Watch the Phrygian Major online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Modes That Matter
Even more so than harmonic minor the Phrygian Major scale sounds great in a surf setting especially on the low-E string. With a little tremolo picking, a bit ‘o twang and healthy dose of spring reverb you can conjure up a convincing Dick Dale vibe that will have Quentin Tarantino doing a double take. One of the main zones of Phrygian Major that never seems to get old is that harmonic minor defining step-and-a-half interval between the b2 and major 3rd. Right up there is the half step between 5 and b6, too.
In this setting you’ll be able to sail across the two chord progression horizontally with just playing the E Phrygian Major mode. This allows you to really dig into what you’re playing without a lot mental work. Take note: Just like the Phrygian mode the bII chord plays an important role but it’s also the combination of various elements that make this jam track sound like it’s a surf thing and nothing else. One of those elements is the tones you choose to play with. In addition to your phrasing, tones plays a crucial role in making what you play sound convincing.