Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 49 of 49
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi,

    Not sure if this is the appropriate forum; please redirect me if not. And apologies in advance for the very basic question!

    Having just picked up the guitar again after several abortive attempts over the years, I got hold of a copy of Jane Miller’s ‘Introduction to Jazz Guitar’, and have run into a problem.

    At some point over the years, I got a couple of major scale fingerings into my head, one of which is the pattern shown as ‘form 2’ at this link, starting with 1st finger on the 6th string:

    Guitarist Ted Vieira - Free Online Lesson 2

    This involves shifting up a position at the B string, and I do it pretty much without thinking now.

    Chapter 1 of Miller’s book lays out seven major scale fingerings, using the principle of anchoring fingers 2 and 3, and stretching 1 and 4 as required. So her version of Vieira’s form 2 involves several 2-fret stretches between fingers 3 and 4. I can see the logic of that, but find it pretty uncomfortable. Is it worth the discomfort for the sake of knowing exactly where you are on the neck? Or some other advantage I haven’t appreciated yet?

    thanks,
    TimH

    (edited to include pic of the Miller fingerings):

    Very basic major scale question-img_2545-jpg
    Last edited by timh; 03-13-2019 at 11:06 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I doubt just playing a major scale is worth any discomfort at all. To quote good ol' Joe Pass: 'If it's difficult, don't play it'.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    discomfort as in difficult, or discomfort as in pain?
    White belt
    My Youtube

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Doing finger stretches with your 1st and 4th fingers so that you can stay in position while playing major scales is the same approach that William Leavitt teaches in his method books and is a valid one.

    The discomfort you feel will eventually go away as you develop more reach ability.

    You will find the same discomfort happens with certain chord formations that involve more of a reach. After you work with them for a while they aren't uncomfortable to play anymore.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    Learn To Play Authentic Jazz Guitar

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    discomfort as in difficult, or discomfort as in pain?
    Just awkward - though maybe ask me again in a couple of weeks

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Herron View Post
    Doing finger stretches with your 1st and 4th fingers so that you can stay in position while playing major scales is the same approach that William Leavitt teaches in his method books and is a valid one.
    I see Jane Miller is a Berklee person, so I guess that makes sense.

    The discomfort you feel will eventually go away as you develop more reach ability.

    You will find the same discomfort happens with certain chord formations that involve more of a reach. After you work with them for a while they aren't uncomfortable to play anymore.
    Thanks Steven - I'll persist with it for now. It strikes me that it may also be designed to let you play other scales/modes with minimal changes of hand position(?).

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I doubt just playing a major scale is worth any discomfort at all. To quote good ol' Joe Pass: 'If it's difficult, don't play it'.

    I love this quote, but for beginners I think it's hard to use it because everything will be difficult.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Aside from stretches and what not, there are a few 'systems' for playing major scale fingerings. In the end I think a goal should be, that the shapes start turning into a single bigger picture across the neck.

    I have some friends that use the Berkley system, which works great for them.

    I use a 5 shape system-CAGED shapes. I believe Howard Roberts taught these. They're in tons of books and online. Martino used these shapes and tons of players. Sometimes they're called Old school shapes or closed grip. It isn't that there aren't any stretches-you can easily reach to the next note or shape. I'm not sure, but I bet Joe Pass used these shapes.

    I also use a set of 3 note per string shapes that have lots of stretches and shifts. I used these a lot in my rock playing but I use them in my jazz playing as well.

    I never like scale systems that been a few of the 3 note per string shapes and a few of the CAGED shapes. I like to have the full set of each, and that's what I teach. I mainly operate from the CAGED shapes though. ymmv

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    The 3nps shapes are more useful in rock and particularly shred guitar.

    I find the caged shapes better for jazz guitar.

    Ted Viera's shapes are confusing for a newb. I'd use traditional caged shapes or standard 3nps shapes.

    Very basic major scale question-b1c0c67462e38646aeb704431c6e9085-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images Very basic major scale question-3npsg-jpg 
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I think an important thing to keep in mind is you don't have to choose only one way to finger a scale. But you also have to decide how much time and effort you want to put into fingering scales.

    I originally learned major scales as 7 positions with finger stretches, and I'm glad I learned it that way. Not avoiding those stretches gave me the ability to play in strict position, adopt CAGED fingerings or adopt 3NPS fingerings with little effort. It also provided the basis for how I move up and down the strings with overlapping 6-note groups.

