Dorian Mode Guitar Scales
The Dorian Scale is based on the second note of the major scale. The pattern of whole and half steps is as follows:
W H W W W H W
If you follow this pattern, you will create a scale which begins on the second note of the major scale and has the same key signature as the major scale.
D Dorian--D E F G A B C D
A Dorian--A B C D E F# G A
***NOTE There are 2 ways to think about the construction of the Dorian Mode Guitar Scale:
1. Begin with the major scale of the same name and flat the 3rd and 7th notes. For example, D Dorian would be the D Major Scale with a flatted 3rd and flatted seventh.
2. Begin with the 2nd note of the "tonic" major scale and write a scale that has the same key signature as the tonic. For example, the D Dorian Scale is a scale beginning and ending on D with the key signature of C.
Using the Dorian Scale Mode
The Dorian Scale has a major 6th. This gives it a bright sound compared to the aolian and the phrygian modes, which contain the minor 6th making them sound darker.
The Dorian Mode Guitar Scale is used in playing over minor seventh chords. The ii, iii, and vi chords in a Major chord progression are minor seventh chords.
One of the most common chord progressions for the Dorian Mode is the ii - V. If you listen to Carlos Santana, you have heard this use of the Dorian Mode. If you want to sound like Santana, try combining the Dorian Mode with the pentatonic minor scale.
If you need to review chord progressions, here is a link to a free lesson on this site. The link opens in a new window.
Free Printable Scales Charts
These scale charts are in the formats of traditional notation AND guitar tablature. They are pdf files so you will need the free Adobe reader to view and print them. You can download the reader free from the Adobe website. Please remember to expand the viewer to 100%.
Each file has charts for 4 different keys. I trust that the charts will be useful to you. Have fun!