Position Playing

for
Guitar
Unlocking the Fingerboard
Peter R. Taschuk
Preface
What’s the definition of counterpoint? Two guitarists playing the same line. An old joke,
but firmly rooted in reality;guitarists just don’t read as well as pianists, saxophonists, or violinists.
There are, of course, good reasons for this. The guitar fingerboard is very complex: it doesn’t have
the visual simplicity of the piano keyboard or the equal intervals between strings of the violin. Also,
the guitar is used in most styles of music, some of which have no tradition of written music.
In the last few years there has been an explosion in the publication of guitar music, in print,
and on the Internet. The non-reading guitarist misses out on a wealth of great stuff in all styles.
Tablature is a poor solution for guitarists who don’t read notation;you don’t really read
tablature – you figure out the music as you go along, usually while listening to the recording. A
particularly bizarre phenomenon is the publication of classical guitar pieces in tablature, for instance
Barrios in tab. A reading guitarist finds it extremely slow and painful to learn a piece from tab.
Most contemporary guitarists have a wide range of musical interests, and accomplished
guitarists are expected to have good overall musical skills: harmonic knowledge, reading and
improvising ability, and hearing skills.
Having said all of this, it’s just a lot of fun to be able to open a fake book or piece of sheet
music, and explore some new sounds, ideas, or styles of music. If done systematically, learning to
read is easy, fun, and exciting.
I’ve been playing and teaching different guitar styles for several decades, and have used a
number of different published methods that introduce students to reading notation. There are
numerous books that teach reading in the first position, but I haven’t been able to find a good
method that takes the student into the higher positions. So, for my own students, and anyone who
wants to explore the exciting and dangerous wilderness of the higher positions, I offer this book.
Peter R. Taschuk, Salt Spring Island BC, September 2004.
Copyright 2004, FirstThought Music. All Rights Reserved. Made in Canada.
ptaschuk@saltspring.com
guitarideas.ca

About the Book
1. This book is intended for the guitarist who knows the notes in the first position,
understands sharps, flats, and key signatures, knows the basic chords, and is able to read simple
rhythms in quarter and eighth notes. Also, the more advanced player will be able to strengthen his
reading skills and fingerboard knowledge using this method. The book starts in the second position,
in the key of C Major. The music is based on five moveable scale patterns, each one defined and
then learned through a series of exercises and pieces.
2. Most of the pieces consist of single-note melodies, bass lines, or accompaniment patterns.
They are therefore perfect for pick-style players, but are also great for classical guitarists, who often
don’t play melodies very convincingly, because they are also required to play accompaniment or
contrapuntal parts. As well, classical guitarists are overly dependent on the Segovia-style scales, and
are not very good at position playing.
3. One guitar sounds great, but two guitars sound even better – all of the music here is
written for two guitars. The student is encouraged to find a good teacher or playing partner, since
the music only comes into complete focus when both parts are played together. It’s so much more
fun to make music with other people, and duo playing is a skill that takes time to develop. Make
sure you learn both parts.
4. All of the music was written specifically for this book – no Twinkle, Twinkle or Aura
Lee. Some of it, though, might sound somewhat familiar. As Stravinsky said: “A good composer
does not imitate: he steals.” Hopefully, the music is fresh and interesting for both student and
teacher.
5. The exercises and pieces represent several different musical styles. Through my career I
have studied and performed a wide variety of music: Classical, Jazz, Rock, Folk, and Latin, and
these influences are reflected in my music, although often not in a very formal way.
6. All of the exercises are short – 4 to 16 bars. The music becomes progressively more
difficult rhythmically, and the key signatures go from C Major up to 4 sharps and to 3 flats. The
pieces are longer and more challenging than the exercises. Fingering indications have been kept to a
minimum, so that the student learns the notes thoroughly, and doesn’t become dependent on
fingerings. There is little text, just music, 63 exercises and 15 pieces.
7. Spend some time every day working on absolute purity of sound – nice tone quality, no
extraneous sounds such as buzzes or clicks, and playing perfectly legato. This is highly technical
work and involves things like finger preparation, coordination between the hands, and an even
attack. Play at an extremely slow tempo, and work on shorter and shorter sections, even as short as
two notes. This kind of work takes great focus or concentration. This book is not a technical
manual, but some of the music has specific technical goals, and takes longer to master.
8. Read all kinds of music. When I was first developing my reading skills, I looked for
clarinet, violin, and saxophone methods in used book stores, garage sales, and flea markets. Some of
these books have duos, exercises, and pieces that sound great on guitar.

