Guitar Lesson 15c: Using the Lydian mode to create floaty and fantastical solos over a droned note


In episode 15c, there follows an in-depth study of the Lydian mode.  We use a modal drone and play over this one note.  This is one of the main points which Dan makes about using the Lydian mode: It requires a section of a song where the backing does not change around too much or to be written into an intro or part of a song, particularly if the Lydian chord is momentary.  A droned note is one of the best ways of stabilising the background chords and they are available all over YouTube in every key to get used to creating a Lydian sound.

Lydian Mode:

Major Scale: W W H W W W H
Lydian Mode: W W W H W W H

A good example of the Lydian mode being used in a song is Joe Satriani’s – Flying in a Blue Dream (see below for the YouTube link):



Dan and I are in the process of producing what I hope you’ll find a really useful set of resources based upon the interesting topic of tone. This will include my actual lesson with Dan, edited into episodes and released as podcasts. This set of podcasts (lesson 16) will support and be supported by an article written by Dan, with all his excellent knowledge and experience on this theme and edited, with some additional ideas from me. We don’t know, as yet, where the article will be published, but will include links and additional spin-off articles when we do release the podcasts. We are very excited about this and I, for one, can really attest to how useful Dan’s ideas, demos and advice on this subject really is. Stay tuned and hone the tone.

Lesson 15c brief breakdown:

  • 1 minute 30 seconds – start, introduction to the 4th mode
  • 4 minutes 15 seconds – Dan finds a drone in A: Drone in A
  • 8 mins 45 seconds – Dan talks about using practically – i.e. when the track is static
  • 9 mins 50 seconds – improvising over one of Dan’s backing tracks
  • 12 mins 10 seconds – explanation of how to use in this track or a track like this
  • 13 mins 45 seconds – with this direction we improvise again over the track
  • 17 mins 15 seconds – look at the chord we play Lydian over
  • 19 mins – uses in songwriting
  • 20 mins – final discussion and questions

Remember to get in touch with us and don’t hesitate if you’d like to try Skype lessons with Dan.

Other useful videos on this topic:

Quist backing tracks:

Our philosophy:

As a result of some feedback we decided to break our lessons up into two parts, releasing part 1 each fortnight and part 2 the following weekend. Hopefully, this will make the length of the lessons a bit more digestible and bite-size. This may mean that there are references in each part to the other, but we will try to ensure that our lessons have two sections. As always get in touch to let us know your preferences, suggestions and feedback.

We love direct engagement and to show our appreciation you may get a mention: What lessons do you want us to cover? What would you like us to do? How would you like us to develop TITU?

Our podcast and blog has organically grown and we appreciate all feedback, follows, likes and suggestions. It is meant to be used as a way of introducing some ideas and themes which are useful to be aware of as you develop your practice on your guitar. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful in the audio format which we release them in as this way you can listen while doing another task and then use the suggestions we raise in each episode to do some extra research and to inform your own practise. It is our hope that you find this a useful listening exercise, to support the development of your musical ear. It is good to think that you, our listeners, are not immediately looking for tabs, but rather using your ear to find the notes yourself. This is important to develop your feel, phrasing and dynamics.

The way I myself find these lessons useful is to study in great depth what Dan introduces me too, including guidance on who or what to listen to, and I feel lucky that I can return to each lesson and not forget all his excellent advice as was the case prior to the recording of our lessons. I also find studying my own mistakes hugely valuable, I hope you do too.

We plan to continue producing posts for each podcast episode, linking in some guitar lesson videos from online tutors and guitar covers from players out there. I hope that you will find our lessons and blog useful and that we help you to see the big picture. I certainly think that I could have organised my own practice to be more effective earlier in my own learning and if this had been the case, then I would have developed my skills more quickly and easily. For further ideas about this we encourage you to spend some time looking at my article on guitar practice, apps and software and then dedicate some time NOW into learning to recognise intervals, rhythms and chords by ear. This will hugely fast-track your learning.

I hope you enjoy this lesson as much as I did and that you keep listening. If you want to support us further, then like us on Facebook, follow us on SoundCloud, Twitter or Google+ and subscribe, rate and review on iTunes to help us conquer the Apple algorithms. You can also follow my online magazine: Lessons and Gear for Guitar Geeks and Fanatics.

Good luck on your musical journey!

Gary and Dan.

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