Lesson # 3 Position Playing on Guitar

If done incorrectly, practicing guitar may cause injuries. It is one’s own responsibility to: See a physician, first and make sure that he/she is fit to play guitar. Always warm up and stretch before playing. Quit playing when he/she feels any muscular discomfort or pain.


Position is a section on a guitar that consists of 6 frets. A position has little over two octaves.
Position playing means playing within this range, only using the frets that are assigned for specific fingers of player’s left hand.

Index finger:
Covers the first two frets of a position (by stretching or sliding).

Middle Finger:
Covers the 3rd fret of a position

Ring Finger:
Covers the 4th fret of a position

Pinky Finger:
Covers the last two frets of a position, 5th and the 6th, by stretching or sliding.

The name of a position comes from the second fret of a 6-fret section, one below the fret that is under our middle finger.

For example, if we’re playing a scale or a melody on 3rd position:

Our middle finger would be playing all the notes that are located on the 4th fret and our ring finger would play all the notes that are located on 5th fret without stretching anywhere.

Our index finger would be placed on 3rd fret and play all the notes that are located there but also stretch to play the notes that happened to be on 2nd fret.
In other words, the 6-fret section of 3rd position actually starts on 2nd fret of the guitar not on the 3rd as the name may be misguiding.

Position playing keeps your fingers organized, especially when you’re studying a new song, trying to learn a solo or improvising. Because the many different possibilities of a fretboard may be troubling at times when you have to act quick and find the best possible way to play a phrase without getting tangled up along the way. It takes a bit of time to get used to it but after that it can surprise by helping you glide from note to note effortlessly.

It’s not the only way to play, though. I certainly shift from position to position at times or use a different fingering in a certain position like sliding my ring finger and letting it do half the work of my pinky.

It’s one of those “learn it and forget about it, let it do its thing when a situation calls for it” kind of tools, I suppose.

Have patience. Give it a try.

Posted in All Posts, Left Hand, Lessons, Music Theory.