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Visualizing the Fretboard

Instructors: Tom Quayle, Al Joseph Total lessons in study:
Scales can be intimidating. Improvising with scales can be even more intimidating. That is, until you know how and why they work, which is exactly what you'll learn in this study!

1. Visualizing the Fretboard

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1. Visualizing the Fretboard - Introduction
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
Hi there guys! Welcome to this tutorial on how to Visualize the Fretboard. This tutorial is going to deal with learning major scales and their modes and how to visualize them on the guitar. I'm sure in your time as a guitarist you've come across those books that have diagrams of scales all over the fretboard. You know, th...Read More
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2. Visualizing the Fretboard - Learning the Fingerings
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
We're going to be using 3 fingerings only to learn these scales all over the neck. Fingering number 1 uses our 1st, 2nd and 4th fingers with a gap of 1 fret between each. On the video and in the diagram I use the frets 3, 5 and 7 on the low E string. Fingering number 2 uses the same fingers but now there is no gap between...Read More
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3. Visualizing the Fretboard - Major Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
Okay! Let's put these fingerings to work. We're going to be doing everything in the key of G major for this tutorial but these ideas will transpose into any key you wish. Our first scale is going to be the G Major Scale. In the next few videos we'll be looking at the modes of this scale but this is a good place to start. ...Read More
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4. Visualizing the Fretboard - Dorian Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
So here's our first modal scale - dorian. Dorian is the second mode of the major scale and in the key of G starts on the note A. We'll start our scale on the 5th fret of the low E string. If you look at the diagram below you'll see that the scale starts on the second of our fingering no.3's (yellow dots) followed by three ...Read More
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5. Visualizing the Fretboard - Phrygian Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
Moving on to Phrygian we have a scale starting on the note B. This occurs on the 7th fret of the low E string giving us B Phrygian. Our phrygian scale starts on the second of our fingering no.2's. So we have one fingering no.2, followed by two fingering no.3's and then three fingering no.1's. By knowing that the pattern s...Read More
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6. Visualizing the Fretboard - Lydian Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
So, moving on we have Lydian. In the key of G we have C Lydian so our scale starts on the 8th fret of our low E string. We start the scale with the third of our fingering no. 1's. Because this is the third fingering no.1 it is followed by two fingering no. 2's, then two fingering no.3's and a final fingering no.1 to cover ...Read More
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7. Visualizing the Fretboard - Mixolydian Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
Now we move onto the Mixolydian Scale. In the key of G our Mixolydian Scale starts on the note D at the 10th fret of the low E string. When we apply our fingerings sequence we can see that the scale starts on the first of our fingering no.1's. So, we get three fingering no.1's, followed by two fingering no. 2's, then one f...Read More
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8. Visualizing the Fretboard - Aeolian Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
Here is the idea applied to the Aeolian Scale. In the key of G our Aeolian scale is E Aeolian. This starts at the 12 fret on the low E string with the note A. Now, in terms of our sequence of fingerings, Aeolian starts on the 1st of our fingering no. 3's. So we get two fingering no. 3's, then three fingering no. 1's follow...Read More
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9. Visualizing the Fretboard - Locrian Scale Application
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
So next we'll apply this idea to the Locrian scale. Be sure to look at the diagram below for guidance whilst watching the video. The locrian scale in the key of G starts on the note F# which is up at the 14th fret of our low E string. We start the pattern on the 1st of our fingering no. 2's. So we get two no. 2 fingerings...Read More
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10. Visualizing the Fretboard - Closing Comments
Scales
Any Style
Intermediate
So what have we achieved here? Well, basically we've mapped out the entire key of G Major over the majority of the fretboard using just 3 different fingerings. This gives us a strategy for learning major scales and their modes in all 12 keys which is easily digestible as opposed to those horrible diagrams with dots all ove...Read More

