Dorian Mode Guitar Scales: How to Play and Use Them in Your Music

The Dorian mode is one of the most popular musical modes used in contemporary music, particularly in jazz and blues. It is a minor mode that has a unique and haunting quality, making it perfect for adding emotional depth and complexity to your guitar playing.

In this article, we will explore how to play Dorian mode guitar scales and provide tips on how to use them effectively in your music.

Understanding the Dorian Mode

The Dorian mode is a minor mode that is derived from the major scale. Specifically, it is the second mode of the major scale, meaning that it starts on the second note of the major scale and uses the same notes as the major scale, but with a different starting point.

For example, the Dorian mode in the key of C would use the notes of the Bb major scale. This gives it a unique sound and feels compared to the standard minor scale.

Playing Dorian Mode Guitar Scales

To play a Dorian mode guitar scale, start by identifying the key you want to play in. For example, if you want to play in the key of Dorian, you would start on the second note of the major scale of that key.

In the key of C, the Dorian mode would start on the note D. The Dorian scale in this key would be D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D.


The Dorian mode consists of the tonic (1), second (2), flat third (b3), fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), sixth (6), and flat seventh (b7). The second, fourth, and sixth notes of the scale are also the ninth (9), eleventh (11), and thirteenth (13) respectively.

Summary of Dorian mode in all keys

A Dorian ModeA,B,C,D,E,F#,G
B Dorian ModeB,C#,D,E,F#,G#,A
Bb Dorian ModeBb,C,Db,Eb,F,G,Ab
C Dorian ModeC,D,Eb,F,G,A,Bb
Db Dorian ModeDb, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C
D Dorian ModeD,E,F,G,A,B,C
E Dorian ModeE,F#,G,A,B,C#,D
Eb Dorian ModeEb,F,Gb,Ab,Bb,C,Db
F Dorian ModeF,G,Ab,Bb,C,D,Eb
F# Dorian ModeF#,G#,A,B,C#,D#,E
G Dorian ModeG,A,Bb,C,D,E,F
Ab Dorian ModeAb,Bb,Cb,Db,Eb,F,Gb

Fretboard Diagrams and Guitar Tabs

Here are examples of A Dorian mode. The notes are A B C D E F# G

A Dorian Mode

Using Dorian Mode Guitar Scales in Your Music

Dorian mode guitar scales can be used in a variety of ways in your music. Here are a few tips on how to use them effectively:

Emphasize the unique sound and feel of the Dorian mode. This mode has a distinct minor sound with a slightly raised sixth note, giving it a brighter and more hopeful quality than standard minor scales. Use this to your advantage in your playing and composition.

Use Dorian mode scales to create tension and release in your music. The unique sound of the Dorian mode can create a sense of tension that can be resolved with other scales or chord progressions.

Combine Dorian mode scales with other scales and modes to create interesting and complex melodies. Experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your music.


The Dorian mode is a powerful tool for adding emotional depth and complexity to your guitar playing. By understanding how to play Dorian mode guitar scales and how to use them effectively in your music, you can take your playing to the next level and create truly memorable compositions.

Unleash your creativity with Dorian mode guitar playing and our backing tracks.