#1
So as I am learning scales and other theories as mentioned in other threads I have come across scale positions.

My question si why so many different position for one scale and when Do i decide If I play position 1 or 4
#2
There are many positions because there are many ways to play the same note (for example the same E note can be found on 24th fret of the low E string, 19th fret of the A string, 14th fret of the D string, 9th fret of the G string, 5th fret of the B string and open high E string - those are all in the same octave, but you can find E in many different octaves). The major scale has just 7 notes in it that repeat in different octaves. The scale is all over the fretboard.

What position you should choose is up to you. The same notes can be found in any position (though in a bit different octaves). But it's all about what feels comfortable. The different positions are just a way to "navigate" on the fretboard.

There are just 12 notes. If all frets were different notes, it would be pretty complex.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#3
Quote by mikerockcity
So as I am learning scales and other theories as mentioned in other threads I have come across scale positions.

My question si why so many different position for one scale and when Do i decide If I play position 1 or 4


Learning (at least) the five traditional scale patterns for (applicable) scales (e.g., the "CAGED" system) is a good idea because it helps you to see the entire fingerboard in the same way a piano student sees the entire keyboard.

You wouldn't want a piano teacher who tells you "we're only going to learn to use the first 14 keys."

Fire that guy!

"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#4
Quote by mikerockcity
So as I am learning scales and other theories as mentioned in other threads I have come across scale positions.

My question si why so many different position for one scale and when Do i decide If I play position 1 or 4


Mike,

This article may help you understand how shapes evolve on the guitar neck.
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html

Often times, the choice of shape (or rather scale position) depends on

a) using different licks (some licks are easier / sound better) in one position than another

b) if there are chord changes occurring that could use a different scale (briefly, or change of key), then choosing the scale shape to use in the same area of the neck as the previous one gives a really nice transition between the two sounds, by moving from one scale to the other at the nearest note.

c) different keys will require different shapes (mostly) at any part of the neck, so if you want to play near the nut, then some shapes will be unavailable to you. Another reason to learn the shapes in different regions.

cheers, Jerry
#5
Quote by mikerockcity
So as I am learning scales and other theories as mentioned in other threads I have come across scale positions.

My question si why so many different position for one scale and when Do i decide If I play position 1 or 4


You want to be able to play anywhere on the neck during a song. There are a few different ways to play any give n chord, and they will have their own flavour. You might be soloing and you want to go right up your neck to some high notes, and play the chords up there, and then fall right back down low to the nut right after.

You want to think of it as one giant pattern, but it is broken down into bite sized chunks in different ways, so that you can understand it better, and wield it in any situation you find yourself in.

So, the short answer is, you want to cover the whole neck, and move your hand the least possible. That might mean sticking around in your current neighbourhood, or playing far away. Whatever it is, you want to know the pattern in the neighbourhood where you want to be. The positions are stagnant compared to the fretboard in a given key, for most music. It gets more complicated after that, but I recommend you cross that bridge when you get to it. I don't bother with further complications than that, because I don't like that sort of music.

You are missing a basic understanding of what the key is etcetera. Music theory is very simple, if it is taught logically. It's not just chords and scales you have to learn. It's what they are, and how they work together that is important. What they sound like in context. In music, everything is relative, and that's why the key is important. That is your frame of reference.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Apr 27, 2015,
#7
So youguys who know your scales... know every scale every damn position off the top of your head?
#8
^ Well, I don't (guitar is not my main instrument), but I know about scale construction, so I can figure them out. I do remember some of them because I have played songs, but I haven't really practiced scale positions. If I had, I would know them.

Or I mean, I do know them, but they are not in my muscle memory that well.

I'm sure a lot of people here (who are "real" guitarists) do know the scale positions really well.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 3, 2015,
#9
Quote by mikerockcity
So youguys who know your scales... know every scale every damn position off the top of your head?


I know the major scale pattern, in a sort of CAGED method, I know it in every position in box pattern, I know it in every position in 3nps, I know the pentatonic 2 ways, which is 5 of the major scale notes, and I know harmonic minor anywhere on the neck, which I mostly only really use 3nps method for but could play it anywhere no problem any way, really. That is the major scale with one note moved over. That also covers all of the modes, since they are all the same fingerings/pattern, but I don't mess with modes much because they are often not useful in the type of music I like to play, and I have no problem playing something that's in some other mode, because I still intuitively know what an inside note would be, and knowing the pattern, and where I am, and roughly what note I want next, I'm good to go.

