Lydian Guitar Licks

The Lydian Mode is one of the most beautiful, emotive sounds in music.

Used and popularised in compositions by many musicians, such as Frank Zappa, Steve Vai and The Foo Fighters, it has a rich, almost Indian sounding tonality.

Songs constructed around the Lydian mode include:

Flying in a Blue Dream – Joe Satriani

How I Miss You – Foo Fighters

The introduction to Hole Hearted – Extreme

Answers – Steve Vai

Shut up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar – Frank Zappa

Lydian is an extremely important tonality in modern rock and essential learning for up-and-coming guitarists.

In its first position, Lydian can be played as shown below, and is normally heard over a major 7th chord:

Play the Lydian Mode over this A Lydian backing track to internalise its unique character. Learn it around the major 7th chord shown by the red dots in the diagram above.

Clearly it is not enough to simply run up and down a scale, we need to learn some useful vocabulary to help us understand the characteristic ‘colour’ of the Lydian mode. The following licks, all based around shape one of the Lydian mode will do just that.

First of all, listen to the Lydian Guitar Licks here:

Lydian Mode Guitar Licks Audio

Start by picking your favourite sounding Lydian Guitar Licks to work on. Begin my learning it freely, then use a metronome to speed it up so you can play along with the backing track above. When you are feeling confident, try using this exercise to incorporate the lines naturally into your playing

Lydian Guitar Licks 1

Lydian Guitar Licks 2

Lydian Guitar Licks 3

Lydian Guitar Licks 4

Lydian Guitar Licks 5

These licks are taken from my new book, Rock Guitar Un-CAGED which contains a complete study of the CAGED system and 100 Rock Guitar licks including 25 licks around all 5 shapes of the Blues Scale, Lydian, Mixolydian and Aeolian Modes. Each concept and lick is demonstrated with over 100 minutes of audio examples and written in standard notation and tab.