How To Make Music With The PHRYGIAN Scale On Guitar

Tommaso Zillio

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phrygian mode guitar

Whenever I want a ‘dark’ sound in my music, I immediately reach for the Phrygian scale.

It’s not the darkest scale out there, but to my ear it has the right combination of exoticism and familiarity: it’s dark, but not ‘alien’.

It’s a ‘relatable’ darkness, so to speak.

Or at least, that’s the way it sounds to me. It may sound different to you, though I would be surprised if this scale sounded ‘positive’ to you.

Either way, this scale has been a favorite of metal players, flamenco players (some people call it the ‘flamenco minor’ scale), film music composer and the occasional jazz player. There’s something for everybody here :)

But it’s not a one-trick-scale! The sheer variety of sounds you can take out of it is staggering.

In this video you’ll find a guided tour of the Phrygian scale, together with several chord progressions and examples. And yes, you can use them in your songs! :-)

Have fun with the Phrygian scale here:

If you like to get more dark sounds, then I have one more dark scale for you.

This scale is called the Byzantine scale - though recently on the internet everybody calls it the ‘double harmonic major’. Regardless of the name, it sounds amazing:

Or maybe you want a scale that does not sound dark, so you can use it as a ‘contrast sound’ for Phrygian?

Great! For something completely different, check out the Lydian scale and its wonderful chords:

These are just 3 examples of what you can do when you know your scales and modes. I know, I know: you are thinking that scales and modes are hard, that it’s already hard to learn the major scale on your guitar, that it takes too much time to learn them…

…tell you what, scales and modes are actually quite easy once you understand the logic behind them and how they are played on your guitar fretboard.

Unfortunately, most of the explanations I see on the web make a mess of scales and modes, and so they look much harder than they are.

If you want to be able to play and make music with scales and modes in the logical way, then I recommend the Master of the Modes guitar course


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