    There are way more guitar players in the world that avoid those stretches and do just fine, though.

    .
    The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time - Frank Zappa

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I absolutely agree.
    Easier to outline the harmony with CAGED shapes(the same shapes in the beginning of Linear Expressions). I use pentatonic boxes as well and they fit together like a glove.

    There are certain times I like to reach for 3np shapes.
    Certain runs occasionally (way more my rock days). And I like them for quartal stuff too.

    Stuff like this is kind of a personal thing for guitar players so I never like to step on anyones toes, I just know what works best for me.

    I like having full sets of each system and always steered clear of systems that had 2 or 3 of one and 2 or 3 of the other because like having them both worked out across the whole fretboard. I phrase different in each type of shape.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    The 3nps shapes are more useful in rock and particularly shred guitar.

    I find the caged shapes better for jazz guitar.

    Ted Viera's shapes are confusing for a newb. I'd use traditional caged shapes or standard 3nps shapes.

    Very basic major scale question-b1c0c67462e38646aeb704431c6e9085-jpg

  13. #12
    Learning scale patterns from the lowest to highest strings is an important step in organizing the fretboard. I've also found that working 'low to high' on the other axis, by playing up and down an individual string, yields a lot of benefit. Figuring out how to navigate the 'one string guitar', shifts? slides? stretches? can answer a lot of questions you might have about playing in position.

    Check out some videos of jazz guitarists you admire. How do they get around the neck? Can you imagine how they did (or didn't) practice scales to get to that point?

    When you're working on a major scale pattern, can you pick out simple major scale melodies? (Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, etc.) Could some patterns be good for playing fast up and down a scale, and other patterns be better for playing melodically?

    Best wishes for your music,

    PK

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I would advocate "CAGED Plus", which is just what it sounds like. That is, CAGED plus a few of Leavitt's "stretch" fingerings, namely:

    Leavitt Types 1, 1A, 1B, and 4.

    Furthermore, I would generally advise using the 4 Leavitt fingerings in higher positions as opposed to lower ones.

    Some considerations - if you have a long scale guitar (25.5") like a L5, Super 400, Strat, Tele, etc., the stretch fingerings in lower positions are completely unnecessary at best and injurious at worst. Some of the drills that Berklee teachers like Leavitt have stressed involve playing 12 keys in one position down low (2nd or 3rd position). These can injure your hands if you overdo them. You can avoid those drills, the the jazz guitar police won't come to arrest you.

    On the other hand, in the higher positions of the fret board the CAGED fingering shifts can be unnecessary and even disadvantageous.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    On a basic level, spider exercise for increased dexterity.

  16. #15
    I personally don't like the scale fingerings in post 1 at all. I would recommend NOT using them , unless you are a personal student of the person who posted them or something. At a certain level, it could be beneficial to do thing's your teachers way , only for the sake of learning it their way, but I'm talking about sitting down with them on a regular basis, not just reading something off the Internet.

    There are basically three very popular systems for organizing scale fingerings on the fretboard . Others are more marginal or less used , but the 3 most popular are:
    1. Traditional CAGED fingerings, with shifts to avoid stretching,
    2. Stretch fingerings like William Leavitt layed out in his books, to avoid shifting positions mid pattern and finally
    3. Three-notes-per-string fingerings , which are somewhat a category of their own.

    The fingerings in post one basically combine category one and two in a seemingly arbitrary way. I would avoid these like the plague unless I took personal private lessons with the author and had that very specific reason for adhering to this very peculiar fingering pattern. It comes across as being entirely arbitrary , and I think it's confusing.

    it basically accents the disadvantages of both scale types without any stated advantage. The whole point of stretch fingerings is to avoid shifts, and the whole point of shift fingerings is to avoid stretches . Why would you want to include both of the drawback aspects of both systems? Learn caged or learn the Leavitt fingerings.

    If you want one scale fingering per scale degree utilizing the basic stretch fingering approach, try this.
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Yeah.
    I've attached a couple of pdf's which are more complete. Check out these threads and reg's youtube channel as well. I mostly use reg's fingerings for everything right now, but I'm still learning. He's not dogmatic about that stuff. They're a "starting reference". Once you know one way, you can play things however, but most of us don't learn one way well.

