Locrian Mode – Ultimate Exotic Scale Improv Hacks

Locrian ModeWould you like to learn how to improvise with the Locrian Mode? You’re in the right place.

In the video below, Steve teaches you how to play and improvise with the Locrian Mode.

Using the Locrian Mode will bring an exotic and darker flavor to your improv. Its distinct sound gives way to playing catchy lines and licks.

Take a few minutes and watch the video below. Steve will break down how to use the Locrian Mode for you.

Locrian Mode Video Tutorial

5 Tips To Go Deeper With The Locrian Mode Tutorial

Now that you’ve taken a few minutes to watch the video above, let’s get further into these Locrian Mode tips.

1. How To Figure Out The Locrian Mode In All Keys Fast

Locrian ModeThe first trick to figuring out the Locrian Mode uses this scale formula:

1 – b2 – b3 – 4 – b5 – b6 – b7

The second trick still makes use of the major scale as your guide.

The key is that the Locrian mode is the 7th mode of the major scale.

In the key of C, starting the same major scale on B gives you B Locrian.

Now, what if you want to play in F# Locrian? Think about which major scale has F# as the 7th degree.

The answer is G. Just focus on F# when playing G major to play F# Locrian.

These approaches also work for learning other modes like the Phrygian Mode.

Now that you can play any Locrian scale, what jazz chords sound great with it?

2. How To Discover And Apply Locrian Mode Chords

Locrian ModeIn the video you just watched, Steve shows 2 important chords you can use.

One of these chords is the minor 7th (b5) chord. Every m7(b5) chord follows the formula 1 – b3 – b5 – b7.

The second chord is a variation of the m7(b5) chord that goes 1 – 4 – b5 – b7.

Just keep in mind the given chord formulas and practice them in all 12 keys.

Since this chord is the ii(b5) of the minor ii(b5) – V – i, the Locrian Mode works great here.

Did you know that there are many songs where you can use the Locrian Mode? I’ll show you a great place to learn such tunes below.

How To Learn Songs That Use The Locrian Mode

Locrian ModeThe Premium Jazz Lessons Elite Membership Program has an extensive songs library where you can learn tunes that use the Locrian Mode fast.

Even if you don’t have enough chops or think jazz is too hard, Premium Jazz Lessons provide a step-by-step way for you to master each song in a fun way.

Go to this link to get instant access.

Now that you’re armed with chords for the Locrian Mode, let’s get into how to start soloing.

3. How To Start Improvising With The Locrian Mode

Locrian ModeStep 1 is to play the Locrian Mode up and down with the right hand.

Comp with a matching m7(b5) chord with the left hand.

Once you’re already used to playing the scale, try playing melodies with it.

Don’t be afraid to mess around and have fun.

When practicing, use a backing track or a metronome to help keep time.

Always remember that in any jazz improvisation practice, keeping good time and feel is essential.

Now it’s time to polish up your improv by learning how to target chord tones. I have three easy tips below on how to do that.

4. Three Hacks To Target Locrian Mode Chord Tones

Locrian ModeNow, why would you want to target chord tones when improvising with the Locrian Mode?

It’s because chord tones along with the groove sound great.

In fact, many song melodies are built from chord tones.

Take a look at Stella By Starlight chords as an example.

The tune starts with an Em7(b5) where you can use E Locrian to improvise over.

To effectively target your m7(b5) chord tones, here are some hacks you can use:

  1. Practice playing your m7(b5) chords in all inversions as block chords.
  2. Practice your m7(b5) chords as arpeggios, in all inversions, going up and down.
  3. Improvise melodies out of m7(b5) chord tones.

How The Pros Use Chord Tones For Amazing Licks

Some of the coolest licks played by the pros are also built from chord tones. If you want to go and learn some of these amazing licks, check out the Jazz Masters Method.

Locrian ModeThe Jazz Masters Method reveals techniques by such legends as Barry Harris and Chick Corea to upgrade your improv fast.

Even if you only know a few licks or don’t have enough improv experience, the Jazz Masters Method teaches neat tricks to turn one lick into many. This will definitely add more vocabulary to your soloing.

Get instant access to the Jazz Masters Method right here.

Now that you know how to nail those chord tones, you can still take your improv to an even higher level. How? Read on.

5. How To Play Intervallic Patterns To Add Excitement To The Locrian Mode

Locrian ModeThe next step to adding drama to your improv is using intervallic jazz patterns.

All it takes is to practice playing across the scale in intervals other than 2nds.

For example, try playing across the B Locrian mode in 3rds like this: B – D – C – E – D – F – E – G – F – A, etc.

Another exciting pattern would be in 4ths. You can also try playing in broken octaves.

To take these intervallic patterns further, you can try mixing them with no limit. You can also apply these interval patterns to other jazz modes too.

However, what seems limitless can set you up for disaster. So, how do you make the right musical decisions?

Why Uncontrolled Improv Freedom Is A Disaster

Locrian ModeDoes your improv sound disorganized? Do you gamble with random licks and end up feeling like an epic failure?

It may seem like a good idea to throw out some of the most virtuosic and technical tricks one after another.

The problem is nobody in your audience gets it.

Worse, you end up losing your listeners in the process.

The great news is that the Jazz Improvisation Super System will give you complete control over your improv to win over your audiences.

The Jazz Improvisation Super System has gig-ready, concert-tested tricks that will help you captivate your audience and make a lasting impression.

Locrian ModeEven if you only have classical chops or have a hard time stringing ideas together, you’ll learn how to improvise awe-inspiring solos with this course.

Inside the Jazz Improvisation Super Systemyou’ll discover:

  • A complete method that shows you step by step how to improvise over the world’s greatest jazz songs with ease.
  • 116 pages of downloadable sheet music, transcriptions, written examples, licks, & templates.
  •  Rarely revealed harmony formulas from greats like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver, Cedar Walton, & more.

Check out the Jazz Improvisation Super System here.

Enjoy learning how to improvise with the Locrian Mode. Do you have any questions, suggestions, or anything to add to this lesson? Feel free to leave a comment below.

I hope that you are as psyched as I am to continue making progress. If you need more help, you can always get in touch with me. I’m here to help you take your musicianship to a higher level.

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Mark A. Galang, OTRP, MAM-MT(c)

Mark Galang is one of our contributors at FreeJazzLessons.com. He loves teaching all styles of music especially jazz, blues, rock, classical, and Christian music. Mark is also a licensed occupational therapist in the Philippines that combines music therapy intervention with occupational therapy.