Playing guitar chord Playing guitar is one of the most satisfying things one can do. That is how most guitarists feel. There are so many ways you can express yourself, that it would take you several lifetimes to explore it all.

With that said, the knowledge you need to acquire in order to comfortably say you know all there is to know is immense. Thousands upon thousands of different scales, chords and other stuff exists. Learning it all is probably not even possible.

However, not all of this knowledge has equal practical value. Some things you will use once in your life, while you will need others on a daily basis. Dorian string tricks are something that you should definitely learn about, as they are incredibly useful and can help you immensely.

In this article we are going to go over what defines a Dorian mode, what makes it so great, and what are some things you need to know in order to use it properly.

As you are about to find out, this little piece of knowledge is a very powerful tool that every guitar player should have in their tool box.

A Very Powerful Tool

What is a Dorian mode?

Dorian mode is a type of minor scale that is very flexible and allows to artist to have much more freedom. The defining element of the scale is the Major 6th. It is the only minor mode that has it. Aside from the Major 6th, it also has a minor 3rd.

This odd configuration makes it a minor scale that has a lot of that power we usually relate to major scales.

Calling it a hybrid would be taking things a bit too far, but it is definitely not ordinary in any sense of the word. With that said, let’s see what kind of practical application Dorian mode actually has.
Dorian mode is a type of a minor scale - TabIf you ever spent any significant amount of time with experienced blues or jazz guitar players, you have probably heard them talking about the Dorian mode. There is a pretty good reason for this. One of the best things about the Dorian mode is the fact that it can be played over just about any minor chord.

This is pure improvisation gold. If you are a solo guitarist jamming with a jazz band, and you recognize them playing a minor scale, you can go into Dorian mode despite what key the rest of the band is in.

The sole nature of the Dorian mode makes it compatible with minor chords no matter what key they are in.

The way you use the Dorian mode is by combining it with a lot of blues licks. In this way you are vastly expanding the potential of the scale itself, and allowing yourself some additional manoeuvring space to work with.

To further explain this, well say this. Dorian mode works incredibly well with pentatonic scales. Especially short ones that are most commonly used in blues. Combine the two and you have a tool that will allow you to jam for hours with an experienced band.

Some of the most common chords that are generally associated with the Dorian mode are min6, min9, min11 and min7. Anyone of these will work fine for the most part. Figuring out how Dorian mode works, and learning how to apply that knowledge may take some time, but it is definitely worth the effort.

All things considered

Figuring out every single piece of music theory, and then learning it to a point where you are completely proficient, is probably a bit too much to ask for.

There are some very talented musicians out there, but even they don’t really have all the knowledge in the world. Picking and choosing what fits your needs the most on top of the basic stuff is how you get ahead in this game.

The Dorian mode is definitely something everyone should know. The fact that it fits so well with the blues pentatonic scale means that you can transfer that knowledge and use the Dorian string tricks in other genres of music that you maybe prefer over blues.

It is all about having the right tools at the right time. Dorian mode might be somewhat confusing at first, but once you understand what’s going on, it will come to you naturally.


  1. Great little article! I knew everything you said here, but I remember when I was just starting to learn about dorian scales and all that. You couldn’t find a solid piece of info to save your life. Might want to expand on this a little, all of it is pretty basic even for beginners.

  2. Yeah, it looks so easy on paper but actually doing it is something else. I’ve been at it for months now, and I still don’t get it.