8 Free Modal Guitar Lessons

8 Free Modal Guitar Lessons

Learning to improvise can be hard – however, by learning your scales & modes, you’ll give yourself an easy way in to developing a vast vocabulary of improv licks. Joe Robinson aims to get you up to speed with your scales & modes with his TrueFire course, 10 Scales & Modes You MUST Know. He’ll take you through each mode, pointing out the tonal characteristics of each and showing you how to apply it to an improvisational study.

In these free guitar lessons taken from the course, Joe will take you through both the Phrygian mode and Harmonic Minor scale, showing you several ways to play the scale in different positions, and then applying it to a jam track. Let’s check it out:

Phrygian – Overview

Now let’s look at the Phrygian mode. Take a listen to how this scale sounds and the way the intervallic shift evokes a feeling or a color in your mind as I demonstrate it over this musical example. We’ll attack this section of the course just the way we did the last. It’s a powerful way to get it under your fingers quickly, so let’s dig in.

Phrygian – Two Octave Basic & Thirds

Download the tab and notation for this guitar lesson on TrueFire.

In this lesson, we’ll focus on learning the two octave position and then working it in interval steps of thirds, another critical tool for improvising. Learning to workout your scales like this will make you a more musical soloist, strengthen your ability to visualize the notes on the neck, and improve your muscle memory too. Take your time with this.

Phrygian – Two Octave Basic & Thirds

Download the tab and notation for this guitar lesson on TrueFire.

Now we’ll do the same thing in a different position. The idea here is that by learning these two positions of the two octave approach, you’ll have what you need to apply this scale across the fretboard. Work it slowly and take your time. Start with the basic scale, and then start incorporating the intervallic jumps. This will payoff for you in both the short term and in the long term as a guitar player, so do take the time and invest the energy to really get it down.

Phrygian – Improv Jam

Download the jam track for this guitar lesson on TrueFire.

It’s time for another improvisational demo where I focus on using the notes and positions of the scale we just worked on. I’m not including tab here because I want you to pay exclusive attention to the video and the way I’m using the notes and positions to improvise all over the neck. Once you’ve watched the video, go straight to the track I’ve included and work it the same way that I did. Focus on the positions first, then work on connecting those positions in a fluid and melodic way, and eventually you should be stretching out all across the neck. No licks or lines to learn note for note here, just work with the track over and over and put this scale and some of the connecting lines you come up with into your muscle memory. It’s a great way to quickly become a better soloist.

Harmonic Minor – Overview

Now we’ll focus on the Harmonic Minor scale. First, take a listen to this musical example, you’ll find this sound very useful in classical contexts or over Gypsy style music. We’ll attack this section of the course just the way we did the last. It’s a powerful way to get it under your fingers quickly, so let’s dive in.

Harmonic Minor – Two Octave Basic & Thirds

Download the tab and notation for this guitar lesson on TrueFire.

In this lesson, we’ll focus on learning the two octave position and then working it in interval steps of thirds, another critical tool for improvising. Learning to workout your scales like this will make you a more musical soloist, strengthen your ability to visualize the notes on the neck, and improve your muscle memory too. Take your time with this.

Harmonic Minor – Two Octave Basic & Thirds: Alt. Pos.

Download the tab and notation for this guitar lesson on TrueFire.

Now we’ll do the same thing in a different position. The idea here is that by learning these two positions of the two octave approach, you’ll have what you need to apply this scale across the fretboard. Work it slowly and take your time. Start with the basic scale, and then start incorporating the intervallic jumps. This will payoff for you in both the short term and in the long term as a guitar player, so do take the time and invest the energy to really get it down.

Harmonic Minor – Improv Jam

Download the jam track for this guitar lesson on TrueFire.

It’s time for another improvisational demo where I focus on using the notes and positions of the scale we just worked on. I’m not including tab here because I want you to pay exclusive attention to the video and the way I’m using the notes and positions to improvise all over the neck. Once you’ve watched the video, go straight to the track I’ve included and work it the same way that I did. Focus on the positions first, then work on connecting those positions in a fluid and melodic way, and eventually you should be stretching out all across the neck. No licks or lines to learn note for note here, just work with the track over and over and put this scale and some of the connecting lines you come up with into your muscle memory. It’s a great way to quickly become a better soloist.


There are eight more modes & scales to get under your fingers in the full version of the course. You’ll also find all the tab, notation, and jam tracks you need to practice on your own. What are you waiting for? Time to get in the mode zone!