Chris Eldridge

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Red Haired Boy

Modes Demystified

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Red Haired Boy > Modes Demystified

Hello All,

Red Haired Boy exists mostly in the mixolydian mode, that’s why it has an F note (and chord) instead of an F#. Don’t have any idea what I’m talking about? Great, you’ve come to the right place!

I hope that this will be an enlightening lesson on mixolydian, but moreso on all modes in general - what they are and how to think about them in a simple way.

Let me know if you’ve got any questions!






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Improvisation With The Mixolydian Scale


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:47 Breakdown of Soloing With The Mixolydian Scale

Loop 16:40 Practice Track





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Bryan Mabe
Bryan Mabe Dec 05, 2017


This is so awesome man as I've been learning these modes as of recent. So would it be fair to say that capo II playing in A you'd use the D major scale instead of C. Or whatever key you choose. We should take the 4th scale degree and use that major scale but concentrating on the IV note in that scale? Does that make any sense? I guess you could use this same philosophy on a tune like June Apple?

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Dec 05, 2017

That's almost right, although you would be playing a major scale but orienting around the 5 note in the scale. So, if you were playing Red Haired Boy (or June Apple) in A, you'd actually be playing mostly in A mixolydian, which is made of the same notes as a D major scale (because A is the 5th of D major).

But that's just one way to look at it. The other way is recognizing that you are playing an A major scale with a b7th note. That way your thoughts are still staying connected to the roots of the chords and you're still thinking "A" sounds or licks or arpeggios over the A chord. 

I think it's important to be able to see it both ways. 

James Macklin
James Macklin Dec 02, 2017

I stuck pretty close to the melody, but had some fun. Not bad for first thing in the morning. Hence the stubble.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Dec 03, 2017

Sounding great James! Now, as a challenge to yourself try playing it for 2 mins without ever playing the F on the 1st fret of the 1st string. It can be really good to give yourself assignments like this to help break out of a box. Having to play that note in a different position might cause different phrases to pop out as well!

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Dec 03, 2017

James - come on man I can't even get my stubble to look that good - I'm just trying to learn the tune over here. Great job!

James Macklin
James Macklin Dec 02, 2017

My high school band director told us my sophomore year told us once that the best thing about the Mixolydian scale is that it allowed you to sound really smart without a whole lot of extra effort. 

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