One of the most commonly used sets of older scales are scales known as modes. These modes are all built off of one single scale; the C Major scale. In total, there are seven modes, each in relation to the seven scale degrees of the C Major scale.
In this article, we are going to discuss the first of the modes, the Ionian modes on bass guitar.
Now, seeing as the Ionian mode is the first mode, it is safe to say that the first counts as number one. In relation to the C Major scale, this would mean the tonic, or the first scale degree of the C Major scale. Seeing as the first note of the C Major scale is C, this means that the Ionian scale will be based off of the note C.
Just like the C Major scale, the modes do not contain any sharps, flats, or accidental notes of any kind. That means that the Ionian mode, starting on C, will be a straight shoot through and back to C. You may notice that this means the Ionian mode is the same exact scale as the C Major scale.
This is true up to an extent, as both scales are meant to be played entirely differently (the C Major as a major scale, the Ionian mode as a minor scale, which is what all modes are, fundamentally).
But if you want to learn more about the Ionian mode, you may want to learn how it is constructed from a technical standpoint. The intervals that make up each mode are unique. The ones which make up the Ionian mode are as follows:
Whole tone, Whole tone, Half tone, Whole tone, Whole tone, Whole tone, Half tone
Using this pattern of whole tones and half tones (full steps and half steps),we wind up with the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, and B for our Ionian mode on bass guitar.
The best way to get acquainted with this mode is by practicing it. Try creating some basic melodies using this scale. Note that the Ionian mode has a very peculiar sound, very different from most modern scales. This is due to the lack of accidentals, which makes the intervals between notes sometimes greater than average, and sometimes less than average.
Once you get a feel for this mode, try moving up to making some riffs and licks with it. Remember that, although similar in properties, the Ionian mode and the C Major scale are completely different, in that they are played in different contexts.
In the end, your familiarity with the Ionian mode depends on how well you practice it. The more you do with it and the more you use it, regardless of context, the more you will come to master this mode in the bass guitar. Good luck!
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