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Watch the Application of Minor Modes online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Jazz Improv

As I demonstrate here, playing the II chord with alterations will help you differentiate between Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian and Locrian sounds in your lines. If I want to come become more conversant with a particular harmony, I'll either seek out and learn a tune that uses that mode/sound, or compose something that uses that tonality. Repetition creates familiarity and comfort.