7
Lydian #4 7
Mixolydian 4 b7


Major Modes in Chordacus

In Chordacus, these modes are highlighted around the chord and pentatonic scale like this:

  • Chord shape – Red
  • Major Pentatonic – Yellow
  • Maj7 and #4 – Light Brown
  • b7 and 4 – Dark Brown

A Ionian Aesi A Lydian Aesl A Mixolydian Aesm

How to best practise the major modes

The best way to practise the major modes is to allow each important note to pop out, one after another, like this:

  1. Chord shape
  2. Major Pentatonic
  3. add 4 or #4
  4. Major Pentatonic
  5. add b7 or 7
  6. Major Pentatonic
  7. Full mode
  8. Chord shape

Follow this routine and your hands will be quicker than your head.

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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