Lick of the week – Number 1: Ascending Dorian Mode Arpeggios

I’ve been writing this blog for a while now & I thought I’d try something a bit new. Interspersed with the usual posts that I put up, concerning my opinions & thoughts on matters musical, I thought it might be fun to share a new lick each week. Let’s get straight down to business then with one of my current favourite licks, a series of ascending arpeggios which use the Dorian mode.

For anyone not sure what the Dorian mode is, think of it as a minor pentatonic with an added 6th and 9th. In A minor this would be an F# (6th) and B (9th). You can use this lick over any Am chord sequence which contains the following chords: Am (of course); Bm: C; D; Em; F#m7b5 & G or any combination thereof. You can also use it as a blues lick in the key of A – a 12 bar blues containing the chords of A (or A7) D (or D7) & E (or E7).

Here is the lick being demonstrated:

Don’t forget to see what implications you can draw from the lick & figure out how you can adapt it. For example, change the F# notes (5th string 9th fret & 3rd string 11th fret) into F notes and you will have an A Aeolian lick which can be used over any Am sequence using the chords Am Bm7b5 C Dm Em F & G (or any combination thereof). Then you should learn this lick in all 12 keys and begin incorporating it into your regular rotation of phrases that you call upon when improvising.

If you like this lick, then don’t forget to share it with all your guitar playing friends!

Until next time,

Have fun!


John Robson Guitar Tuition

John Robson… Guitarist



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