Making Music With The DORIAN #4 Scale On Guitar [The Evil Scale]

Tommaso Zillio

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Dorian #4 guitar

Once I played this scale to a student of mine, and he immediately said: “oh my, that’s an evil scale!”

And it is! You have definitely heard it in movie soundtracks - you will recognise it immediately when you hear it

As usual, this scale is multi-purpose. You can use it:

  • to create unsettling chord progressions
  • to write strange and exotic melodies
  • to forge rock/metal riffs that definitely do not sound like ‘classic rock’

That said, this scale IS a one-trick-scale. The way I hear it, its sound is so well-defined and characteristic that is seems like there is only one good sound to it. One sound with several variations and nuances, but one sound nonetheless.

Wether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your outlook.

On the ‘bad’ side: this scale is not very flexible.

On the ‘good’ side: this scale has a ver well-defined, bold, uncompromising flavor.

You can love it or hate it… but if you love it, it will serve you well and it will help you write music with a strong personality.

So here’s how to make music with the ‘evil’ scale: Dorian #4.

Another Evil scale that is seldom used is the Neapolitan Minor.

Lots of great sounds to be found there:

If instead you prefer something more “classic”, but still out of the beaten path, the Hungarian minor aka “double harmonic minor” is the ticket for you:

These are but 3 examples - but to really understand how scales and modes function on your guitar then you have to check out the Master of the Modes guitar course.


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