Jazz Guitar – Organizing the Finger Board For Scales

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 27,683
    Expert guitarist Dan Leonard breaks down how to organize scales on the fingerboard for jazz guitar.

    Dan Leonard

    Guitarist Dan Leonard has been a full time performer and teacher since 1987. He has taught hundreds of students jazz, blues and rock improvisation; from intermediates to working professionals. Over the years he has distilled his approach into the basis for his forthcoming instructional book “Organizing the fretboard for improvisation”. Dan began his career playing in regional rock bands. After studying classical guitar and composition in college he turned his focus to jazz, which is where it has stayed to this day. He is currently guitarist with Blind Pig recording artist Deanna Bogart as well as leader of The Dan Leonard Trio. His first solo recording “Time Alone” was released in 2000 with the follow-up, “The Middle Path” due out in the fall. His many performances include The Vaison Jazz Festival in France, The Monterey Blues Festival and The Clearwater Jazz Festival.

    Dan Leonard: Hi! I'm Dan Leonard and now we are going to be talking about organizing scales on the fingerboard.

    Im going to start out by laying a little bit of ground work. A really great way to organize things on the neck is around chord forms, and the basic major chord forms that you can base these scales around are an E chord form, this is based off of an open E chord, that's been moved up and barred. A D chord form which is based off of a open D chord that's been moved up and then barred. A C chord form, which once again is a C chord form that's been moved up and barred, an A form and then a G form, which is little bit tricky to play the entire form and a lot of times people will just simplify it to this much which is perfectly fine.

    So, if I play those in, one after the other, you have the E form, the D form, the C form, the A form, and the G form. So, all these I played were with the root of G, by using these different forms I was able to play one in each position of the fingerboard.

    So, now we can use those as landmarks to base scales around. I'm going to demonstrate the major scale around each chord form, a G Major scale.

    And then based around the D form. Now, I'm going to start on the lowest note on the fingerboard in that position that I can. So, it won't be the root of G, I'm starting on A for this finger.

    Then the C chord form, I'll be starting on this note B.

    Then the A chord form starting on D.

    And then the G chord form, I can start on the note E here at the 12th fret.

    So, those are the five fingerings for a major scale based around those five chord forms.