What does it mean to play in 1st/2nd/3rd position?


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copet
08-29-2007, 06:23 PM
Hate to ask a noob question, but I couldn't find it with search. When it says to play G Major scale in 2nd position, what determines that it is in 2nd position? Same thing goes for chords.

justin_fraser
08-29-2007, 06:28 PM
Ive never heard of play chords in the second position but I imagine that would be a barre chord or something played on the 3rd fret.

When music refers to 1st or 2nd position they mean where you would put your index. 1st position means you have your index fingers on the first fret, whereas 2nd position means you have your index finger on the second fret.

Im not too sure about chords though.

Unless of course they are talking about inversions?

epic7734
08-29-2007, 06:30 PM
Its one of the ways the scales are broken down. The positions start on the low E string and move down to the next string(normally 2 to 3 notes per string) and then the next till you reach the high E string.

The different positions are just starting on a different fret that contains the right notes of the chosen scale.

I believe that is what they(your source) is referring to.

Zaphod_Beeblebr
08-29-2007, 06:38 PM
Hate to ask a noob question, but I couldn't find it with search. When it says to play G Major scale in 2nd position, what determines that it is in 2nd position? Same thing goes for chords.

G major 2nd position is basically A Dorian, the idea is that the basic scale shape in the first position is with the root on the low E; so G major first position is:

e|-----------------
b|-----------------
g|-----------------
d|-------------4-5-
a|-------3-5-7-----
e|-3-5-7-----------

and so on up the scale.

The second position is with the second scale degree on the low E so G Major 2nd position is:

e|-----------------
b|-----------------
g|-----------------
d|-------------5-7-
a|-------5-7-9-----
e|-5-7-8-----------

and so on, or the same thing as A Dorian.

The same basic principles apply to the rest of the scale; it's trying to get you to learn the scales up and down the neck, later you'll probably have to learn what each position is as a mode.

copet
08-29-2007, 07:13 PM
What I'm reading is Steve Vai's Guitar World article about his workout, and he has the following labled as G major scale, second position:

e|----------------------------------2-3
b|------------------------------3-5----
g|-----------------------2-4-5--------
d|---------------2-4-5----------------
a|-------2-3-5-------------------------
e|-3-5---------------------------------

I of course know the scale, but from your explanations it does not make sense, except for justin's, since the index finger would play the 2nd fret.

Care to clarify?

Blind In 1 Ear
08-29-2007, 07:23 PM
i think position just means one of the scale "shapes". first would be the one that starts in the open string position, and second would be the shape after that.(im guessing)

epic7734
08-29-2007, 08:12 PM
i think position just means one of the scale "shapes". first would be the one that starts in the open string position, and second would be the shape after that.(im guessing)

Yeah, i don't think i've ever really heard a definite definition of positions.

But the way Justin explained it, and the way the first finger would play on the second fret seems logical.

GoodGod
08-29-2007, 09:21 PM
i'm pretty sure you're talking about modes.

basically, a scale repeats over and over

ABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFG.... etc.

a mode is a part of a scale. for example, we'll use the key of G.
in the first mode (ionian, also called major) the scale starts and ends with G.:
ABCDEF|GABCDEFG|ABCDEFGABCDEFG
in the 2nd mode (dorian) the scale starts and ends with the second note of the scale, A:
ABCDEFG|ABCDEFGA|BCDEFGABCDEFG

so on, and so forth. this really helps with guitar improv.

copet
08-29-2007, 09:58 PM
No, I know my modes, and that is a G major scale and Ionian is not the second mode :P

Zaphod_Beeblebr
08-30-2007, 07:12 AM
stuff

That's all very well and good, but what you've got there is actually G Mixolydian rather than G Major, in the second position that ends up being A minor rather than A Dorian.