Mapping the fretboard : the six positions of the major scale.
This is my approach on how to systematically map the fretboard starting in the key of C. Basically chords and scales are determined by the relative distances between notes (intervals) so what applies to C major applies to any other key. You can look it this as a mold which can be transposed to any major key.
1. The six positions of the major scale in the key of C:
We'll start with exploring the C major scale because it's the first scale in the circle of fifths and it's easy to think in as there are no flat or sharp notes. Also, most of you will already be familiar with the chords within this key, at least in the first position.
The first step is to master the key of C major over one octave. Be sure to play it back and forth, and if you can "sing" the note names too. (also note the fingerings !)
As you've probably noticed the second and third position use the same patten as the fifth and sixth position, so at this point you only have to memorize four different patterns. Pattern 1 is also written down an octave higher because it can only be played with open strings in the key of C major scale.
2. The key of C over two octaves :
Once you're able to fluently play the key of C over one octave learn to play it over two octaves. Again, play it back and forth and pay attention to the fingerings.
3. Looking for chord tones :
Now that you've mastered the six positions over two octaves it's time to look for chords within each individual pattern. Chords are derived from the scale, assuming you are familiar with the theory behind this let's look for the notes of each chord. Basically your playing arpeggio's here, but these are not the most ideal shapes for smooth arpeggiating.. The aim here is to recognize the chord tones rather than learning arps at his point. We'll get to that later..
The example below only covers the first position, but I encourage you to work through all six positions!
4. The chords within.. :
Finally let's look at the chords derived from the major scale in each of the six positions. Perhaps you'd like to try this on your own first before going through the examples. Take the first position as an example and rely on what you've learned to come up with ways to play the chords within the other positions. Studying like this is much more rewarding than simply copying an exercise without verifying it's content.
5 . Beyond the key of C :
Like I said in the beginning "chords and scales are determined by the relative distances between notes " so what applies to the key of C can be transposed like a mold to any other key.
For example, want to play in the key of E major? Just make sure the root of each of the six patterns is an E and you'll be playing in E major. The pitch is different and as a result the note names are too, but the relative distances remain the same.