2. Visualizing Modes

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11. Visualizing Modes - Introduction
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Visualizing Modes For The Guitar  Overview Welcome to this month’s tutorial! I want to talk a bit about a method of fretboard visualization that I’ve developed to get me away from using “box patterns” and other fretboard visualization methods, like the “CAGED System” and the repeat...Read More
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12. Visualizing Modes - The Intervallic Approach
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Visualizing Modes  Intervallic Approach [PDF Below] -Arpeggio - 3 Positions So first we map out the three arpeggio positions in “root position” Position 1 – First Finger Position 2 – Second Finger Position 3 – Third or Forth Finger -Chord Scale - 3 Positions Now ...Read More
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13. Visualizing Modes - The Root Connection
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Root Connection Study So here’s the graph! Go through it carefully from the ‘lowest’ point of the neck (3rd position) and work your way up, then down the neck. Remember, this is no way to improvise. This is just to show you how scales in general are connected on the guitar. So take your time and when y...Read More
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14. Visualizing Modes - Visualizing Licks
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
In this video I discuss how to actually visualize the licks on the fretboard.Read More
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15. Visualizing Modes - Learning The Other Modes
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Learning The Other Modes  How The Intervallic Approach is applied to other scales USE YOUR EARS The thing about modes is that you can’t assume you know a mode just because you know how to build one. Quick example: You can’t become a great songwriter just because you’ve learned the key components o...Read More

3. Visualizing Modes Part II

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16. Visualizing Modes Pt. II - Intro
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Breakdown I'm going to use a segment from one of my original tunes called 'Desperate Times'. Here are the chords / modes / intervals: Dm9 / Dorian / 1-9-b3-11-5-13-b7 D7b9 / Mixolydian b9(b13) / 1-b9-3-11-5-b13-b7 Gm7 / Dorian / 1-9-b3-11-5-13-b7 Ebmaj7 / Lydian / 1-2-3-#11-5-13-7 Gmaj7 / Lydian / 1-2-...Read More
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17. Visualizing Modes Pt. II - Root Connection Study
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
The key here is to be able to isolate the sound of the modes in your mind and then connect them throughout a harmonic progression on the fly. Hint: Try isolating each chord via reording software or 'iRehearse' so you can teach your brain how these different modes sound! ;-) Good luck!Read More
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18. Visualizing Modes Pt. II - "Desperate Times" Solo
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Like I said before I could not provide tablature for this. However, learning this solo is not the point. Understanding how I'm stringing my lines together to display the color of the harmony is the thing to learn here. Enjoy!Read More
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19. Visualizing Modes Pt. II - Backing Track
Improvising
Any Style
Intermediate
Here are the chords / modes / intervals: Dm9 / Dorian / 1-9-b3-11-5-13-b7 D7b9 / Mixolydian b9(b13) / 1-b9-3-11-5-b13-b7 Gm7 / Dorian / 1-9-b3-11-5-13-b7 Ebmaj7 / Lydian / 1-2-3-#11-5-13-7 Gmaj7 / Lydian / 1-2-3-#11-5-13-7Read More

