This lesson will focus on the Dorian scale, illustrated below in Fig. 1.1:
Notice how easy it is to see the half and whole step intervals when playing the scale up and down on one string? That's the beauty of vertical playing.
It's important that you practice the scale in every key. Start with C and go through F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D, G. I've illustrated the keys of F and Bb below in Figs. 1.2 and 1.3:
Notice that I'm using the entire fingerboard above and below the root of each scale.
Now we'll practice the triads that occur naturally in the Dorian scale. If chord and scale spellings are new to you, check out some of my music theory articles here.
The pattern in Fig. 2.1 starts on the root and ends on the fifth of each triad. It doesn't matter which fingerings you use, although playing the root of each triad with your second finger seems the most comfortable to me. Experiment. These examples are all in D Dorian:
Again, it's easy to see the patterns of the minor, major and diminished triads as you go up and down the neck.
Let's reverse the pattern, so we start with the fifth of each triad and end on the root. See Fig. 2.2:
Next, we'll alternate directions as in Fig. 2.3:
Fig. 2.4 is the reverse of Fig. 2.3:
Now that you're an expert on the Dorian scale, it would be cool to know which chords to play this over, right? Some examples of Dorian chord progressions and vamps follow:
5) Could you play the Dorian scale over a big, chunky D power chord? Of course you could!
Again, it's very important to practice the above exercises in every key and at varied tempos. Don't cheat yourself.
Once you get comfortable with the vertical guitar, you'll feel liberated from those little position boxes you've been trapped in. Playing guitar shouldn't feel like running around in a box–it should be like riding a roller coaster. Good luck and happy playing!