Unlock The Guitar Fretboard Using Two Simple Shapes

Unlock The Guitar fretboard
Using Two Simple Shapes

If you're an intermediate guitar player, chances are you know the Major and Minor scales, and you might even know a couple of different positions for each of these scales.

Today's lesson is going to revolutionize your guitar playing by:
-Unlocking new areas of the guitar fretboard.
-Giving you new ways of visualizing the scales you already know.
-Allowing you to improvise better, across the fretboard.

We'll be focusing on diatonic scales (scales containing 7 notes), like the Major scale and all of the other modes for now. But the concept I'm sharing with you today can be used on any other scale. 

Let's jumb right in!

Fretboard Domination Shape #1

For simplicity's sake, and in order for you to see the examples on the guitar fretboard, I' m going to stick to the A minor scale standard shape for now.
These positions are essentially composed of the same notes played multiple times in one box shaped area of the guitar fretboard.
This means we are playing 2 different octaves of the same scale (or more) on top of each other in the same area of the fretboard.

But Instead, what we want to do now is play only one octave and be able to play that octave all over the fretboard.
Notice how, this first shape is outlining the scale to the right of the root note.

Check out min @3:13 of the lesson for a quick demonstration.

Fretboard Domination Shape #2

Now we need to find another octave to the left of my root note. So I'm going to play the A note here using the pinky (4th finger) now, and I get this shape.
Notice how I'm playing the same 7 notes but this time from the left side of our root note ''A''. Check out min @3:43 for the demonstration.

We are going to use these two shapes to play all over the fretboard, there will be a few variations here and there (More on that in a few), but essentially it's only 2 shapes.

Moving Those Shapes All Over The Fretboard

Now that we know our two shapes, we're ready to start playing all over the guitar fretboard.

All you need to know is how to find your root note in different areas of the fretboard, and you're good to go.

In case you have no idea how to do that, check out this lesson and learn how to ''Find Any Note On the Guitar Fretboard''

So all you have to do now is play those two shapes all over the fretboard starting from your root note, example here's my shape from the right on the 5th String (A string), fret 12.
Now here's where the variations come in.

IMPORTANT: We need to account for the difference in tuning between the G and B strings. So for the shape from the left on the 5th string (A string), fret 12.

Here' s how it goes:
-I have to move the second A note up a fret.
-I'm no longer playing fret 9.
-I play fret 10 (the A note) instead.

Now If you know your fretboard geometry then this probably makes sense to you, however, if not all you need to do is memorize this shape.
Check out min @5:14 for a more comprehensive tutorial.

All we have to do now is do the same thing for all my other root notes across the entire guitar fretboard, allowing me to take any idea/motif and move if all over the fretboard.

For the A note on the 4th string (D string), fret 7:
-From the right
-From The Left
Same goes for the A note on the 3rd string (G string), fret14:

Playing Any Lick All Over The Fretboard

Now all we Have to do is create a lick, on any of these shapes and transpose them note for note on the other. 

This will allow you to take any idea/motif and replicate it all over the guitar fretboard.

Disclaimer: Do not use any phrasing elements right now, because some will not translate well on different area of the fretboard.
I'm replicating the same lick note for note but on a completely different area of the fretboard, (Fret 12 -> Fret 3) using the root 5 shape from the right and the root 6 shape from the left respectively.

Check out min @8:23 for a more comprehensive tutorial.

You can also use these shapes to solo/improvise essentially flying across the fretboard using these shapes.

Check out min @9:33 for a killer solo over an A minor backing track.
Final words
And that's it for today guys, so remember:
1- Knowing those two simple shapes will allow you to express yourself more freely on guitar.
2- We have a shape from the left and another from the right of every root note.
3-Knowing how to find your root note all over the fretboard will allow you to take any lick to different areas of the fretboard.

As I mentioned we used the A minor standard shape for this lesson. But this concept works on any scale you want!

Try changing keys and/or scales, some examples could be trying this out on the G major scale, C Dorian (if you know your modes) the possibilities are endless.

Want to take your soloing to the next level, want to dominate the guitar fretboard, and get more freedom when improvising?
Then you need to check out our premium guitar training program "guitar elevation'', and unlock your full potential as a guitar player!

Author: Jack Haddad
Jack Haddad is an expert Guitar educator and teacher and has been helping guitarists, through his innovative methods, get incredible results on the guitar, whether they want to jam with friends or rock out on the big stage.

You can find out more about Jack Haddad's teaching here: http://www.jhguitarschool.com
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