How to Use Harmonic Minor in Dorian Mode on the Guitar

By Desi Serna

On the guitar, the Dorian mode is like a natural minor scale with a raised 6th. So if you raise the 7th as well, you end up with a melodic minor scale.

Using a V7 chord in Dorian mode is just as common as using one in natural minor. When a V7 chord occurs in Dorian mode, you have a few options for your solos:

  • Ignore the chord completely and keep playing the minor pentatonic scale, or the Dorian scale.

  • Target the raised 7th or outline the V7 chord.

  • Play the whole Dorian scale with a raised 7th (which produces the melodic minor scale).

  • Play the harmonic minor scale, which is the natural minor scale with a raised 7th.

Pick whichever ones work best for you.

Practicing Dorian mode songs with a V7 chord can help you learn which options work best in different situations. Two songs that are recommended to work with are “Oye Como Va” and “Evil Ways” by Santana, both of which are Dorian songs that feature a V7 chord at some point.