The Whole Guitar Neck™

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This section of the site contains guitar neck diagrams of various scales and modes. These are simply familiar neck diagrams, like the one to the left, with the main unique purpose being that they show the scale degrees (a trade mark of Steven Coco: see Terms).

  • All of these diagrams are available in both left-handed and right-handed versions.
  • If you want to make your own diagrams, I am trying to make the software used to make these diagrams available up here; but it is not very slick.
Real quick: These diagrams are essentially based in what most people consider position-playing; and 7 playing positions — 7 patterns or "shapes" — are represented. When playing, I don't ever restrict my thinking to one position; and nothing on this site is about playing styles, or expanding beyond simply learning the neck. I was taught this way from the beginning; however, I do feel the positions give you an anchor from where you can see all the relative notes from your current position — including notes in other positions up or down the neck — so, they are a good tool to use for learning the neck.

I call the patterns or shapes "positions" since the purpose is to observe that when you're playing (even just for a couple of notes) in some key or mode, wherever your hand is, it is there is some position, and all 6 other positions are connected to you up and down the neck. So even though you may change positions, or change modes, when you're there looking for notes, you want to be able to know what's on the neck quickly. In my numbering system, the given position is numbered based on the lowest scale degree on the low string; and so there are 7 positions for most 7-tone scales (such as Diatonic).

If you are new to position playing, here is a very brief explanation:

Playing in position is simply where the fretting hand does not move up or down the neck. Positions are identified by the fret on which the first finger plays. Strictly speaking, a position covers four adjacent frets — one for each finger — but you may stretch with either the first or fourth finger to reach another fret; but the fretting hand doesn't move out of position.

All these positional fingerings are movable up and down the neck.

There is a full page of diagrams for most scales; and this will include a full 12-fret diagram for each of the seven modes; and also a group of diagrams for each of the seven playing positions. Within each position, each of the seven modes is given. (You can notice that the difference between the diagrams in a given position is in the scale tone numbering: In other words, each position is always the same "shape" on the neck for any mode, but the scale degrees are different for each mode.) These diagrams allow reinforcement of the various modes and/or corresponding chords in each position. And they can help you learn the neck. The markers on the diagrams show the scale degrees for the given mode.

There is also a diagram for each position, without numbers, to reinforce the "shape" formed by each position.

The full scale is shown on the diagrams, but the chord based around the given mode is outlined — indicated above the diagram. The root is hilighted, and the 3, 5, and 7 are contrasted against the remaining tones. Notice that the tones are diatonic to the given scale or mode; and so the extensions may not be ones that are preferred for the given chord.