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Watch the Phrygian online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Modes That Matter

The sound of Phrygian and it’s related modes such as Phrygian Major (coming up later in the course) are often associated with Spanish themes and rightfully so. Be it traditional sounding forays or more modern rock excursions, the component that really delivers that Latin flavor is the major chord that’s built on the b2 degree of Phrygian. The jam track here jumps all over the b2 but in a way that’s not as punishing and obvious as the previous metal track.

In bar two of the jam track an Fmaj7 takes over at the upbeat of beat 2. Check out how Phrygian can glide right over that change and sound great. The catch is the root, in this case E, is the major 7 of the Fmaj7 chord. This is a good thing as playing the root of a maj7 chord is a no-no because it clashes with the 7th of the chord. So, this means you can use Phrygian as a half step below superimposition over maj7 chords! As stated, always use your ear as the final judge because what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate to the real thing.