3

Part One
C Major Scale
Memorize this scale, and use these fingerings for the following exercises.
Play using single notes, then each note two times.


1


 
1

3

4

Am

1

Exercises

Am

E


 

4

3

4

4

2

1


2

Always play slowly. Strive for rhythmic accuracy -- get in the habit of counting.

2

 


1

4

Am

 
3

 4
 


E

Am



E



Am

It's more fun and more beneficial to play these exercises and pieces with another
guitarist: a friend or your teacher.


3

     

C

3


3

G7


4

  



1

    


C

   

M.  4   5    1 Am 4   1  C5   Am C       2 G     6   4   A5  2  1     1 G5  4  C5   2                               Palm Mute (P. until it becomes automatic.)   7 C F G C 4 4                          2 1 4 2 1 4 3 When you see the chords written above the staff like this. find an accompaniment rhythm that suits the melody. See Appendix 2 for some accompaniment ideas.4  4  1 4   3     1   4 2                                  C Am G7 C The above is a rhythm used very often in rock and pop music. . Practise it with other chord progressions in 4/4 time.

each note 2 times.       1            2  8  2 1 4 4 1    4 2     1    3     1 4 2 1 4 1 2 3   4  4  3 1   4        1 3 1 4 3      4           1         4 3   Work on playing legato: smoothly.  9 3       G7  1 4 F  1 Dm 4 2   4 2 4    10 A5  4    1   Em Dm 3    Dm    1 4 G7  3 C        2 Em 1  4  2 A Minor Pentatonic. with no spaces between notes. Always start and end on the tonic.5 C Scale Here we've added some notes. Follow fingering exactly. or A Rock Scale     1   G5        E5 4 D5 A5      . Play using single notes. and triplets.

If you start on the fifth fret.  After you have it well memorized. memorize. play it starting on different frets. As with all of these scales. and always start and end on the tonic. it will be a D Major Scale. 1      3               11 3    4  1  2  12  4  2   4        2 4 1 3    Am   2  1   4   1 4 Em Dm  3      14 C 4 1    2  Am 3 4 1  2    C 2 3     Dm 1 4   F  4  3  3             13    G      2             1   3 4  1 2 4 1 C   2 1   4   4 3    4    B7 CII 3 Em 1   2    4    G 4 2 1 C 4 2 .Complete C Major Scale 6   2     4  2 1 4  3 1 4 3 1 4 3       1 4 2 1     T This scale is the first of five moveable position scales which you will learn.

2 4    3 1                           Slurs: Hammer-on and pull-off 15 1 4 3 3 4 3 1 4                      4 2 1 1               2  16   3 4 2                         2  3 1  2 3 3 3                      3  3        3       Triplets       3 0 0            1  1  Thirds 1 0 2                       1 4          2  4 1    17 3 1 4       0 4 1 3  3  3        7 .

Taschuk  1 3 4  1          1 2 4 2 4          5  3     3   4  2             3 9 1 4   3     1 4 2 4 4 2 0    2 0 4  1 2      1 4 4 3     4  3  17   1 1 2    1   2 4 1 4   0                  4 1 2 3 4 0         1 3 1 1 4 3   2    2 2                        13                      4 1 3     1   4                    1 2 0     .8 Coastal Canyons P.

2 3 4       3      2  4  1         2 1 4           P. then try it in different positions.    1     2    4 3         1         4   .Part Two 9 G Major Scale    This is the second of the five moveable scale patterns which you will learn. 4   1     4 4 3 1     2 2   1  2   3 4  4 1 2   2 1 4  4    2 1 4  1                     4 1 2 4  1  4  2   4 1 3 4   3 4               Scale in Thirds 18 2 4 4 1 1 3 1 4 3 4 3 2                              4 4                    1 4          19 Do some review every day.M. Memorize it.

repeating slowly until all the notes are clear. Practise each bar separately. 22    2         4        . 2 4     2 4 1 4                           21 0 0 1 4 1 0 3 2 0 4 0 0 2 4     4 2                           0 0 4         1   4 2 4       4             Try this exercise with both Straight-eighth and Swing feels.10 2 4   4 2    20  4    3                                 G  C add9  1 1           4 G D sus     C add9  D sus                       Here's a neat little E Rock (E minor Pentatonic) exercise.

