CARLOS SANTANA
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from The Dorian Mode

We will now expand our Dorian knowledge even further by working out which chords work the best in Dorian chord progressions. We will be applying these chords to 3 awesome Santana grooves to demonstrate how Dorian works so well for his style if playing.

Summary: Dorian Chords

Now we have a better understanding of how to use the scale, let's look at the chords. If you remember, A Dorian is essentially the G major scale starting from the 2nd degree. This therefore means that the harmonised chords are exactly the same as in G major. If none of that makes any sense then please check out the 'theory lab' section where we discuss this. However, what's important to us is how those chord compare to the natural minor chords. So here are the two side by side:

We can see that the 2nd, 4th and 6th chords are different. These are therefore, the chords you want to highlight to make the progressions sound dorian. For example, you might play Am to Bm as a progression, rather than Am to Bdim in normal minor. Alternatively you may play A minor to D major, rather than A minor to D minor in normal minor. Remember that we have learnt the key of A here, but this applies to any minor key. For example, the 4th chord in any dorian key will be a major chord, the 6th chord in any dorian key will be diminished, and so on!

Summary: 'Oya Como What?!' Groove

Our first example of a Dorian style progression looks at our 'Oya Como What?!' groove! This song loops around two chords in the key of A Dorian; the root and the 4th. This means that the chords are simply A minor to D major all the way through. Rhythmically, we are 'pushing' in to the D major chord, which basically means coming in just before the start of the next bar. Just in case you are unsure, the chords look like this:

Materials: The Tab

We would highly recommend learning the part and then playing along with the entire tune. Simply click the link below to find the play through video, set the speed you want to play at, and play! It's great fun and a great test of your rhythm skills.

Audio: Backing Track

Here is the audio file for the full play through of this rhythm pattern. This is at full speed, so be sure to practise with the tab at a slower speed before attempting this!

Summary: 'He's Not Anywhere' groove

We now look at a similar groove in G Dorian. Once again, we are using the root and the 4th chord, which in this key are G minor and C major. The actual progression is quicker than in the previous tune, but even more repetitive. The first bar is then repeated all the way through the tune with the occasional bar break. As we mention in the video, be sure to keep the right hand moving all the way through! Here are the chord shapes:

Materials: the Tab

We would highly recommend learning the part, and then playing along with the entire tune. Simply click the link below to find the play-through video then set the speed you want to play at, and play! It's great fun and a great test of your rhythm skills.

Audio: Backing Track

Here is the audio file for the full play-through of this rhythm pattern. This is at full speed, so be sure to practise with the tab at a slower speed before attempting this!

Summary: 'Jingo Jango' Groove

The last song we will look at has a slightly more complex chord structure. This song uses the root, 3rd and 4th in B Dorian which means that we use the B minor (root chord), D major (3rd) and E major (4th). This is a great example of a Dorian progression because if you played the same progression in minor, you would get the Bm (root), D major (3rd) and E minor (4th). Using the major on the 4th makes all the difference. Here are those chords:

Materials: The Tab

We would highly recommend learning the part and then playing along with the entire tune. Simply click the link below to find the play through video, set the speed you want to play at, and play! It's great fun and a great test of your rhythm skills.

Audio: Backing Track

Here is the audio file for the full play-through of this rhythm pattern. This is at full speed, so be sure to practise with the tab at a slower speed before attempting this!

Summary: Improvising

In this lesson we will go through the process of improvising in Dorian. We will put together the key of C Dorian, then choose some chords, create a backing track and then solo over it using some of our new scales and licks. Here is a run down of all of that in text, just in case you can't quite follow along with the video.

Materials: The C Dorian Process

1. Working out the Key of C Dorian

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C Dorian is essentially Bb major, so all we need to do is write out the Bb major scale but start from Bb. We then use the major scale harmonisation to create the chords of C dorian. They look like this:

2. Choosing some chords

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Now you have the key, you simply need to choose a progression, specifically using and targeting either the 2nd, 4th or 6th, as discussed in a previous lesson. In the video, we chose the following chord progression:

  • Cm /// F /// Cm /// Dm / Am7b5 / (looped)

3. Improvising

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Time to get out your C Dorian scale and C Minor pentatonic and have some fun! Just in case you need them, the 5 Dorian shapes are below. Have fun!

Audio: Backing Track & Audio

If you can't record your own loop to practise your Dorian scale, then use the C Dorian track below. It uses the same set of chords as shown above and in the video.

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Oye Como What?!

In this final section we will take all of the new Dorian ideas and apply them to this extremely cool Santana solo! The solo is quick and moves up and down the fretboard from lick to lick, so take your time with it and be sure to understand what you are playing!