Dorian - Jazz-Blues Solo A

Animated Dorian - Jazz-Blues Solo A tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is from the Jamzone where we are looking at using the Dorian Mode to solo in a Jazz-Blues style over our D Dorian friendly chords, in the key of C major. Those are Dm7 - Em7 - Dm7 - G7.

So Far we've looked at the Dorian backing music, and explained why we can expect the Dorian mode to work well with it. Make sure you've read that full page, because we've gone through some very important concepts to do with 'modal thinking'. Now we're going to apply them in a solo.

To keep things consistent, we're going to stick to the same Dorian scale pattern we've been using so far in the Jazz 2-5-1 lessons. You should already know it by now, but if not - go here and give it a twiddle.

The idea here is to give you one idea of how the Dorian mode sounds when used for solos. This is a Jazz-Blues style solo. The Dorian mode is very well suited to Jazz-Blues because it is a minor scale. The best Blues is always minor in feel. However, it is still brighter than a fully-fledged blues scale. This gives it a more 'airy' quality which works in the Jazz framework very well. You'll find that in Jazz the Dorian Mode is probably the most common for making melodies. So get to know it!

We stick to the Fret 10 scale pattern for you. By now you should know this scale and be able to make melodies with it. We'll be using the standard jazz tricks - slides, mutes, double stops etc. However, this time there will be bends (true to blues playing). Also, the solo becomes gradually more intricate and skilful. This is only to show you some nice melodic licks that work in this style. They may be too advanced for your fingers at this stage. Don't worry about that for now. Practice them by all means, but don't be put off if they are too fast and hard for you yet. This exercise is mainly here to give you an idea of the 'feel' this mode generates.

Loop the solo and just listen. Soak it in and get the vibe, then load up the backing music (or download the mp3) and give it a go yourself, using the Dorian scale at Fret 10.

To me the Dorian mode feels reflective, light and a little moody. You may well find your own sense of how the mode feels to you. That's the personal side of music, and I strongly urge you to find your own voice. Experiment with the scale and make melodies up for yourself. See what feelings you can touch when creating something with it. Music is an expressive art, and you need to practice and feel your way through it.

Be flexible with the Scale Pattern

You may notice that in this solo different fingers are used to play notes depending on the lick. This is completely normal. You can't stick rigidly to a scale pattern (i.e. always use your 1st finger to play the 1st note, your 3rd finger to play the 2nd note, etc) just because you learned it that way when practicing the scale.

Of course at the start you need to practice the scale that way to get used to its feel and the note locations. However, when actually improvising a solo you need to use techniques like slides, double stops, bends etc. This requires you to be flexible and use the nearest available finger to play certain notes. That is why it's very important to get straight into playing melodies after you feel you have learned the note positions on the fretboard! The scale pattern is there as a good starting point, but don't be too religious with it when making melodies.

Oops! You need Flash 9+ and Javascript enabled

In order to view this ActionTab preview you need a web browser with Flash 9 or higher and Javascript. If this is your first time visiting you should be seeing a blue animated fretboard. If you feel your system meets these requirements but it still isn't working get in touch and we'll see if we can help.

Unfortunately Adobe Flash isn't supported on Apple's iPhone and iPad. If you are using a device running on Google Android you will be able to use Flash. Click on the Adobe Flash button below to download it.