             4 3 23 2 1      Canon            11       1                               3     4    24           2   2   25         2 4        Suspensions                                               1                                      .

12 26  4    2           4 2           3 3                                   4            1  4 1   4 2  3                3 2 3 0                                    27  1 Em      2 3       2  CIII 2    1 1   1   2 2        D 4 G  C      D     1                 4 2            4 4   3  1               Am      28  Em 2  1 C G                 .

al Coda 3   4 1 2 1   1     3 3 2       1   1 2 1 2 0 0  2 D. al Coda                        17                                                         2 0 1 3 1 4 .C.13 Idee Mecanique P.C. Taschuk      4  1              To Coda To Coda 2 4 1 4 1 2 4 2        1 2 1               5  4  3 1                    4 1 2 1 0                                   9             1  3 2 4 4 1 3                   4 3 1  13 D.

14 Part Three C Major Scale   1             1 1 4    29 4 2 1 3 3   1 4 3 1 Here we move up into the fifth position.          2.  4 2                          2 3 p i 2 0 0 3 m a m  1 0 0 1 3 0 0 i  3   1       4 2                           1    2.          3        4   .

1      30  4      3      1     15                        4    3    1 1          2 4 4 2 4 1 1 4 0 0                          Blues in A Minor 4 1 4 1 31       1  4 3 1               Am     3 0   0                 Dm                  Am       Em                        Dm           Am                       .

  3 1 4 2  T 4  4 3 1  4 3 1      2 4          1 1 4 1     4 2 3 4  1 4   3     1  4 2 1 4 1 4      1        32                          3 1                   33  2 0       4     1                     4       4 3 0                    1           Milonga Argentina 2    1     1    3 4 4   3                      .F Major Scale 16 This is the third of the five scale patterns. Memorize! Always start and end on the tonic.

4 1 

 

34


  


 3  1 

3

  

Five-Four Piece

 

17

 4 2  
1

3




  
  
  
4 
 2    2                  
1

0

  



   

  

      

 

  
  
  
                 



   

   

    

4



2

1

4

1

   
4

  


1

3

   

   

2   

   

 






 



   


    



ritard

      

 

   



 

       
      
 

    
      

Chromatic Study

35

 

1

3

0

1


3

           

 
2

0

1

0

18

A Southern Sketch
P. Taschuk

 
4 1




5



3
3 4   1 

   

   4 



2

   
               
4

2

3

    
To Coda

2

  

   

2

1

2

3

1

    

To Coda


9


                              

 

13



1

4 3 



  
 


2



 

2




15

4

 

    

CII



 


4

 




   

       


 
 




 

1








 
 

 




      

1       

 1

  1

4

  

D.S. al Coda
4

D.S. al Coda

 
2








CV
 3





19

A Northern Notion
P. Taschuk

CIII  


   
  

      

2

3

  

  
5
      

  

  

9
      

 

   

13

1

 

     

          

 


 


      

 
  

   

 

  

 
 

  

  


1

   
  
2.
17
  


2.

       

  
  

 

 
 

 

 



Taschuk   CIII 3     1 2 4    4           3       3        2 4   7         4  1 3       4 1    4    1                            2 1 4 2 2   1                  1  2 2. 2  3                  1 3 2. 1           1 2        2 4  2 3 4      2      CIII     4 1   3            11    1  4  3            .20 Stainless P.

          1   2 3  1     ...4  4 3    4 2                               V 4 15    19      4 1   2 21 1 ritard                                              a tempo    23                                  27                                        ritard e decrescendo.