    A lot of people push back on the idea of some of these stretches, as if they aren't practical or something. I certainly did and wasted several years not getting started on this stuff as a result. After some work, I've found that basically my brain much prefers things which make more logical layout sense to ease-of-play and comfort only. You compromise some things, the more shifts you include in your default beginning scale fingerings. Neither way is necessarily right or wrong. You give up things on either side. That has nothing to do with slurs in playing btw. Separate issue...

    Make sure you pay attention to his technique comments here:

    Incidentally I have pretty small hands. You just have to be safe and do things the right way.

    This thread has become a repository for all things reg:
    Reg's Thread... live at the speed of Jazz

    This one is pretty important as well:
    Techniques for Picking and Fingerings... basics and on to the speed of Jazz

    I've also attached some random personal notes on Reg stuff...
    This utilizes the principles of this fingering system without compromising with shifts etc. CAGED works as well and is more widely known. Eventually you probably want to know both but some fringe, outlier isn't going to help as a starting point. Your initial post isn't so much the result of your inability to UNDERSTAND the author's system. It's more the result of your coming to terms with the fact that it's CONFUSING in the first place.

  17. #16
    Many thanks for all the responses - what a helpful bunch of people

    I'll respond further as soon as I get my head round all the suggestions... and, as I should have done in the first place, I've now added a pic of the Miller fingerings to my original post.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    The 4 finger 4 fret/CAGED shapes are great for outlining harmony IMHO.

    And I've played 3 NPS all over the neck for over 30 years and never had any hand problem and I have small hands and use mostly 25.5" scale guitars.

    But still, figure out what works best for you.
    Last edited by DS71; 03-13-2019 at 01:22 PM.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    I don't like those types of shapes

  20. #19
    Okay. So the Miller fingerings are stretch fingerings which do adhere to those principles pretty strictly. They are distinctive and that they prioritize fourth finger stretches rather than first finger stretches.

    There is probably a more consensus view for using FIRST finger stretches to avoid fourth finger stretches , but people do it different ways. You'll notice, by the way, that Reg's fingerings which I linked are the same as Miller's basically, except they use first finger stretches instead of fourth finger. They also all begin and end on the second finger (except for one), the way Reg lays things out.

    William Leavitt is considered the guru of stretch fingerings methodology and organization basically, and he also defers to first finger stretches versus fourth finger stretches. His section on the evolution of scale fingerings through the cycle of fifths is really helpful in understanding how these are organized. First finger stretch fingerings can be understood to be at one end of the cycle, while fourth finger stretch patterns are the other end.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Yeah I think any stretching is be avoided in single note playing. It’s unnecessary.

    That said learning to reach back a fret from a position is not a technique I often hear discussed. But it’s often much more effective than students get stuck in too low a position and having to stretch up the neck.

    Furthermore that 3nps thing is a good way of optimising scales so they can be picked quickly, but we basically aren’t interested in blazing up and down scales that much.

    I prefer shapes that are small and easy to use, generally starting on finger 2 or 4 and can be linked together via shifting.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I'm studying scales splited in octaves and then trying to connect and visualize them connected to the chords shapes. I have no idea if this is the best way because I didn't try a lot of diferents ways, but this is working for now.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    That's what I said certain times with the 3npc.
    You can still add chromaticism. but the CAGED shapes are my go to, especially when I'm trying to outline the chords with my lines.

    Jens Larsen uses 3nps though, for jazz. To each their own. Works great for him.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by clebergf View Post
    I'm studying scales splited in octaves and then trying to connect and visualize them connected to the chords shapes. I have no idea if this is the best way because I didn't try a lot of diferents ways, but this is working for now.
    This is the way I'm doing things now. I've gone through the CAGED and 3nps thing at certain points, and found both problematic.

    I got into it because I realised using whole scale positions is ungainly in jazz. This realisation only popped up a couple of years ago. There's a Barry Harris exercise where you play through the progression of a tune running scales.

    I found very rapidly that I couldn't do this. So I relearned scales in smaller shapes, and now it's not a problem.

    I honestly feel smaller shapes are much more practical for jazz lines. The advantage is, if you want something a bit bigger, glueing the smaller shapes together is nice and easy.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Hi Christian, I realise this might be a hassle so no probs if it is, but do you have a diagram of your shapes, cheers, Simon

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Okay. So the Miller fingerings are stretch fingerings which do adhere to those principles pretty strictly. They are distinctive and that they prioritize fourth finger stretches rather than first finger stretches.

