This is a public version of the members-only Jazz Improv Guitar with Chuck Loeb, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Jazz Improv Guitar with Chuck Loeb.
Join Now

30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Jazz Guitar Lessons: The Basic Position Concept: The 6 Positions

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +




Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Jazz Guitar

This video lesson is available only to members of
Jazz Improv Guitar with Chuck Loeb.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Jazz Improv Guitar with Chuck Loeb. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Jazz Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
So we're gonna, we're gonna look
now at the basic six positions of,
of the major scale very much derived
from my experience at Berkeley,
it's the method that they teach there.
Maybe it's slightly different take on
it twist on it, that I, that I do in,
in a couple of the positions.
The concept is that there
are four fingers for four frets.
Which you would, in certain positions
be fine with just the four fingers and
4 frets, and each finger being assigned
the notes that occur on that fret.
So, you have,
I'm gonna do it in this position where
my first finger is on the 4th fret.
2nd on the 5th.
3rd on the 6th.
And the pinky on the 7th fret.
That's where,
that's what we're gonna work on.
Of course you're gonna play it
all across the guitar eventually.
Now the concept again of each
finger having a fret is great,
unless of course you need to go
outside position so when we do that
in fact the very first position you'll
see does go outside of position.
If the note that you need to go outside
of the position is in this direction,
going up the neck that way, you would
use your first finger and stretch back.
If the note you need is in this direction
on the neck, you use your pinky.
So, you will sometimes have a stretch
between your first and second fingers and
between your,
your fourth finger and your pinky.
So, third finger, sorry.
Let's take a look at this first
position so you understand
the concept of the 4 frets and the stretch
because it includes both things.
So, as I said we're gonna have
the first finger on the 4th fret,
second finger on the 5th, 6th, and
7th, but the first note of this very
first scale, it's gonna be a G major
scale, actually is outside of position.
It's back here.
So I stretch back with my
first finger to get it.
Okay, so here's my position.
I stretch back for the G.
Right away I go back to position.
Then I go to the second
note in the G scale, an A.
Then I stay in position for the next note.
Then, I have to stretch, again,
for the 4th degree of the scale.
Back to that C, which is 1 fret back,
on the 3rd fret.
So stretch, position, position, stretch.
Back in position for the next two notes,
the 5th and the 6th.
And then I stay in position all the way
down to the till I get to the last note.
So all those notes.
5, 6, 7, the repeated ones,
this is a two octave key position.
Each of them are like that.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
And to get that last note I
have to stretch back again.
I'm gonna
Now I'm gonna do it one more
time just a hair faster.
And I'm gonna try to point out
where the stretches are as I go.
So first note, stretch back.
Back to position.
Stretch back for the 4th note.
Back to position.
I stay in position for this entire range,
all the way up to the 7th
degree of the scale.
And stretch back for the last note.
Back in position to go down.
Stretch back for
the 4th.
And stretch back for the root.
That's position one.
Okay now let's look at position two
in our sixth position endeavor.
We're going to start this
one with the second finger.
I don't like to show you
that finger by itself.
It's this one right here.
You know why I don't do that.
Anyway we are going to start in this,
with the A,
the same position I was in before for
the first position.
So fourth, fifth, sixth, and
seventh frets covered by the four fingers.
This one starts with the second finger.
And actually no notes go out
of position on this one.
And I think this one,
I think many people know this scale the
best of any of them so it's, we're gonna
do it in the key of A because that's where
it lands in this particular position.
All right?
So it starting on the A on the sixth
And then it just goes straight up
in position.
And then I'm gonna descend on that one.
Now a couple of
points I wanna make,
generally, about these,
these scales.
When I practice these scales, I try to
always do down up, down up picking, so
I just wanted to point that out, because
we're concentrating here on the left hand,
but we should also always be conscious
of what we're doing with our right hand.
I'll talk about later, about using
positions to, to not do alternate picking,
but for this particular moment
let's stick with down up, down up.
Let's do that one more time, slowly.
So, the,
the good thing to,
to be aware of here too,
one other concept is these are patterns,
it's a pattern whole step,
whole step, half step,
whole step, whole step,
whole step, half step.
And these patterns on the guitar
start to burn into your memory or
your muscle memory and your fingers.
So be aware of the patterns that
you're doing cuz they occur all across
the guitar.
So that was position number two.
Okay, let's roll into
position number three.
We're in the same spot on
the neck first the four fingers
are starting on the fourth fret going up
to the seventh, each one getting a fret.
This one starts on the fourth finger, the
pinkie, and it does contain one stretch.
However, in this case,
the stretch is gonna up.
So when we get to
the seventh degree [SOUND].
So it's the key of B that we're talking
about cuz I'm starting on the seventh
fret, the B on the low,
on the low E string.
You'll see that the seventh degree is e,
either there
or there.
You know that's, I'll count it up for you.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Now, if I go like this, if I try to
stretch back with my first finger,
this is why I use the pinkie
I'd have to play the same