22 Part Four D Major Scale   This is the fourth of our five major scale patterns.always start and end on the tonic. Memorize.      1 2 4 1 4 1 3 1 4   4 3 1 3 1                36 3      2 1    T  1 4 3 4 2  4 1          3   2 1 4   4         2 1           4 1 3                                              1 0 1 2 1 4 1 3 4 3 CII 3 4                           2  5 4   4 2 1       4 2  Tango       37  4     1 3                 3 1                     4     1     3 4 2 3      3      3 2         .

   1 2  4        38            4 23 1 2   3                                    3 1 4 3  1               2 1       0 0                                    2 4   1 4 2       3     39             4     4 1 4   1      3   CII 2 2  0 0 0                 2     CII           1 3 1 2 4     3     3 2 4   1 1            13  2                   2 3 .

C Major Scale 24  1   4         3 1         3  41  1 4  1  4  2  1  Swing   4 1   4 2 2 1  1                      1  1 4 Choro        3                           3                 4  1 4      4 3      2     4      2   4 1 4 3  1  1  2   2  40     3   4 4 3 1 4 This is the fifth and last of our major scale patterns            4 2 1 2 4                   4 3 1    1    3               .

M.        D5        C5      A5 G5                                                           C5 D5 4 1                  3 1 2 E5                                   43  4    4  3 1 4      2 3     1  3 3 A5             3 1 4      3 1        1    3 3 3 3 3  3 3 3  3     3   2 1   2 4 1 1  3 4 3              3 3 4 3  3     3 .25  3     4  42  3 1  A5     3 1 G5 1      A5 C5   3                                        1 P.

26 Rhythm in D P.                   4 3                   1  1                 . Taschuk  1    Swing  5 9             11 4    2   4 3 1 4                     1           1        1      2.   2.

15          19              4 1       2    4     4       3              4  1 4                    3  4  1 3 1 4 4                   23            27     1 2 1 3         .

Taschuk       5   9 4 1      2 0      0       1 2    1                              0 0                                  3 1 3 3 3 1  1 1   3 3 1    1                1     1             1 3 3 1           1 1    1 3 1 2                                        13   1    1 1    4 4      1 2 2  .28 The Minimum P.

M.                         21                                                     3 3 3     3 3   Nat.                    17          29                               P. 3 3       3                                25 3 3 3 3 3 3 3                        3 3 3 3 29 3  3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3                       3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 .

30 Part Five Bb Major Scale    This is the same scale fingering as the C major on Page 24.   3      1 4  4            44 4     2 3 1    2  4                 2   CVI 3 45   1   4 3      2  2      1 4 2                         3 3   3      1  0    1 4 CIII        43      3 3  1     4 1 4    1 4    1       3           3 4 3 1     4 1 CV3  2          1 1 4 2 1  3 1       4 1   3    4 3        1 3  2   1 4 1 4   CI 3 3                          .

   4     47         3 4   1            3  1 2     1  2            4 1 4 4       G Blues Scale 3              1   3  4  1        3 1 0   1                                 1      1  1 4    1     3  2 1 1 3 4           2    4 3 1  4 2 1  31 3 3 . 2     1   46             1 4     P.M.

            49  4  2     2  4 1                                                .32 G Major Scale     4 3 1 4     This is the same scale fingerng as the F Major on Page 16     1 4 3 1 2       4 1 1 2  T 4 1 4 3      3 1   2 4 1 2  4   1   3  4                       48          4  3 1 4        1   4 2 1         3 1  4    4               4 3     4 2         1 4 2 1        4 3  1     4 2 1          1     4    2     4    1        1                 3       3 2 2  P.M.

33 The Lake P. Taschuk 3 4 3      Quite Slowly 1    5         1 9 4  2      2 0 1 2  17    1 1   1  2 3      1  1  0  0     4 2 1  3 1 2 0 1  2 0  1 0      2 1 1 1 0 1      3 3 1 3     3  3  3 0 0 1 1 2  3  2  4 0    3  3  2  3   3 2 3   3      4 3   2 2 2 1 0 0 2 0         3   3 3 1 3 3 1 1 13        0     2    2         3 3 3 3  1 3 2 1  1 2        4 1 1        1  3 2 3       1      3  1  3 1 1 2  0 1       3  2 1 1  3 2          2  2 3 0  2 1 1  3 1 1 0   1 3 1   1 3  2 1     0 1      .

