Positions – Defining Melodic and Harmonic Spaces

One of the most basic things about music is the ‘space’ you are in. You may not be aware of it, but your ear develops very specific expectations about what it is going to hear very quickly when listening to music. Understanding how to control those expectations and match them with your technical abilities is critical to being a good musician. The most basic way that happens is through scales.

The 5 Diatonic (Major) Scale Boxes

These are the five main scale boxes I use for most kinds of music. Combined, they can let you play any mode of the major scale in any key in any position on the fretboard. They also only space 4 fret spaces at a time, so you never have to overextend your hand to play themǃ

  1. Locrian
  2. Dorian
  3. Phrygian
  4. Mixolydian
  5. Aeolian

The 5 Pentatonic Boxes

Primarily used in Blues/Rock guitar, but equally useful if you are into world music/fusion. These are the pentatonic scales based on the major/minor scale (while in reality any scale with 5 notes is ‘pentatonic’).

Other Lessons

Learning the Notes

The Spider: Fundamental Melodic Guitar Technique Exercise