Learning guitar can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many notes and chords to memorize across the fretboard. However, using a technique called “box mapping” can help you better visualize and understand what’s happening on the guitar neck.
In this video, I demonstrate how to map out scale and chord shapes by writing down the fingering, notes, and function/degree within each “box” position. For example, when mapping a G major scale pattern:
- Fingering: Write down the fingers used – 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 etc. This helps with technique.
- Notes: Write the note names – G A B C D E F# G. This helps you know the scale tones.
- Function: Write the scale degrees – Root 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th Root. This shows how the notes relate to the tonic.
The same mapping process can be applied to chord shapes. By labeling the root, 3rd, 5th, 7th etc in a given chord voicing, you understand both the notes and function.
Over time, mapping out common scales, arpeggios, and chords in various areas of the neck trains your brain to visualize these patterns. You develop fretboard knowledge instead of just memorizing mechanical finger movements.
Mapping reinforces the intervals and music theory underlying guitar. It lets you modify chords more easily by knowing where chord tones and extensions are located near a given shape. You gain control and fluidity across the fretboard.
In short, box mapping is an excellent technique for guitarists looking to level up their fretboard mastery. By taking a more analytical approach, you can unlock the guitar neck and boost your skills dramatically. Try applying this to your own practice and watch your guitar knowledge improve.