It's less than it looks like when you go to a scales and chords website and you see everything you have to learn on a list. But it still takes some time to really commit it to muscle memory, and also to be able to really play all of those really quickly effortlessly.

But if you started learning to read on day one, and somebody showed you the dictionary and told you you'd have to learn all of those words, that would look crazy. And you might ask someone that could read and write whether they learned "ALL of those words?" And the answer would be similar, not all of them, some of them you can figure out, you basically never need to use a number of them, and you actually do know a whole bunch, because there is a logical system there that makes it easy.
#10
Quote by mikerockcity
So youguys who know your scales... know every scale every damn position off the top of your head?


yep..

alan holdsworth has said..(paraphrase) ..it takes about two years to learn a scale..

does he mean just the seven notes? well..no..he means-take the scale and the chords from it (triads and four note chords-and all their inversions) play them on every set of strings in every configuration(close voiced and wide voiced) AND in every key..now use extinsions and altererations of the chords..that is if you have a CMa7 .. now make it a MA9 and do this for all the chords in the scale..and the inversions and in every key..do this with all extensions..9th 11th 13th now .. alter the chords CMA7#11 Dmi7b5 etc - again..in all inversions positions and keys..(the dominant chords take the longest to digest because of all the possible extensions/alterations-G7#5b9 etc--have fun)

so yeah that would take some time to digest and make it usable in practical settings..but holdsworth does some chord things that are unreal..and yeah its off the top of his head..he KNOWS that stuff

ted greene basically teaches this same thing about scales/chords..and yes he knew them ALL..

it took me several years to get all the above ..to me it was well worth the effort..one of the most beneficial things that come from this kind of intense study..you are never lost on the fretboard..there is some form of a chord/scale/arpeggio/lick in any key a few frets from wherever you are
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at May 3, 2015,
#11
^Yep. Fripp has a similar comment, expect to spend a decade on scales.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
Quote by mikerockcity
So youguys who know your scales... know every scale every damn position off the top of your head?


I'm sure I did once upon a time. Back in the distant past of my student years.

Nowadays, I'm familiar enough with sound of most scales that I seldom find them by visualizing the fretboard in terms of positions or patterns. I can usually find the next scale tone - whether moving vertically or horizontally - by ear.

Re: "every damn scale" - I have certain favorites (which can change over time) I tend to lean on more than others. This is true for most of the improvising musicians I know.

The further music school recedes in the rear view mirror, the more you realize which of the things you studied are actually useful (to you) in the real world, and which were merely academic exercises.
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#13
Quote by wolflen
yep..

alan holdsworth has said..(paraphrase) ..it takes about two years to learn a scale..

does he mean just the seven notes? well..no..he means-take the scale and the chords from it (triads and four note chords-and all their inversions) play them on every set of strings in every configuration(close voiced and wide voiced) AND in every key..now use extinsions and altererations of the chords..that is if you have a CMa7 .. now make it a MA9 and do this for all the chords in the scale..and the inversions and in every key..do this with all extensions..9th 11th 13th now .. alter the chords CMA7#11 Dmi7b5 etc - again..in all inversions positions and keys..(the dominant chords take the longest to digest because of all the possible extensions/alterations-G7#5b9 etc--have fun)

so yeah that would take some time to digest and make it usable in practical settings..but holdsworth does some chord things that are unreal..and yeah its off the top of his head..he KNOWS that stuff

ted greene basically teaches this same thing about scales/chords..and yes he knew them ALL..

it took me several years to get all the above ..to me it was well worth the effort..one of the most beneficial things that come from this kind of intense study..you are never lost on the fretboard..there is some form of a chord/scale/arpeggio/lick in any key a few frets from wherever you are



Awesome comparison
#14
Quote by wolflen
in every key..now use extinsions and altererations of the chords..that is if you have a CMa7 .. now make it a MA9 and do this for all the chords in the scale..and the inversions and in every key..do this with all extensions..9th 11th 13th now .. alter the chords CMA7#11 Dmi7b5 etc - again..in all inversions positions and keys..(the dominant chords take the longest to digest because of all the possible extensions/alterations-G7#5b9 etc--have fun)



This is not as bad as it sounds, because once you know all the basic CAGED sort of positions, and which is the 5 and which is the 9 etc in each one, then building these chords is actually pretty easy. You do want to get to know them off by heart, but it's not as bad as it looks, because it's not just random chord shapes, there is a logic to it all, and it is all related.