Take your blues playing in a new direction with the Dorian mode

Carlos Santana uses Dorian in tunes such as Samba Pa Ti (Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Welcome to this exclusive feature aimed at putting a bit of extra class into your blues playing using the spicy sound of Dorian mode. Both rhythm and lead guitar ideas are notated and after working through the examples, your blues guitar trick bag should be fully topped up. But first, let’s review what the Dorian mode is and how it functions musically.

If we harmonise the G Major scale in 3rds we get the following sequence of chords: I (Gmaj7) ii (Am7), iii (Bm7), IV (Cmaj7), V (D7), vi (Em7), vii (F#m7b5).

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Jon Bishop

Jon Bishop is a UK-based guitarist and freelance musician, and a longtime contributor to Guitar Techniques and Total Guitar. He's a graduate of the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford and is touring and recording guitarist for British rock 'n' roll royalty Shakin’ Stevens.