#1
I know this is a rather stupid question seen as I've played guitar for a good few years and classical piano for over 10, but what is really meant by 'positions' in relation to guitar scales? it's quite clear its one of two answers, one is that if I'm asked to play a C major scale in second position for example, I play a dorian scale on the note D on the 6th string, or do I infact play a C major scale starting on the 5th string, or what?


Can someone actually clarify this?

Thanks in advance

Harry
#2
It depends what you are playing it over. If the underlying harmony resolves to D it would be D dorian, but mostly it would just be C major.
#3
I know, it would still be the C major, but are modes sometimes refered to as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th position of a scale depending on the root note? or is it just where you play the scale on the actual neck, without starting on a certain degree of the scale?
#4
It's starting on the different degrees, so modes. They usualy also give the string number, eg, we're playing in C major position 2 starting on the 5th string
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#5
position usually refers to where your first finger is on the fretboard, so second position is any string at the second fret, third at the third fret etc.

With scales though, I'd guess it would refer to the position of the scale itself, to be more musical.
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#7
Quote by pigeonmafia
It's starting on the different degrees, so modes. They usualy also give the string number, eg, we're playing in C major position 2 starting on the 5th string


So thatd be starting on the D on the fifth string?
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#8
Quote by MacMan2001
So thatd be starting on the D on the fifth string?


I would have said G on the 5th string. The way I learnt it was 2nd position means start with the 2nd dregree of the scale on the 6th string (so, here, you have a dorian shape starting on the 6th string) and then start from the 1st note that appears on the 5th string, which would be a G in this case.

But I spose it could equaly mean start the 2nd position on the 5th string.

So now I'm confused which way it is
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Last edited by pigeonmafia at Sep 16, 2009,
#9
Quote by pigeonmafia
It's starting on the different degrees, so modes. They usualy also give the string number, eg, we're playing in C major position 2 starting on the 5th string


No, "positions" doesn't mean anything other than exactly what it says...it's just a place, where you put your fingers when playing something. Nothing to do with modes whatsoever.
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#10
Quote by steven seagull
No, "positions" doesn't mean anything other than exactly what it says...it's just a place, where you put your fingers when playing something. Nothing to do with modes whatsoever.



That doesn't really explain much. If someone said position 1, or 5, how do you know where it is? Is it worked out in relation to the scale you're playing or in relation to frets?

*edit*

Guitar sites I've just been looking at have two different ways of using 'positions'. Either there are 5 positions for a diatonic scale, 1st position seeming always starting at the top of the guitar.

Or, 7 positions, and each position is linked to modal shapes (1st position Ionian, 6th position Aeolian, 2nd position Dorian), which is what I said earlier
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Last edited by pigeonmafia at Sep 16, 2009,
#11
It doesn't really matter, positions are whatever you want them to be - it's the notes that matter. Modes are not names for scale shapes or positions and never have been - there's no such thing as "modal shapes", that's just gobbledegook peddled by the likes of the Gutiar Grimore and it's wrong, simple as.

Modes occur when the notes of a major scale are used in a way that shifts the tonal centre away from the major or relative minor. You can do this by using a chord vamp, a static drone note or a carefully crafted progression - but the moment you start using those notes in a diatonic tonal chord progresson then modes dissapear from the equation because the overall tonality is what is heard.

Nothing to do with shapes, where you play or what note you start from.
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#12
Quote by steven seagull
It doesn't really matter, positions are whatever you want them to be - it's the notes that matter. Modes are not names for scale shapes or positions and never have been. Modes are when the notes of a major scale are used in a way that shifts the tonal centre away from the major or relative minor. You can do this by using a chord vamp, a static drone note or a carefully crafted progression - but the moment you start using those notes in a diatonic tonal chord progresson then modes dissapear from the equation.


Yes, but most people learn to play modes by remembering shapes: ie, learning a 6 string shape with 3 notes per string, but each shape starting with a different note of the scale. For example, learning a 'dorian' shape as 134 (6th string) 135(5th string) 135 (4th string) because if we started playing from the 1 in the 6th string, we would be playing in dorian (F dorian obviously, if this was E standard tuning).

So, from an ease point of view, you could think of position 2 as using the dorian 'shape', even though you might not actualy be playing in dorian.
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Last edited by pigeonmafia at Sep 16, 2009,
#13
Ok lets forget the modes thing, as in this discussion they're not being used as 'modes' so we can call them 'degrees of a scale' or something, fair enough.

But the reason I wanted the 'positions' thing clarified, is that I have an audition for a module in my course that's starting on the 21st, that says in the description "Scales, 3 octaves, major or minor will be asked (all fine here)

Guitarists will be asked to play in more than one position"

that is what I thought to be slightly vague, as in a 3 octave scale, surely you have to move through many positions to reach the highest note, or is it that they just want the 'degree' of the scale, or starting on any note within the scale played over 3 octaves?
#14
Probably both: they want to see that you can use extended amounts of notes (the 3 octaves) but that you don't always just play those note in one position on the fretboard. They want to see that you have great control over alot of the fret board, not just always hovering around the 15-19th fret mark etc
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Last edited by pigeonmafia at Sep 16, 2009,
#15
Quote by Harrydude
Ok lets forget the modes thing, as in this discussion they're not being used as 'modes' so we can call them 'degrees of a scale' or something, fair enough.

But the reason I wanted the 'positions' thing clarified, is that I have an audition for a module in my course that's starting on the 21st, that says in the description "Scales, 3 octaves, major or minor will be asked (all fine here)

Guitarists will be asked to play in more than one position"

that is what I thought to be slightly vague, as in a 3 octave scale, surely you have to move through many positions to reach the highest note, or is it that they just want the 'degree' of the scale, or starting on any note within the scale played over 3 octaves?

No, it just means they want you to be able to use a scale all over the fretboard as opposed to just playing a single box shape - presumably because that means you're more likely to understand scales as notes rather than having simply learned a single box shape rote.
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#16
Ok, I've always thought of modes as modifications to the major scale. Is that wrong? i know that is not what they are but it helps for me to think of them like that.

Also, the only time I've heard anyone refer to positions is when they're discussing which fret the index finger is on.
#17
Quote by Harrydude
Guitarists will be asked to play in more than one position
That sounds very much like the RGT Exams.
It basically means being able to play one 3 octave scale, and then being able to play the exact same 3 octave scale elsewhere on the neck.

For instance (let's just do one C Major octave):
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-------------4-5-|
|-------3-5-7-----|
|-3-5-7-----------|
|-----------------|

&

|--------------------|
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
|-------------7-9-10-|
|------7-8-10--------|
|-8-10---------------|
Exact same notes; different position.
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Last edited by ChrisN at Sep 16, 2009,