lydian Scale Bass

The Lydian mode is the IV degree of the major scale and therefore it is within the major bass scales that we study in this web. It is a heptatonic scale, since it is composed of 7 musical notes. Here is a brief summary of what we are going to cover in this lesson, so, whether you are a bass player or not, keep reading if you want to learn about the Lydian mode.

And in this electric bass lesson you will learn how to use this scale and how it is formed as well.

The possible names we can find for this scale are:

  • Lydian mode bass
  • Lydian Scale bass
  • Fourth Greek Mode

Is it the same ? well… yes, it is the same.

Since it belongs to the Greek modes and as we have already said, it is the fourth mode of the Ionian scale.

This scale has a particularity that makes it magical, because, despite being major, it can evoke sonorities typical of a minor scale.

But wait, first of all, I propose you something, why don’t we listen to the Lydian mode, it is essential to see how this mode sounds before we start to investigate it in depth, don’t you think?

Press play and listen to the Lydian mode before continuing, try to sing it with the audio. It is the F Lydian mode:

👉🏻Listen to the Lydian👇🏻 Mode

It does not have any note to avoid or compromised with the harmony of the chord it generates, because its notes are all at a pitch distance above the notes of the chord.

Let’s take an example in “C” where the Lydian mode would start from the note “F”.

As can be seen in this graph, the arpeggio is composed of the notes F, A, C, E.

lydian scale is 4 grade

and each joint note is at pitch distance:

E —- is the last note of the mode

How to play the Lydian mode on Electric Bass

Well, as always we are going to present three ways of playing this Lydian scale mode.

We are going to play the Lydian scale of A, so we will be in the key of E major:

E major – Grade I – Ionian Mode or Major Scale.
A Lydian – Grade IV – Lydian Scale

Well, let’s start with the fingerings of the Lydian mode pdf for bass:

In this first fingering we will use finger 2 as the main axis, the characteristic note of this mode #4 will be reached with finger 3.

Let’s say that this is the fundamental fingering to play the Lydian scale.

💥Position with finger 2

lydian bass with finger 2

Perhaps this is the most used fingering of the Lydian mode. It is very comfortable on the electric bass and you have to take into account that if you are playing within the key, this fingering starts with the same finger as the major scale itself.
Due to the fact that both scales are at a distance of interval of just fourth.
That is to say, if we are playing in C major Ionian we will simply have to lower the finger two strings and we will find this fingering.

It is a very easy fingering to memorize, because if you know the major scale, you will simply have to change the fourth degree of this scale, in this case, we are going to increase it, and thus, we will obtain the Lydian scale on the electric bass.

💥Position with finger 4

lydian bass finger 4

The following fingering of the Lydian scale is executed with finger 4 as root, this fingering opens the hand a lot and is ideal to use the slur.

That damned finger four or little finger that bothers us so much, for many things it is an useless finger, but in this case it is crucial for this fingering.
We will only play one note with the first string where we start, the fundamental of the scale, but as you can see it will be enough for us to play an open fingering on the following strings.

This fingering for bass will allow us to link the fingers 1, 2 and 4 and we will be able to play the scale quickly.

Experiment with this fingering that will make you open your hand in all its extension since you will have to cover a distance of two tones between fingers 1 and 4.

💥Position with finger 1

lydian bass scale finger 1

Finally, we propose finger 1 to play the Lydian mode forward, this position will also open our left hand a lot.

Why have we left finger 1 for the end?
Very simple, because this bass fingering is perhaps the most advanced, because we have to project forward on the fingerboard the notes of the scale itself.
As a bass teacher, I recommend you to start first to get to know the fingerings of these scales with the easiest positions.
In the case of the Lydian mode, which is the one that concerns us, the easiest fingering will be the first one we have studied, with finger two.

As I say this is more advanced, but it makes us open the hand and its tendency is to go towards the highest part of the instrument. Therefore it is a fingering below ideal to find this mode in the treble zone and connect it with this pattern.

On the other hand, you will see that finger one is prepared to execute a slur of three notes on each string, which can be very interesting to articulate this mode musically.

How is the Lydian Mode formed?

To build a Lydian scale from a key we must start from the fourth note of the major scale, and from there we will find the Lydian mode, for example:

If we are in C major, the fourth note of this scale is F and that is where our Lydian mode will start from.
If we are in the key of G major, the fourth note of the scale is C, and that is where we will find our Lydian scale.

When we want to make the Lydian mode without any tonal relationship we will have to execute the pattern of distances detailed below.

Lydian Scale Structure

The Lydian scale has seven notes with this pattern of distances between them:


The main characteristic of this mode is the interval of augmented fourth that it makes against the tonic of the scale itself.

If we talk about augmented fourth, we are talking about the tritone interval, you can review it in our intervals section.

the intervallic of the Lydian scale would be:

  1. Tonic
  2. Major 2nd
  3. Major 3rd
  4. Augmented 4th – characteristic note
  5. Just 5th
  6. Major 6th
  7. Major 7th

1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7

Lydian Mode Triad Chord

The Lydian mode triad chord is a major chord formed by the following intervals:

  1. Tonic
  2. Major third
  3. perfect fifth


Numerical formula of the triad:

1, 3, 5

The harmonic numbering for this chord is , example in A:


Greek Lydian Mode thetrad Chord

Adding one more third to the Lydian mode triad we obtain the tetrad chord. It is a major chord with a major seventh, just like in the Ionian mode.

  1. Tonic
  2. Major third
  3. Just fifth
  4. Major 7th

Formula of the Lydian quadrilad:

1, 3, 5, 7

The harmonic cipher for the Lydian quatrain is:


✅How to use the Lydian Mode

The main feature of the Lydian scale is the augmented fourth, as it is its characteristic note.

Although it forms tritone interval with the tonic it is a colored note, in fact, this mode has no note to avoid, all notes are good to rest on.

It is a mode very used in film music for that particularity of its sonority, somewhat ambiguous despite being a major mode.

And on which chords can we play it ?

We will be able to use it on these chords:

Examples of A (A)

Major triad chords – A ✅
Suspended 2nd chords – Asus2 ✅
Major chords add 9 – Aadd9 ✅
Major 6th chords – A6 ✅
Major 6/9 chords – A6/9 ✅
Major chords with major 7th plus the 9th and also #11 – Amaj7, Amaj9 ✅
Major chords with major 7th plus 9th and 13th – Amaj13 ✅

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