Connect Ionian shapes Guitar Lesson – Step 4

Major Scales Guitar Lesson - S4
Let's connect all Ionian scale shapes to ensure we really do know how to play all shapes perfectly!

When You Can Play All Ionian Shapes Individually – Connect Them

The exercises above will teach you how to connect the Ionian shapes in the key of A. If you get stuck in a particular shape, go back and practice it again in isolation.

Also, consider how you can vary this connect shapes exercise. It doesn’t have to be triplets as in the video. Why not try one of the rhythms from the chromatic exercises you’re practising right now?

When you can do it in the key of A as the video demonstrates, try it in D, G, C, F, and all other keys.

Ionian Cycle of 4th

This final exercise takes the Ionian mode and runs it through the cycle of 4th, using the concept of the closest possible shape.

If you struggle with this exercise, go back and practice scale shapes individually.

This final Ionian exercise flows like this:

A Ionian – E shape, D Ionian – A shape, G Ionian – D shape, C Ionian – G shape, F Ionian – C shape.

This is then followed by the same shapes, one fret up the neck, start on a Bb.

Spend plenty of time with both these exercises, you want to get to a place where there is zero struggle playing either of these. Only then should you move on and start working on Lydian, only one note will change.

Ionian Improvisation

When you feel comfortable with the Ionian scale shapes, try improvising without any chords to support the scale as I do in the video above. This way, you’ll hear it more clearly.

Of course, you also need to put it to use in real songs, the advanced acoustic course has plenty of songs that use the Ionian mode.

When you feel good with Ionian, you must also try Lydian, being able to use either scale when needed is imperative. Ionian is used over chord I, and Lydian over chord IV. Only one note inside them differs.

Connect Ionian Shapes Guitar Lessons | Related Pages

Major Scales | Step-by-step guitar course

The Ionian mode is the first mode we learn in the Major Scales Course.

Using the CAGED system and Major Pentatonic as our foundation, we can build all our major scales on the guitar.

The self-eliminating practice routine takes care of this in 8 steps. All you have to do is put the time in.

Major Pentatonic

The Major Pentatonic is the foundation of Ionian.

This is where it all starts, you must learn how to play the Major Pentatonic in all five shapes and don’t cheat by thinking of them as minor.

And let’s not name these shapes 1-5, let’s call them by their CAGED name, and let’s practice them not just in A as the videos show!

Maj7 Arpeggios

You should visualise the maj7 arpeggio in the Ionian scale shapes

Let’s practice the maj7 arpeggios in all CAGED shapes. This is relatively easy as long as you know your CAGED maj7 chord shapes.

Video lessons are available starting on an A. To complete this step, you must play starting on the remaining 11 notes as well.

Advanced Acoustic Course

Advanced Acoustic Guitar Course

In the Advanced Acoustic Course, we find huge chord extensions and unique chords using open strings. A few solos are incorporated as well.

Perhaps most importantly, we create 2nd guitar parts for most of these tunes, enabling you to play along with me and the singers as if we were a band.

Guitar Chords

To understand the Major Pentatonic, you must connect them with the CAGED guitar chord shapes.

With traditional music theory, the stave, and a piano, you’ll get easy-to-understand chords but they will not help if you want to play chords on the guitar.

Instead, on the guitar we use chord shapes derived from the five open-position chords, C, A, G, E, and D, hence CAGED.


Chordacus can show you all Major Pentatonic shapes in all keys.

Spytunes chords, scale, and arpeggio software, Chordacus is a refined version of the so-called CAGED system.

Now available as both a chromatic (original version) and “within a key”, developed with the help of a Spytunes student.

About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on connecting the Ionian shapes.

This guitar lesson about connecting the Ionian shapes was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learning guitar with Spytunes.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.

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