Modes for guitar: The Aeolian mode "Natural minor" (the 6th mode)

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The Aeolian mode or the natural minor scale is the 6th mode of the major scale, it is based on the 6th note of the major scale, as its name refers to, the Aeolian mode is a minor mode and has 3 differences with the major scale: b3, b6, b7. The interval structure of the Aeolian mode (the natural minor scale) will be: 1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7.

In music the 6th note of the major scales is considered the relative minor of that major scale, so if you want to know what is the relative major of the natural minor scale you're playing you have to go 1 whole step and 1 half step forward (3 half steps), or 4 whole steps and 1 half step (9 half steps).

The whole and half steps formula of the Aeolian mode is (Wh - H - Wh - Wh - H - Wh - Wh).

Chords that you can play the Aeolian mode over them are: Minor chords, m7 and m9, because they have the b3 and b7 intervals. It is considered as the most minor mode of all modes for guitar. If you want to mix it up with minor pentatonic guitar scales, go ahead.

Major scale   G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G

The sixth mode (Aeolian mode or natural minor scale), we begin with the sixth note E

E---------------------------------------------------------------
B---------------------------------------------------------------
G---------------------------------------------------------------
D------------------------------------------------12---14-----
A-----------------------------12---14---15-----------------
E----------12---14---15------------------------------------

The Aeolian mode is probably the most used mode among others, it has that dark minor sound that's used in almost every song, it's so important because we can harmonize it to obtain 7 chords in a minor key.

I personally use the Aeolian mode or the natural minor scale so much and i advice you to do the same by learning how and when to apply it when learning guitar scales.

See also: All Modes For Guitar


1- The Ionian mode "The major scale" (The first mode).
2- The Dorian mode (The 2nd mode).
3- The Phrygian mode (The 3rd mode).
4- The Lydian mode (The 4th mode).
5- The Mixolydian mode (The 5th mode).
6- The Aeolian mode "The natural minor scale" (The 6th mode).
7- The Locrian mode (The 7th mode).

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