Imbue your 7th string with the exotic sounds of the Harmonic Minor modes! We’re back with another extended ra(n)ge scales and modes lesson, this time extending the exotic Harmonic Minor Scale into 3nps format for 7 String Guitar. We’ll look at how the 7 string modes reference the 3 octave and 6 string versions as well.
Let’s take a look at the 7 string Harmonic Minor Modes! If you know the harmonic minor modes for 6 string guitar then this will be made even easier since we can reference these. However if you started your guitar story on a 7 string then this will be a helpful starting point. If you don’t know the modes at all it might be worthwhile getting comfortable with these first before progressing into these more advanced ideas.
7 String Harmonic Minor Modes – Key of D Harmonic Minor
Let’s take a look at the 7 String Harmonic Minor modes in the 3nps format. We’ll cover each of the modes in this format. Let’s look at these in the key of D Harmonic Minor. That’s the notes D E F G A Bb C#
Some Helpful Theory: Thinking Modally
At Strings of Rage™ we always show the root note of each mode as opposed to the root of the key or parent scale. Understanding the difference between the two is the key to writing modally and truly mastering the modes. We have provided fretboard positions for each mode in the key of D Harmonic Minor on a 7 String Guitar.
Example Key of D Harmonic Minor:
- D Harmonic Minor – Parent Scale
- E Locrian #6 – Second Mode
- F Ionian #5 – Third Mode
- G Dorian #4 – Fourth Mode
- A Phrygian Dominant – Fifth Mode
- Bb Lydian #2 – Sixth Mode
- C# Super Locrian – Seventh Mode
Some Helpful Theory – Harmonising The Modes:
In order to compose with any scale, at some point you’d have to ask; what chords does the harmonic minor scale yield? Harmonic minor is quite exotic in its sound. Can sometimes be thought of having that typical Egyptian sound. However, as is true for any scale or mode, there is multiple chord possibilities for each note of the scale.
We’ve just given you the first and most common chord harmony that can be built from each note of the scale. This scale is commonly found in metal and jazz but however we can take advantage of its dissonance for a more rock and metal sound.
- D Harmonic Minor
- D Minor Major 7 – D, F, C#, A
- E Locrian #6
- E Diminished 7 – E, Bb, G, C#
- F Ionian#5
- F Augmented Major 7 – F, C#, E, A
- G Dorian #4
- G Minor 7 – G, Bb, D, F
- A Phrygian Dominant
- A Dominant 7 – A, C#, G, E
- Bb Lydian #2
- Bb Major 7 – Bb, D, A, F
- C# Super Locrian
- C# Diminished 7 – C#, E, Bb, G
Don’t forget; there are many more chord possibilities that can be built from each root note. We’ve simply derived the most commonly known ones by harmonising the scale to form chords. We must leave it up to you to discover other chordal formulae!
Put It Into Practice:
To put your modal mastery into practice why not start writing some licks with these new mode shapes? Bear in mind your licks will need to be played over the correct backing track to truly bring out the sound of the mode.
More Helpful Theory – Less Is More
Modes for 7 string guitar buy you substantially more fretboard in a smaller space. With a low B string you are granted an extra lower octave. For example a 3 octave G Harmonic Minor scale on a 6 string guitar would look like this example below. This would mean you’d have to do a bunch of crazy slides from 10 to 21 for the full octave ! However on a 7 string the same series of notes can be done in a single position and a half step like this:
Referencing The Six String Shapes:
If you already know the harmonic minor modes for 6 string guitar and you’re exploring the world of 7 string, you can reference the 6 string modes to help you navigate the neck. The only difference really is that the root note changes.
It’s important to know where the root notes are for your modes. Only until you begin to write modal progressions will this truly be understood. This is why we show the root note for each mode as opposed to the root note for the parent scale.
7 String Harmonic Minor Modes: 6 String References
Harmonic Minor on a 7 String references 6 String Dorian #4
Locrian #6 on a 7 String references 6 String Phrygian Dominant
Ionian #5 on a 7 String references 6 String Lydian #2
Dorian #4 on a 7 String references 6 String Super Locrian
Phrygian Dominant on a 7 String references 6 String Harmonic Minor
Lydian #2 on a 7 String references 6 String Locrian #6
Super Locrian on a 7 String references 6 String Ionian #5
Footnote: The guitar used in the cover image is a 7 string raptor by Skervessen guitars.
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