Decoding neck patterns is a challenge. One factor that makes string instruments in general difficult is that we can find multiple locations to play one note. And once we consider a phrase with several notes, we find a lot of possibilities emerge. Although this presents many challenges, it has it’s benefits. We can choose to slur or articulate based on where we choose to play notes. Crossing over between strings, staying on the same strings, picking or not picking a note for example. So we may actually want to think of our phrasing and choose our fret locations accordingly. The guitar specific challenge is that we don’t have a consistent tuning system. The tuning for many string instruments is in perfect fourths or fifths between all strings. Standard tuning on guitar includes perfect fourths and one major third (ascending). This major third causes a kind of disturbance in the patterns we learn. Fortunately, this tuning system is great for playing chords. You may notice that many chord voicings on the low four strings are difficult to play while voicings on the first four strings are comfortable. The major third interval between the third and second strings, really helps. So what’s the problem? The biggest issue with the guitar tuning is playing single note melody lines. It takes a lot of familiarity to become comfortable with the layout and to intuitively play melodies and improvisation. This is because we need to alter any interval that passes between the lower four strings and the upper two by one fret. My suggestion is to become familiar with octave shapes. The shapes that are within a hand position fall into one of two families. I call them the forward shapes and the backward shapes. The forward shape: higher note located on the bridge side relative to the lower note. The backward shape: higher note located on the head side relative to the lower note. Work on these shapes around the neck. There are seven total. Try to run triads and scales through them. Once you see how they lay out, our next challenge is to internalize them. Familiarity over time will make it happen.