i never really bothered learning positions because i always figured they were the same thing as modes. I dont really study modes either because they are pretty simple.

but anyway upon further studying, i have come to ask what are the scale positions?

why does one scale have several positions? I understand a scale can be played many ways, but are these positions concrete rules, or just random variations?

quick or detailed explanation? your choice.
random variations? There's nothing random about scales.

positions are just different places on the fretboard that you can play a particular scale. The nice thing about them is if you learn them you can play in different keys just by shifting your location on the fretboard. the positions all stay the same, just the location changes.
A scale is a collection of notes and a mode is a type of scale. For instance, the A natural minor scale/A Aeolian mode (same thing) is A B C D E F G, played anywhere on the neck. However, positions and patterns are important to guitar since they provide us with an easy way to play a scale in a certain area of the neck.

Modes are ABSOLUTELY NOT the same things as positions. A Aeolian can be played at the 5th fret, or at the first fret, or the seventh fret. The context determines the mode, not the position.

The "learn your theory" link in my sig will explain this stuff in more detail. I suggest reading it, though there are a few errors.
lets say you play an F minor pentatonic: you can play it from the low E 1st fret and play it all w/o moving your hand down the fretboard. You can play it in the same way at 13th fret, thats another position. These two position are the same but for the same scale you have different positions (fingering schemes) on different frets.

edit1:dont be so snobbish with modes and stuff bout theory, its not that simple and its not that obvious since you dont even know what positions are

edit2:my example is a bit messed up cause the two positions i mentioned are really the same one, sorry but that was first thing that came to my mind. However, the explanation in the end is right
Last edited by swinghead at Feb 29, 2008,
This is all stuff i never bothered to learn because it seemed to be common sense.

First off im pretty sure i know what modes are. I havent memorized them because i dont see the need to. I know what they are, but if you have a decent sense of any major and minor scale i dont think you need to memorize modes to be able to play. its the same scale with a different root.

As for positions, thats really all they are? Just playing the same thing in another places?

these seem like two subjects im glad i havent bothered to memorize, because i feel if you have enough common and musical sense, you can accomplish these tasks without racking your brain.
Quote by GoDrex
That's cool man that you can do that. Those of us that can't need to learn positions.

So if I said to you, play in E lydian you'd know the notes all over the fretboard?

if you said play E lydian, i'd probably just play the B major scale with E as the root(i believe). as for all over the fret board i have different ways of getting around.

but honestly when playing music i dont really need to know what E lydian means. I know my major and minor scales(harmonic and melodic minors aside). Modes are just major and minor scales with different roots. Playing something in locrian mode is as simple as starting a major scale with my index instead of middle finger.
i really would like to know a bit more about positions. Anyone got any articles STRICTLY about scale positions?
Quote by Manjinken
i really would like to know a bit more about positions. Anyone got any articles STRICTLY about scale positions?

its just fingering schemes, nothing tricky. you can easily find it on the internet
its actually kind of hard to find GOOD articles on. I guess because they arent THAT important. but i figure i'd check it out, so i was at least familiar with the OFFICIAL positions.
there aren't official postions. There a couple of different ways to do each of them. Some are more horizontal and occasionally use 2 note per string, and some flow in a more vertical direction - using 3 note per string.


scroll past the video - - I'm sure you can figure out the 3 note per string version if you want to based on those.