Taschuk         2 1                                              1 3 5        9   4 4                       4             4                                  3    3         4            4 4                       13                             .34 A Trip to the Interior P.

4 3  1  1      17                       35                     a tempo                       26        ritard... 1 21                                      .

Taschuk   1 2 1 2   Swing  5     4   D7 C ma7      4  F m7b5    2   1 A m7    3  4   1 1 2 1   B7  13      2 2 4 D7    2 F m7b5  4 1 3           2                     1 A m7 1 Em       9 4  2  1 2 1            1 G ma7 4  3 1   1  3   4 G ma7  2  4 B7 C ma7     Em  E7             17  1  4 1  2 3   3  2        4 3  3 4 1         A m7     D7 G ma7             C ma7        .36 Winter Comes P.

                 F m7b5     B7 Em                    25   A m7     21 D7                E7     B m7    37         E7                3  4 1 4 1                   29   A m7  D7         33    A m7                   D7 G ma7 C ma7       B7  E7     B7      F m7b5      37 G ma7         Em        .

38 Part Six Eb Major Scale This is the same scale fingering as the D Major on Page 22    2 1 4 3 1 T  2 1  4    1 3          1 4 3 4 2 1    4   1 4 2      CIII 3 2                      50     4 3 1 1  4    2   4  4 3 1 4 1 3  1  3 1  3 1  4       3                       3                      1 4 2 1       3        51              3       4 4 3 1       1 1  Isomelody     4 3     4   2           1              3              1 .

  4 1 2 1       52   4        1 3        2 4 2  4     1 2     2                3      3   4 4   4                         39                        1 3    1      2 2 1 4                      3               53   4     2 1 4 3 1 4          3 1 4 1 3                                                            .

40 F Major Scale    4 4 1  2    This is the same scale fingering as the previous Eb Major Scale 3 4 1       3 3 1 4      T   2 1 4    54 4 2 1 3  2 1 4           1 4 2 1    4 3 3 3   1   3      1   3 3   3   3 4   2 1 1  1 4 3         3                       3 3    55  2 1 3 1  4       2   1        1   4   2 4  Isorhythm  3 1 2     4  4          1  3    4 4  3    3             1    .

4 1                56 4   4 2 3  3          1      2   1      2        3  2      4       41                                     3 4 1 3 1 4 4     4 3 1 2 4                                         2     3    57 1 4        1                    A Spanish Idea      1 4                              4 2 2                            .

42 Into the Mist P. Taschuk                         Slowly CIII 3  1        5                                          9                  4 4 2 2                        13       4 3 1                                          1   3 1         .

   17   4    2   1 4 3 4 2 1      2         3     3 2   2    3  4    1    43                          21                                      25                               29        repeat and fade...                  .

Taschuk                         CV 3   5  1 3            4                                  9  1   3                                                    13                          1   3     2 4                     .44 The Stream P.

          17                                                     29                                25                      21                               ritard..      45 ..

M.   4 1 4     2 1 4 1 4 3 1  4 4 4                                      59     3 4         1                     2        3 1 4                              .46 Part Seven A Major Scale      4 1   4      3 58               3    4 CII 3 1  3  4 1  1  1 4 3 4  4 3     2    3 4     3     3 1       2 1               4 P.

.     4  2   1  60 4   1 2  1                   3             1                       Second guitar repeats this pattern throughout     47          1 4  3 2                                                                           CII 3   1    3   2  .       0      0  1  0                                1    3        4  4                                       0 0      4  0 0 0 ..

48   E Major Scale  0 3 4 1              62 0 4 2 1             4     2 1   2     3 1 3              1 3 1 4 1      1            3                             3  4 1        0    4 2 1 3 3 3 4 1 4  3   1   1      4     1 2 4         4             1 3 3  3 2 1  4          4 3  1 3      61             1 4      4 3 3  1      3                        4 3       1 4    .

Zamba      4  3  1 4 3 1 3              4          63       1  4 2           2  1   3 4      3  4                2                          4 1 2  2                                49                                                                                                    .

