View Full Version : Position Playing & chords

12-19-2004, 07:13 AM
Hi everyone. My inquiry is in regards to sight reading using positions on the neck. I've been learning from the Berklee Press book A Modern Guitar Method vol.1. I'm pretty satisfied with the results, and it is so relieving to be able to read melodies half decently. My question is this: how important is it to learn the higher positions (III and above) on the neck? I mean is it practical to be able to read music that is on position XII? I've only learned C, F, Bb, and G on positions 1 and 2 right now.

Also, when looking at a piece of music, is there any way of telling which position I should use if it does not indicate? Or is it about personal preference/comfortability and what register the notes are in generally?

Lastly, when reading chords (vertical notes, not chord charts) what is the most efficient way to become competant in this? It really slows me down to be playing and then have to hesitate to see what notes are in the chord and which position to play it at.

If you guys have any feedback on this, I'd appreciate it!


12-19-2004, 07:33 AM
I think it's good to learn up to the 10th position, or higher. Certain pieces are easier up there! Plus it is really good for learning the fretboard. I went through the whole cycle just because it seemed like the right thing to do... ;)

For telling which position to use, it's basically experience.

Reading chords takes a great deal of practice. You might want to create some focus-type exercises to learn them... Make some flashcards or whatever works for you.

Los Boleros
12-19-2004, 04:52 PM
When I was taking lessons as a kid, my teacher had me take a popular song and write out all the chord inversions two ways:
using the notes of the melody as the highest notes for when I wanted to play the song all by myself.
using the notes just below the melody as the highest notes for when I was providing the rhythm for someone else to play or sing the melody.

What he taught me is that your ear hears and remembers the highest notes therefore it was his interpretation that the melody should always be placed on top. As with all rules, we are free to break them but it is a good idea to have these ideas in the back of our heads and apply them at will.

12-19-2004, 09:18 PM
Well eventually you want to be able to read without thinking of positions and seemlessly shift between them so that the fretboard just becomes a collection of notes, not positions.

This is obviously done by learning all the positions. What I did when I was learning was write out a random set of numbers that would equal the positions, say: 2, 4, 1, 12, 8, 5, etc...and shift positions for every line of music. That way it forces you to be able to think of different areas without missing a beat.

I have found that once I learned where everything was I naturally gravitated towards in and around the 8th position because you could get the high E rather easily but also drop all the was down to the low A or G without much difficulty.

Also helps to learn all your melodies in 2 different octaves to practice the high notes.