note with one finger.
That gets a little dicey
when you speed things up
You can do it, but
it's a little bit like skating,
whereas if you do it with your pinkie
it just falls right in line.
And you, and you're playing, you're going
between your third and your fourth finger.
So, we're gonna use
the pinkie to stretch up.
Now let's do this real slow
starting on B, in position
And then you stay in position
the whole rest of the way.
One more time.
And descend.
And that's position number three.
As I explained before, the,
the position, the six positions.
One thing I didn't mention is that
three of the positions
begin on the sixth string.
And the other three begin
on the fifth string.
So now we're gonna jump into the, the
fifth string area of this same exercise.
And because of the nature of the guitar,
we're gonna have the same problem or
for the first position as we did on
the sixth string, on the fifth string.
Meaning, we,re gonna have to stretch
back to the very first note.
So, here we are in our fourth
fret position with each,
fret extending up to the seventh fret,
and the, it's gonna be a C scale.
So to access the C, the C on the the fifth
string, we have to reach back for the C.
Right, so we go out of position for
the very first note.
Then also for the fourth degree,
just like on the other
scale of the first finger.
Then back in position.
Now this is where I think
my position theory, or
concept varies a little bit from
Berkeley if I remember right.
This is the only of the six positions
where I advocate a shift in positions.
I'm gonna shift one fret up
in the middle of this scale.
I'll, and it happens right there.
Right when you get to the,
well to the second degree of the second
I switch over to this position where it
starts on the fifth fret,
sixth, seventh, and eighth.
So I'm adding one fret up.
This is so that I can complete
a two octave range in this scale.
It's a very comfortable scale to play,
I love this scale
and then I shifted back.
Shift back.
I'm gonna do it slowly now.
But I wanted you to see that in action so
you know what I mean.
It's a very a smooth scale, and
it, it takes it in a, a very,
has a nice arc to it for me.
So, stretch back for the one.
To back in position.
Stretch back for the fourth.
Back in position.
Stay in position.
So I go from my finger up to the
fifth fret.
And I stay in that position
until the end of the scale.
Shift back to the pinky.
Stretch back for the 4th.
Back position.
Stretch back for the 1 again.
Now let me 0 in on that shift
because it's a really cool one.
Because when you're improvising later.
These little shifts are going to come in
handy, we're going to get into it in gre,
great detail later on.
when I get to the seventh degree here
where the next note would have to be
kind of not in the scale,
I shift over my first finger so
that I cross over to a new position.
Now I'm in this position.
Instead of that.
I go
first finger and
than I stay in that position.
So let's go through the scale
slowly one more time
Stretch, position, position, stretch,
position, position,
position, stay in, shift.
And then I'm in position
the whole rest of the way.
I get the full two
octaves by doing that shift.
One of the things I like about this, and
and this is an exercise that I'm going to
get into again in detail later, is just,
there's 3 notes on each string.
in triplets it would be
It's kind of cool.
And what we'll get into later but
I'll give you a little preview now is that
you can use that very effectively for
when you want to sweep up a major scale.
Just attacking each string once.
Anyway, a little preview.
That is our fourth position.
Hello and welcome to
the new TV show, Position Five.
This the 5th position
of the the major scale.
We're gonna go back to
no shifts in this one.
There is a stretch.
There are two stretches in it.
And it's got another thing that's
interesting about it, which I'll explain.
But what we're doing is, we're back in
the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th fret zone.
And we're gonna start on D,
on our second finger.
Just like we started on
the second finger on the A,
now we're doing it on the D
here on the 5th string.
So, it's gonna be the D major scale, and
we're gonna stay in position
almost the whole way up.
Now I have to stretch back for
the 4th degree on the, on the E string.
And then since I'm not doing a shift,
I run out of notes.
I can't make the whole two octaves.
What to do, what to do, what to do?
I know.
Well, I can make up
the notes that I'm missing.
So that it's a two octave scale, by this.
I can descend when I get down to
the bottom.
So, it's still covering
two octaves in total,
plus there's actually
a couple of extra notes.
I'm gonna do that slowly.
There's two stretches.
Stretch back, turn around
on the 6th, stretch back.
Now I'm gonna descend,
stretch back for the 4th degree,
and come back and land on one.
Show that one more time.
[SOUND] All of this is in position.
Stretch for the 4th.
Dip it back down from the 6th,
stretch to the 4th.
back to the 4th.
And re-descend,
re-ascend back up to the root.
I'll just do it fast one last time.
Signing off
from position five.
The Basic Position Concept: Position 6.
Okay, now let's look at our, sixth, and
last of the, major scale positions.
This one is another one,
that does not go out of position at all.
It's a very comfortable scale to play.
The one caveat about this one,
is that it does, run out of notes.
Can't do a full two octaves, going up.
So, I will descend, from the lowest note,
on the way back down.
So, that I can get a whole,
full two octaves to, you know, combined.
All right, so, we're gonna start,
with the pinky,
the fourth finger on the seventh fret.
So, that's an E.
it's gonna be an E major scale, and
it's gonna go straight up in position.
Now, right there,
you can't go any further without
jumping out of the position.
So, we're gonna turn back down,
and come down.
And then, you saw,
you see that I continued
down below the root.
All the way down to the third,
on the sixth string.
Still everything in position.
So, let's do that again.
Go back to lower.
And, one more time, slowly.