Taschuk                                 5        1  3           0         9     3                                                           13     3                                                 17    3                                                  .50 So Sue Me P.

51            21                                 2 0 4 3            25 4  3 2     3          2    1 3 4 2 1 4                   3   33                               1 29  1      4                                                                                .

Taschuk      4     2      1        3  2      1 3 4                                                          6                                  10                                2                                14 3 2      4 1                               4 2 1 3                                 18                                                           .52 Shufflin' the Deck P.

53                            22                                      26                 3                                                             34                                             30 3                                         .

and play music in those keys. Always play rhythmically. of course. tone color. the principles of chord consruction and progression. Above all. and the cycle of fifths. rubato. starting with major and minor thirds. .54 Part Eight The Seventh Position C Major Scale   4        2 1 4 2 1  3  4 1   3 4 4 2 1 2    Play some of the earlier exercises and pieces in C Major using this fingering. articulation.     G Major Scale     1  2 4 1 3     3 4 1 T  3 4 1   1   2 1 4     2 4    Play exercises and pieces in G Major using this fingering. and how the phrases relate to each other. figure out the scales in other keys in this position. You should know the basic chords in the most common keys. and try to develop flexibility in your thinking and playing. Play musically! Develop your expressive skills. Observe where each phrase begins and ends. Even technical exercises can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. through articulation and emphasis. have fun. Next. The developing guitarist should continually be studying all aspects of music. looking for ways to make the meter clear. examine the melody. analyzing its intervallic structure and rhythm. approach all music openly and with a sense of humor. Learn the intervals and be able to recognize them. The point of this. When you are working on a piece. vibrato.dynamics. is to make the phrases clear to yourself and the listener.

Sor 2 1  4 4          3 1         2 4 1 4 2          4  4 2                  5                 1            2 4 1 2 1              4 9 2 3       4   1        13   17   1  2 4  1    3                        4 2 1  4     2 4            3 1                                    2 1  4  4    2    1         4 4 1  21           3  4        1 4                2 2 4 4    3                          1       .55 Fernando Taschuk .

Taschuk         4 2 4  1   m     9   13   i p p 5 3                  4           1           4 2 1      p 1       p       m  4  2               2             2                  1   4   2                   2       3 1                          .56 No More Blues P.

.17   21                                              4                 ritard.       4     57                ..

58 Appendix One The Five Scale Patterns    1 2 5   2 4 3 1 4 4 2 1 4 4 4 T 2 5 3 1         3 1 1 3 4 2 5 4 1 2 5 4 4 3 3 3 5 4 6 4 T 3     1   2 1 3  1 2 5 4  2 3     4 1 2 4 T 5 2 3 4 3 5   5 3  5 4    2 4 5 2 3 5 4 1 2 3 5 2 3 1  3 4 1 3 3 5 6 3 5 3 1  4   3 5  2 4    2 1 Scale Pattern 5 1 4 5 5 5 2  3 4 3 1 4 4 2 2 Scale Pattern 4 2 1     5 4 1 5 4 3 2    2 5 2 1 5 4 3  4  2 5  2 1      2 2 3 1 2 2 Scale Pattern 3  T  5     1 3  2 2 Scale Pattern 2 2  4 4 2         4 1 4 1   3   4 T  4 1 3  Scale Pattern 1 3 6 3 5 4 6    .

59 Appendix Two Accompaniment Patterns             Strummed Patterns                                                                       Fingerpicking Patterns                              m  p p     i  m      p    p  .

CD Contents 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Exercise 1 Exercise 11 Exercise 16 Coastal Canyons Exercise 25 Exercise 26 Idee Mecanique Exercise 29 Exercise 30 Exercise 33 Exercise 34 Southern Sketch A Northern Notion Exercise 38 Exercise 39 Exercise 41 Rhythm in D The Minimum Exercise 46 Exercise 49 The Lake A Trip to the Interior Winter Comes Exercise 51 Exercise 52 Exercise 55 Exercise 56 Into the Mist The Stream Exercise 60 Exercise 62 Exercise 63 So Sue Me Shufflin’the Deck Fernando No More Blues Many of the tracks are embellished with sections of improvisation. and some have extra repeats. .