A little necro, but maybe future readers will be interested...
You could try rotating a single vertical 3-note-per-string pattern (that is 7 strings tall) when you go to play your modes. This might emphasize the modes as all being part of a single structure (an equivalence class defined using rotation equivalence) with relative relationships, rather than as separate independent things.
For example, on a 14-string guitar (to see the pattern twice) and tuned as [B, E, A, D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E] (i.e. tuned in fourths, to ignore the standard tuning's +1 semitone correction on the B-string), the pattern for the major scale and all of its modes goes as (in C major)...
--F-G-A- // String: 14, Pattern: W-W, Mode: Lydian, Numeral: 4
--C-D-E- // String: 13, Pattern: W-W, Mode: Ionian, Numeral: 1
--G-A-B- // String: 12, Pattern: W-W, Mode: Mixolydian, Numeral: 5
--D-EF-- // String: 11, Pattern: W-S, Mode: Dorian, Numeral: 2
--A-BC-- // String: 10, Pattern: W-S, Mode: Aeolian, Numeral: 6
--EF-G-- // String: 09, Pattern: S-W, Mode: Phrygian, Numeral: 3
--BC-D-- // String: 08, Pattern: S-W, Mode: Locrian, Numeral: 7
-F-G-A-- // String: 07, Pattern: W-W, Mode: Lydian, Numeral: 4
-C-D-E-- // String: 06, Pattern: W-W, Mode: Ionian, Numeral: 1
-G-A-B-- // String: 05, Pattern: W-W, Mode: Mixolydian, Numeral: 5
-D-EF--- // String: 04, Pattern: W-S, Mode: Dorian, Numeral: 2
-A-BC--- // String: 03, Pattern: W-S, Mode: Aeolian, Numeral: 6
-EF-G--- // String: 02, Pattern: S-W, Mode: Phrygian, Numeral: 3
-BC-D--- // String: 01, Pattern: S-W, Mode: Locrian, Numeral: 7
Each '-' is a fret/semitone and I used notes to show where your fingers go as well as the direction of ascension. Strings 01-07 are one instance of the pattern. Strings 08-14 are a second instance of the pattern.
You can vocalize the pattern as "two 1-2's, then two 2-1's, then three 2-2's", where 1-2 is in reference to S-W, etc... So, relatively cheap to memorize.
To play it on a standard tuned guitar, you need to "sharpen" the whole pattern when you ascend into the B-string, or "flatten" it when you descend from the B-string. Also, "sharpen" (or "flatten") the pattern when you restart it (for example, see the transition going from string 07 to string 08).
The B-string isn't too problematic, so I tend to think of the pattern as effectively transposable both vertically and horizontally (and I just auto-correct the B-string, like I do when tuning my guitar).
Similar patterns can be made for any heptatonic grouping of
rotationally equivalent scales. Again, similarly so for pentatonic groupings,
but I think it's often nicer to use 2-note-per-string patterns there.
For a pentatonic example, the pattern will only be 5 strings
tall, so you will see the full pattern on a guitar fretboard. Just
look at and/or try rotating the 2-note-per-string minor pentatonic
scale. (e.g. Play A minor pentatonic, then key change so that you
play it's third mode in the key of A, meaning just rotate the pattern
down one string... note: you'll need to first deduce the pattern and then
account for the B-string to do this correctly.)
The reason things work out well for heptatonic and
pentatonic scales is because they have prime numbers of notes.
N-note-per-string patterns are essentially in correspondence with different circles of
modes, and we can make full circles as long as
our 'delta' N is coprime to this total number of notes. (The numerals in the
"major grouping" above spell out a modal circle of thirds, roughly x+3 mod 7...
1, 4, 7, 3, 6, 2, 5, 1... and since all 7 degrees are present this circle is
full/complete, meaning all the modes are represented in the pattern.)
One "can" work out patterns for non-prime things like octatonic scales,
but the coprime condition still needs to be satisifed. To keep the
horizontal motion down, one can do something like use a
5-notes-per-2-strings pattern (5 being coprime to 8), but then the
string height is 2x8=16, so it may be more practical to try and view
such things as heptatonic scales with an additional chromatic passing
(and hence not care about representing the mode/degree of the chromatic
passing in the pattern). Going the other way, a similar argument could
likely be made for identifying the hexatonic blues scale with a
pentatonic scale (which we kinda do anyways), for example.
Edit: An Example Application Of Naming Notes On The Fretboard:
Naming notes on the fretboard can be seen as an instance of these
ideas. The pattern is 1-note-per-string and also follows a 'modal
circle', with the underlying scale being the chromatic scale.
The circle of course is the Circle of Fourths. So, you just pick a
note, then start going vertically up (e.g. along a fret), vocalizing
the Circle of Fourths to name all the notes in that "line" (you'll
also need to correct when you get to the B-string, but otherwise the
pattern won't shift like the major grouping did when going from string
07 to string 08).
The coprime condition applied to the chromatic scale means only 4 full
circles can be made (using a fixed 'delta'), because there are only 4
numbers less than 12 that are coprime to it. These numbers are 1, 11,
5, and 7, which are the circles of Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths,
Perfect Fourths, and Perfect Fifths, respectively. In mod 12 (roughly), 5 and 7
are inverses (as are 1 and 11).
This means that, up to clock-direction/handedness, there are essentially only
2 different circles for the chromatic grouping. On guitar, one of those circles
is what is travelled when you move horizontally (along a string) and the other
is what is travelled when you move vertically (along a fret).
(I say 'roughly' in mod 12 because I'm counting the modes/intervals/degrees
starting at 1 instead of 0 and doing that translation in my head.
For example, 12 mod 12 = 0, but I 've been calling it 1 in various places.
So rather than saying "x-1 mod N = Y => Degree=Y+1", I've just been saying