NUMBERS on this chart are the NOTE NUMBERS of C  MAJOR scale. But NOTICE that the C6 "Homebase" chord from which we navigate IS NOT in the Maj7 scale (the Ionian mode) box, but is in the dominant 7 scale (the Mixolydian mode) box.  The CMaj7(9) chord is located at the G6 fret, with the F6 fret having the remaining CMaj7  scale / chord "extension" notes in that box.  Notice that the notes shown in each box ARE NOT the notes for each box's 2 working frets;  YOU should recognize which notes are flatted on each box's 2 frets, so you will better remember what notes are flatted to make up of the scale and chords for each box. Patience will be rewarding.

Link to a comprehensive forum discussion of this lessons methods.

Link to the comprehensive forum discussion's index to help sort out the easy ideas from the more complicated theory this method is intent upon avoiding.

Link to some SIMPLE suggestions about I, IV, V modal melody.

Link to ADVANCED discussions of modal theory on Steel Guitar (oriented to pedal Steel but some very good intermediate and advanced practical information).

Link to my Lessons Index Page.
for Non-pedal Steel Guitar
Chords, scales, modes, substitutions and navigation
Click here to see the Maj7 scale with harmony,
in tablature and staff.
Click here to see the
Maj7 in an orientation passage example
in tablature.

Johnny Farina today
( Santo and Johnny )
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NOTE that in this course on modal navigation, the chord positions have the chord's signature notes but not always the root and full triad notes, ... but all the notes of the scale WILL be in each mode / scale bracket.  For the purpose of this lesson only, the word "extension" means notes not found in the chord position here, but found 2 frets away in the "extension" position.  Otherwise, in correct music terms, the word 'extension' means notes specified in addition to the triad (notes 1, 3, 5).

Some practical ways to help digest this lesson:

If you don't want a certain note voiced in a chord, then simply omitt it !  Just because the Maj7/9 position has a 9 note in the full chord, ... you don't have to play that 9 note.  The ONLY note of a chord's scale that won't sound harmonically pleasant in a chord is the 4 note, which suspends the chord;  So don't be afraid to experiment with all the notes in various combinations in both chords and scales;  That's how we find allot of things we might otherwise miss.
There is no shortcut to this chart and it's accompanying lesson;  It IS the shortcut !  You simply must memorize the positions relative to the "Homebase" 6th chord; ... and I find that easiest done by relating the positions to the I, IV and V chord positions as mental landmarks.  That makes it easier to remember  Imin7=bIII6;  Idim=bV6;  IMaj7/9=V6;  Imin7b6=bVI6.  To simplify it:  min7@bIII;  dim@bV;  Maj7@V;  Pure Minor@bVI.  And you can similarly find the Lydian and Phrygian if you think you would ever catch up with the Big Boyz and need it ! .......FAT CHANCE I ever will... ...scares the bjezus outa me !
A quick demonstration:  The CHORDS in the bridge of the song Sleepwalk in the key
of C is started at the F6 (IV) chord;  For Fminor (IVmin) we move the bar to G#6 (=Fmin7), and let it drift down one fret when it's time to wind up back at CMaj7/9.  Do that a few times and you will clearly hear that CMaj7/9 as the signature chord of allot of Hawaiian, Jazz, Western Swing, and a quite tasteful chord and scale position for slow country songs.

Trivia:  You will notice that the modes compound in flats in a cycle of 5th's from the Parent scale / chord (C in this chart's case):  CMaj, no flats ... G7, 1 flat ... Dmin7, 2 flats ... Amin7b6, 3flats ... Emin7b6b9, 4 flats ... Bmin7b6b9b5, 5 flats.   The flats that make up each mode compound upon the Parent scale in this order:
b7  ...  b7, b3  ...  b7, b3, b6  ...  b7, b3, b6, b9  ...  b7, b3, b6, b9, b5.


Making a mode sliderule out of 2 pieces of cardboard can be  educational and rewarding (as long as you don't fret over the darn thang).  Here's the "model" .
If you make the lettered-key major scale ruler blank and cover it with celophane tape, you can then write in any key's major scale with a grease pencil or water marker and play with modes derived from different Parent major scales.  But "warning":  This course is to simplify modes by simple template navigation; nothing more is necessary; this page's chart IS the sliderule relative to the C Maj7.  Overly studying the sliderule for specific lettered keys, notes, chords, etc, can throw the brain right back into the brain-strain abstract of modes this course is intended to circumvent.  Unless you are a glutton for punishment, you might consider just playing with the sliderule for insight rather than studying it.  Make it out of something soft so that you don't break something when you throw it !


FULL CIRCLE ... AND THE MEAT:  By the way, what are the Parent Maj scales for C modes?  We have now come full circle:  CMaj7 Ionian = CMaj7;  Cmin7 Dorian =
Bb Maj7;  Cmin7b6b9 Phrygian = AbMaj7;  C+4 Lydian = GMaj7;  C7 Mixolydian = FMaj7;  Cmin7b6 Aolean = EbMaj7;  Cdim Locrian = DbMaj7.  If I want to play Cdim I can do it by playing DbMaj7 !  ANY BELLS RINGING HERE?  If I want to play along with Cminor, I can do it by playing BbMaj7 to get Cmin7 Dorian and/or play EbMaj7 to get Cmin7b6 Aolean !  Well I'll be darn, if I woodshed this stuff I can get a cornucopia of voicing tricks just by playing patterns I know in 7 different substitution positions!  Polish up the knucklehead Maw, ... I'm gwine fer a ride down to thu bar.  Relax Paw, ya been playin CMaj fer Aminor fer years;  brang me back a spiff'a Black Jack.


Don't forget the "5 times" study trick;  It works magic.

Don't fret too much, ....Steel !  Enjoy !

This page was last updated on: February 23, 2012
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This page's chart shows C Maj7 scale notes so you can quickly see which notes are flatted on each mode box's 2 working frets.

Click here to see each mode box charted separately.  Then come back here to tie it all together.

Click here to view this chart with the flatted notes sitting on the 2 working frets of each scale / chord / mode box.  You can shuttle between charts by clicking the pages' icons on your task bar.  As you scroll down one page's chart, you will have to also scroll the other page's chart down to align the charts for in-place comparisons if desired.
CLICK HERE for mode charts in 6add11 Tuning  (F-low C6/11 example chart).

CLICK HERE for a Quick Chart for determing mode structure in any key.

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