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What is the 1st Position?

The first position simply refers to musical pieces that are played primarily using the first four frets, so that the index finger is on the first fret. If a musical piece was played primarily within the range of the second fret to the fifth fret, that would be known as the 2nd position. In sum, whichever is the first fret of the musical piece is also the fret that determines what position the piece is in. Typically, a song will have multiple positions, and will involve transitioning from one position to another.

Playing Notes in the First Position

Why is it important to have a basic understanding of positions? Because positions help to determine which finger you should use to play notes and chords in a given musical piece. As a general rule of thumb, the first fret of the position -- so, in other words, the fret that names the position -- should be played by the index finger. It is common for guitarists to employ a "one finger per fret" rule, so that one finger does not do all the playing. For instance, if a musical piece was to call for a note to be played on the second fret and then the third fret, two different fingers would be used; tempting as it may be, a guitarist should not use one finger to play both notes as it will ultimately substantially hinder the guitarist's mobility up and down the fretboard.

As is the case with many aspects of playing guitar, this idea should be regarded primarily as a guideline. From time to time, you will find it necessary to stray from this ideology. Many chords, for instance, will simply not be able to be played unless the "one finger per fret" guideline is ignored. Of course, do so with caution and only when you feel it is necessary, as otherwise you may begin to cultivate habits that can adversely affect your success at playing guitar.

Below you'll find video clips showing notes being played in the first position on each string. Pay careful attention to what fingers are used to play the notes; note that the index finger is not used for notes that are played on the second, third, or fourth frets.

E String

The E string is the first string -- meaning the one closest to the ground.

The E string played open produces the E note.
The E string played on the first fret produces the F note.
The E string played on the third fret produces the G note.

See the video clip below. Be sure to have your speakers turn on, and please allow a few seconds for the video to load.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350">

B String

The B string is the second string -- meaning the one right above the E string.

The B string played open produces the B note.
The B string played on the first fret produces the C note.
The B string played on the third fret produces the D note.

See the video clip below. Be sure to have your speakers turn on, and please allow a few seconds for the video to load.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350">

G String

The G string is the third string -- meaning the one right above the B string.

The G string played open produces the G note.
The G string played on the second fret produces the A note.

See the video clip below. Be sure to have your speakers turn on, and please allow a few seconds for the video to load.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350">

D String

The D string is the fourth string -- meaning the one right above the G string, or the fourth one up from the ground.

The D string played open produces the D note.
The D string played on the second fret produces the E note.
The D string played on the third fret produces the F note.

See the video clip below. Be sure to have your speakers turn on, and please allow a few seconds for the video to load.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350">

A String

The A string is the fifth string -- meaning the second string from the top (or the fifth one from the ground up).

The A string played open produces the A note.
The A string played on the second fret produces the B note.
The A string played on the third fret produces the C note.

See the video clip below. Be sure to have your speakers turn on, and please allow a few seconds for the video to load.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350">

E String

The low E string is the sixth string -- meaning the one furthest from the ground.

The E string played open produces the E note.
The E string played on the first fret produces the F note.
The E string played on the third fret produces the G note.

See the video clip below. Be sure to have your speakers turn on, and please allow a few seconds for the video to load.

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350">

Article originally published on ActoGuitar.com, your free guitar learning and video sharing community.

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 » Review posted by XXXpreetXXX on Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2007 @ 8:05 PM
General thoughts on this lesson:
I think this lesson is very helpful because I'm just a beginner and i learned a
lot from just this lesson itself.

What was the best part about this lesson:
Just the way the strings are explained individually with simple language for a
beginner like myself to understand.

Is there anything you disagree with?
No

Recommended: Yes

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