    There is probably a more consensus view for using FIRST finger stretches to avoid fourth finger stretches , but people do it different ways. You'll notice, by the way, that Reg's fingerings which I linked are the same as Miller's basically, except they use first finger stretches instead of fourth finger. They also all begin and end on the second finger (except for one), the way Reg lays things out.

    William Leavitt is considered the guru of stretch fingerings methodology and organization basically, and he also defers to first finger stretches versus fourth finger stretches. His section on the evolution of scale fingerings through the cycle of fifths is really helpful in understanding how these are organized. First finger stretch fingerings can be understood to be at one end of the cycle, while fourth finger stretch patterns are the other end.


    Miller's shapes are exactly seven of the Leavitt fingerings. The fingerings she uses are based on how the major chord sits within the shape. It's CAGED done one better in my opinion.



    ||---|-R-|---|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|-5-|---|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-R-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-5-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|-R-|---|---|---|---|---|-



    ||---|-R-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-5-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|-0-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|-0-|-R-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-0-|---|-5-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-R-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-




    There's no need to move your hand down to start the scale off the middle finger. The 4th finger stretches due to how fingers 2 and 3 are dictated by the chord.

    If you look at her pattern #4, the index finger stretches for the same reason:


    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|---|---|-3-|---|-
    ||---|---|---|---|---|-R-|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-R-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-


    ||---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-0-|---|-3-|---|-
    ||---|---|-0-|---|-0-|-R-|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|---|-0-|-R-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-


    It's extremely logical and well thought out.

    .
    The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time - Frank Zappa

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jockster View Post
    Hi Christian, I realise this might be a hassle so no probs if it is, but do you have a diagram of your shapes, cheers, Simon
    Well in the lessons I get the students to work them out for themselves. Sticks better that way.

    So we start with the major scale, and an octave shape, for instance:

    x 3 x 5 x x

    So the student then works out the C major scale octave to octave until they find a fingering that sits under the hand. Usually I encourage them to try a few different fingerings

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Many thanks, much appreciated Christian

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    This is the way I'm doing things now. I've gone through the CAGED and 3nps thing at certain points, and found both problematic.

    I got into it because I realised using whole scale positions is ungainly in jazz. This realisation only popped up a couple of years ago. There's a Barry Harris exercise where you play through the progression of a tune running scales.

    I found very rapidly that I couldn't do this. So I relearned scales in smaller shapes, and now it's not a problem.

    I honestly feel smaller shapes are much more practical for jazz lines. The advantage is, if you want something a bit bigger, glueing the smaller shapes together is nice and easy.
    It's good to know that you tried some different approaches and that this is working for you too.
    I get this from Frank Vignola, in some lessons he teaches the scale in this way.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Mecha N View Post
    Are there 5 major scales or 7?
    One major scale, a multitude of scale fingerings.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Are there 5 major scales or 7?
    One major scale, a multitude of scale fingerings.
    Mecha N,

    To play a major or minor 2nd from most guitar locations there are 2 viable fingering options for each interval except
    when we are too low or high on the neck. Christian's exercise is an excellent way to understand this.
    Identify octaves and between them identify as many pathways as you can. Memorize the one(s) that feel best.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Mecha N View Post
    Are there 5 major scales or 7?
    Many players use mostly 5 fingering patterns for major, based around the 5 "open" major chord shapes. Other plasters use 7 patterns, one per scale degree.

  33. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by FwLineberry View Post
    Miller's shapes are exactly seven of the Leavitt fingerings. The fingerings she uses are based on how the major chord sits within the shape. It's CAGED done one better in my opinion.



    ||---|-R-|---|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|-5-|---|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-R-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-5-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|-R-|---|---|---|---|---|-



    ||---|-R-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-5-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|-0-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|-0-|-R-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-0-|---|-5-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-R-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-




    There's no need to move your hand down to start the scale off the middle finger. The 4th finger stretches due to how fingers 2 and 3 are dictated by the chord.

    If you look at her pattern #4, the index finger stretches for the same reason:


    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|---|---|-3-|---|-
    ||---|---|---|---|---|-R-|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|---|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-R-|---|---|---|-
    ||---|---|---|---|---|---|---|-


    ||---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|---|---|-0-|---|-3-|---|-
    ||---|---|-0-|---|-0-|-R-|---|-
    ||---|---|-3-|-0-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|---|-0-|-R-|---|-0-|---|-
    ||---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-0-|---|-


    It's extremely logical and well thought out.

    .
    I'm trying to follow this. Is there a book or website?