4. Visualizing Pentatonics

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20. Visualizing Pentatonics - Introduction
Scales
Fusion
Intermediate
Hi there guys! Welcome to this tutorial on visualizing pentatonic scales for guitar. This tutorial aims to help you break out of the rut that the typical box pattern approach to learning pentatonics can produce. If I were to put money on it, I'd bet that most of you out there know one or two, if not more, pentatonic shape...Read More
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21. Visualizing Pentatonics - Sus Chord Construction
Chords
Fusion
Intermediate
The first thing we have to be able to do in order to use the visualization technique described in this tutorial is understand the concept of a sus4 chord. A sus4 chord is a chord containing a Root, 4th and 5th (R, 4, 5) An example of this would be a Csus4 chord. If we take this chord as constructed from a C major scale (C...Read More
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22. Visualizing Pentatonics - Sus Chord Application
Scales
Fusion
Intermediate
So, how do these sus4 chords relate to our minor pentatonic scale? Well, every minor pentatonic scale contains a couple of sus4 chords which we're going to focus on. Let's take Am pentatonic as our example. This scale contains the notes A, C, D, E and G. From these notes we can construct two sus4 chords a tone apart - Gsus...Read More
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23. Visualizing Pentatonics - Comping - Introduction
Scales
Fusion
One of the best uses I've found for this technique is for comping. In other words, for playing chord based accompaniment or solos over chord changes or a static groove. Normally you'd rarely think of using a pentatonic scale to comp, but in using this sus4 chord visualization approach we can do so with ease. The idea here...Read More
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24. Visualizing Pentatonics - Am Groove Comping
Scales
Fusion
Intermediate
Let's take this comping idea and apply it to a static groove. I know one problem many people have when playing over a static groove is knowing how to create interesting chordal ideas which don't just rely on your stock chord shapes. In the case of this particular groove, the bass player is outlining an A minor feel. This a...Read More
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25. Visualizing Pentatonics - Comping - Giant Leaps
Scales
Fusion
Here's our final comping example using pentatonic scales as our harmonic source. The chord sequence below is from a well known tune by John Coltrane. I'll name this one Giant Leaps! That should give you a clue! Normally when comping on this tune you would play literally the chord written in the chord chart or at least a d...Read More
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26. Visualizing Pentatonics - Comping - Roundup
Scales
Fusion
When you apply these ideas to playing chords, you simply need to follow a few simple rules and everything should fall into place. Most fusion and jazz tunes and even some modern funk songs change key often. The first thing you must do is identify all the key areas and what modulations occur in the piece of music. Once you'...Read More
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27. Visualizing Pentatonics - Line Playing
Scales
Fusion
One of the great things about visualizing the pentatonics is that it allows us to create lines in addition to new comping ideas. Over the next few videos, I'll introduce you to four of the kind of lines I play on a regular basis. All of the phrases are quite technically challenging so practice them slowly, although they'll...Read More
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28. Visualizing Pentatonics - Line No. 1
Scales
Fusion
Now, on to line playing! All of these examples are TABBED for 4ths tuning but the standard tuned versions are at the end of the tutorial. I recommend you print these out for reference as some of the fingerings are different by necessity. The great thing about pentatonic scales is that they don't contain any 'avoid' notes. ...Read More
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29. Visualizing Pentatonics - Line No. 2
Scales
Fusion
Line No. 2 is a descending 16th note triplet phrase utilizing stretched sus4 arpeggios built from our Am pentatonic again. I've incorporated a sneaky Dsus4 arpeggio at the beginning of the line (this works too!) but the rest is built primarily from Gsus4 and Asus4. Standard tuned version at the end of the tutorial. Rememb...Read More
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30. Visualizing Pentatonics - Line No. 3
Scales
Fusion
Here is line no. 3, built exclusively from the Am Pentatonic scale. Again, I've used sus4 shapes and their inversions to create the line beginning with a Gsus4 in the 1st inversion, followed by an Asus4 in the root position. We then have the Gsus4 up an octave connected via a small linear phrase to the Asus4 in the 1st in...Read More
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31. Visualizing Pentatonics - Line No. 4
Scales
Fusion
Crazy!
Here is our final line built from the Am pentatonic scale. This example makes the most blatant use of it as far as the sus4 shapes go. If you analyze the line, you'll see that we're simply playing each inversion of Asus4 and Gsus4 rising up the neck from one end to the other. The key here is to keep all your position shif...Read More
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32. Visualizing Pentatonics - Am Groove Backing Track
Scales
Fusion
Intermediate
Here's the Am groove backing track. Remember that we're using the two sus4 chords built from the root and b7 of the scale, so in this case: Asus4 and Gsus4 from the Am pentatonic scale. Use these two chords in all their inversions for your comping and soloing. I'm sure that in no time you'll find yourself relying less and...Read More
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33. Visualizing Pentatonics - Giant Leaps Backing Track
Scales
Fusion