Rule of Thumb for knowing which Fretboard Position matches the Mode you want to play

 

Judging by my own efforts to learn the five Fretboard Positions, it can take quite a while to get to the point where they are well-memorized. A big help recently came to me that can speed up memorizing the Positions and relating the Modes to them.

For the "Two and Three Notes on a String" Scale Patterns (the CAGED Scale Patterns), recognize how the five fingering sequences always fall in relation to each other on the strings. Also remember that the name of each Fretboard Position matches the name of the string where the brown-red-orange sequence is (the E Position has the brown-red-orange sequence on the high and low E strings, the A Position has the sequence on the A string, etc, but notice that the C Position has it on the B string, so the C Position name is matched to the B string name). Moving across the strings from higher to lower, the five fingering sequences will always fall in place on the strings and repeat as follows:

 

purple-brown-red string

yellow-green-blue string

brown-red-orange string (name of Fretboard Position matches name of string)

blue-purple string

orange-yellow-green string

 

As an example of matching the correct Fretboard Position to a Mode, say that you want to play the B Aeolian Mode with the purple note in the purple-brown-red sequence on the A string. You would go to fret 2 to be at the note B on the A string. Then remember that the purple-brown-red string is always two strings higher than the brown-red-orange string. Going down one string from the A string you will be at the low E string, so to go down one more string, you would wrap around to the high E string and go down one. This brings you to the B string, which is where the brown-red-orange sequence will be played and is the string name that matches the C Position name. Therefore, playing the C Position using the CAGED Scale Patterns with the purple note of the purple-brown-red sequence at fret 2 of the A string will be playing the notes of the B Aeolian Mode.

 

This same idea can be used for the "Three Notes on a String" Scale Patterns. Moving across the strings from higher to lower, the seven fingering sequences will always fall in place on the strings and repeat as follows:

 

yellow-green-blue string

brown-red-orange string

green-blue-purple string

red-orange-yellow string (name of Position matches name of string)

blue-purple-brown string

orange-yellow-green string

purple-brown-red string

 

As an example, say that you again want to play the B Aeolian Mode with the purple note in the  purple-brown-red sequence on the A string, but want to use the "Three Notes on a String" Scale Patterns instead of the CAGED Scale Patterns. You would go to fret 2 to be at the note B on the A string. Then remember that the purple-brown-red string is always three strings lower than the red-orange-yellow string. Going up three strings from the A string, you will be at the B string, which is where the red-orange-yellow sequence will be played and is the string name that matches the C Position. Therefore, playing the C Position using the "Three Notes on a String" Scale Patterns with the purple note of the purple-brown-red sequence at fret 2 of the A string will be playing the notes of the B Aeolian Mode.

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