    Some patterns have a first finger reference and others a second finger reference. So, 1st finger stretch for some, 4th finger for others. I know it's based on chords somehow, but you have multiple fingers in the same frets in a lot of them?

    The result is that many patterns which are only one note different have completely unrelated fingerings like one and four. I think it would be more beneficial to lean more towards fourth finger stretches or first finger stretches completely. Ritchie Zellon does fourth finger stretches . Reg and William Levitt do first finger stretches.

    First finger stretches are argued by William Levaitt to be easier on the hands, with a dominant finger etc, but beyond that consideration, the fingerings with first finger stretches lineup the most nearly to the CAGED fingerings and chords which most are already familiar with.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing details on this.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I'm trying to follow this. Is there a book or website?

    Some patterns have a first finger reference and others a second finger reference. So, 1st finger stretch for some, 4th finger for others. I know it's based on chords somehow, but you have multiple fingers in the same frets in a lot of them?

    The result is that many patterns which are only one note different have completely unrelated fingerings like one and four. I think it would be more beneficial to lean more towards fourth finger stretches or first finger stretches completely. Ritchie Zellon does fourth finger stretches . Reg and William Levitt do first finger stretches.

    First finger stretches are argued by William Levaitt to be easier on the hands, with a dominant finger etc, but beyond that consideration, the fingerings with first finger stretches lineup the most nearly to the CAGED fingerings and chords which most are already familiar with.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing details on this.
    Yes there is a book, page 4.

    The 7 fingerings that Miller includes on that page are the following Leavitt fingerings, from 1 to 7:

    4C, 4A, 3, 1, 4B, 4, 2.

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Yes there is a book, page 4.

    The 7 fingerings that Miller includes on that page are the following Leavitt fingerings, from 1 to 7:

    4C, 4A, 3, 1, 4B, 4, 2.
    Ok. That makes more sense written out. I wasn't seeing it right and was thinking of 1 as being 1A I guess. So, my mistake.

    They basically all at least cycle together in a logical way.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I'm trying to follow this. Is there a book or website?

    Some patterns have a first finger reference and others a second finger reference. So, 1st finger stretch for some, 4th finger for others. I know it's based on chords somehow, but you have multiple fingers in the same frets in a lot of them?

    The result is that many patterns which are only one note different have completely unrelated fingerings like one and four. I think it would be more beneficial to lean more towards fourth finger stretches or first finger stretches completely. Ritchie Zellon does fourth finger stretches . Reg and William Levitt do first finger stretches.

    First finger stretches are argued by William Levaitt to be easier on the hands, with a dominant finger etc, but beyond that consideration, the fingerings with first finger stretches lineup the most nearly to the CAGED fingerings and chords which most are already familiar with.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing details on this.

    I haven't actually looked at Miller's book, so I'm making an assumption about her reasons for showing those fingerings based on my own use of the same fingerings for playing and teaching. I originally learned those fingerings decades ago from a book titled 'Styles for the Studio' by Leon White. I have no idea where he got them. I assume he may have been a Berklee grad. He has a website, but his bio doesn't give much info (Bio - Leon White). There's this old post on this very forum where he says he worked the fingerings out for himself for the purpose of easier sight reading (LINK).

    It has only been recently that I see these fingerings attributed to Leavitt. There must be a current crop of guitar players online who have either gone to Berklee or worked through the 'Modern Method books'. When I first got online, nobody was talking about seven patterns at all. Everything was CAGED. Before that point, I had never even heard of CAGED but had figured out associating scale shapes with common chord shapes on my own with the addition of two shapes with the root under the middle finger.

    In Whites book the shapes were labeled after the finger playing the root note and the string the root is on.

    1-E, 1-D, 4-A, 2-A, 1-A, 4-E, 2-E correspond to Miller's diagrams 1-7.


    Comparing these fingerings to the common CAGED fingerings actually shows that the CAGED fingerings don't line up well with chords that have the root under the first finger (E A and D shapes). In those cases you move the hand down a fret to play the scale starting with the 2nd finger. With the fingerings shown in Miller's book the scale is right there off the index finger without moving your hand. The fingering from the 2nd finger is still there it just fits a chord with the root also under the second finger.

    This all seems like a bunch of nothing as soon as you stop playing in scale patterns and start moving around the fingerboard playing ideas and lines.

