[1/5] The 5-Lesson Total Guitar Neck Approach

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Hi folks!

Welcome to this 1st post out of 5! We will cover this video lesson in depth.

Following these 5 steps/lessons, you will really understand your guitar neck. You'll be able to play all over the neck:

  • Chords (Major, Minor, Sus, Add, 7, maj7, min7, minmaj7, ...)

  • Scales (Major, Minor, Modes, Harmonic Minor, ...)

  • Arpeggios (Chord notes played seperate)

What we'll do

We are going to take our 5 famous open chords: C, A, G, E and D to divide our guitar neck into 5 positions. And this is how:

It might be hard to see it, but these are our 5 open 'shapes' spread all over the neck.

In the example above we are in the key of D Major because all root notes (1) lie on a D note.

  • The 10th fret on the E string = D

  • The 5th fret on the A string = D

  • The 12th fret on the D string = D

You don't see the open chords in the example above? Let me help you:

Check out our beloved C-Shape:

Now, compare it with this image:

So, actually we just 'shifted' the C chord 2 frets up our fretboard.

If you have some theoretical knowledge you should know that 2 frets equals 1 full note. So adding 1 full note to C we'll become D.

From this point, we'll play all chord notes (1-3-5) in this shape (now in D) up and down the neck (so, starting on the 2nd fret of the E string and further 5 - 1 - 3 - 5 - 1 - 3 - 5 and back down).

Play the notes while listening to a backing track in the same key, you can find one in D Major right here

Now we add notes from our full major scale. (1 2 3 4 5 6 7) from which we are already playing the 1st, 3rd and 5th. We'll start with the 2nd note, so we become 1-2-3-5.

Next up, we remove the 2nd note and we add the 4th: 1-3-4-5

Now we'll remove the 4th and add the 6th: 1-3-5-6

Last but not least, we're adding our 7th (remove the 6th): 1-3-5-7

Let's put it all together now!

Congratulations, you just played the full D Major Scale (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) in the C Shape Position. Go on and make these pretty melodies!

You can play this position in any key by shifting it up your fretboard. The note where you put the '1' on will be the major key you're in.

Let me help you finding the notes:

One last thing I'd like to add:

We only discussed the major key in this post, later on I will cover the minor part.

You can play the shapes/scales/arpeggio's on minor songs/backing tracks. Just keep 1 thing in mind:

Each major key has the same notes as a minor key but 3 frets up.

The key of D (in which we were playing) has the same notes as the key of B minor


  • If you would like to play in the key of A Minor, you will have to add 3 frets = C Major

  • If you would like to play in the key of D Minor, you will have to add 3 frets = F Major

  • If you would like to play in the key of F Minor, you will have to add 3 frets = Ab Major

  • If you would like to play in the key of E Minor, you will have to add 3 frets = G Major

  • ... and so on :-)

Best of luck!


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