Guitar Education - Improvising on Mode Shapes

How to teach myself to know exactly where I am at all times on the neck...I hope...?

I took a guitar lesson with William Z Villian (, if anyone wants a lesson), and my biggest takeaway from the lesson was that I should get comfortable in all scale modes on the guitar.

What this means in English -

For this to make sense, there are a few truths we need to hold -

  • if you play a G major scale on guitar, and then play the exact same frets one fret up, you are now playing a G# scale.
  • Based on the tension of the different strings, you can play the exact same note on different strings, on different frets.
  • A scale is nothing but a collection of notes. Any note in the chromatic scale (aka, all notes) is either in or not in the G Major Scale. Different scales can share notes, but there are no two scales that have the same notes.

With these above truths in mind, I'm trying to up my fluency in playing the same scale anywhere on the guitar. What I expect as a result of this practice is for my fingers to to have a profoundly clearer sense of -

  • Where they are in relation to the scale as a whole.
  • How to get to where they want to go next.

The Practice Routine

With that, I'm using this document as a way to practice. My routine is to listen to songs I enjoy in G Major or Em (the relative minor of G Major) and improvise vertically (as in, not moving my hand up or down the neck), and then incrementally move up frets (up the neck) while maintaining the same scale.