    To Leavitt's point about first finger stretches being easier, the real benefit to Miller's fingerings is that you don't avoid stretching the 4th finger. If you want to play like Joe Pass of Jimmy Bruno, forget finger stretches. If you want to play like Allan Holdworth or Frank Gambale on the other hand, best not to avoid stretches.

    .
    The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time - Frank Zappa

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Jane Miller's book was my introduction to jazz guitar. I found some of those shapes challenging, but they are helpful for exercises later in the book. Stretching opens up the fretboard.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by FwLineberry View Post

    It has only been recently that I see these fingerings attributed to Leavitt. There must be a current crop of guitar players online who have either gone to Berklee or worked through the 'Modern Method books'. When I first got online, nobody was talking about seven patterns at all.

    .
    Current crop? 7 fingerings?

    Well;
    • I guess "current" is relative, Leavitt taught at Berklee from '65 to '90.
    • And it's 12 fingerings, not 7.


    Leavitt's three volumes were published in '66, '68, and '71.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    The part I'd question is the notion of anchoring any fingers.

    I think it may be better to move your left hand up and down the neck - just a little bit - to make the stretches a little easier.

    Moving along the length of the neck can be done very fast - and I'm not talking about a whole lot of movement.

  40. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by FwLineberry View Post
    I haven't actually looked at Miller's book, so I'm making an assumption about her reasons for showing those fingerings based on my own use of the same fingerings for playing and teaching. I originally learned those fingerings decades ago from a book titled 'Styles for the Studio' by Leon White. I have no idea where he got them. I assume he may have been a Berklee grad. He has a website, but his bio doesn't give much info (Bio - Leon White). There's this old post on this very forum where he says he worked the fingerings out for himself for the purpose of easier sight reading (LINK).

    It has only been recently that I see these fingerings attributed to Leavitt. There must be a current crop of guitar players online who have either gone to Berklee or worked through the 'Modern Method books'. When I first got online, nobody was talking about seven patterns at all. Everything was CAGED. Before that point, I had never even heard of CAGED but had figured out associating scale shapes with common chord shapes on my own with the addition of two shapes with the root under the middle finger.

    In Whites book the shapes were labeled after the finger playing the root note and the string the root is on.

    1-E, 1-D, 4-A, 2-A, 1-A, 4-E, 2-E correspond to Miller's diagrams 1-7.


    Comparing these fingerings to the common CAGED fingerings actually shows that the CAGED fingerings don't line up well with chords that have the root under the first finger (E A and D shapes). In those cases you move the hand down a fret to play the scale starting with the 2nd finger. With the fingerings shown in Miller's book the scale is right there off the index finger without moving your hand. The fingering from the 2nd finger is still there it just fits a chord with the root also under the second finger.

    This all seems like a bunch of nothing as soon as you stop playing in scale patterns and start moving around the fingerboard playing ideas and lines.

    To Leavitt's point about first finger stretches being easier, the real benefit to Miller's fingerings is that you don't avoid stretching the 4th finger. If you want to play like Joe Pass of Jimmy Bruno, forget finger stretches. If you want to play like Allan Holdworth or Frank Gambale on the other hand, best not to avoid stretches.

    .
    Leavitt did a pretty great job of codifying some of this stuff and giving it a name. So, a lot of people talk about "Leavitt's fingerings" as a way of describing things, whether the player or teacher who's using them learned them from him or not.

    So when jazzstudent listed them by their "Leavitt names", I immediately understood that they all cycle together consecutively. His description of the evolution of scale fingerings through the cycle of 5ths is very helpful. If you played the Miller fingerings in single position, while changing one accidental to cycle down a 5th for each new iteration, you'd end up with an order of 4C,4B,4A,4,3,2,1 I think. I'd have to look back.

    Reg's would be 4,3,2,1,1A,1B,1C. So, his cycle farther forward, and Miller's cycle back more. Combine them and expand to 1D and 4D, and you end up with 12 fingerings. Each cycle ends one fret away from the beginning of the next cycle at the beginning of the pattern. The CAGED analogues would be 4,3,2,1,1A. So that's the main area of overlap between all. Caged fingerings cycle in a similar way.

    None of this is hugely important or anything, but I find it interesting and helpful for a way of organizing how people are approaching things.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    The part I'd question is the notion of anchoring any fingers.

    I think it may be better to move your left hand up and down the neck - just a little bit - to make the stretches a little easier.

    Moving along the length of the neck can be done very fast - and I'm not talking about a whole lot of movement.
    Yep, it's the strict anchoring part that can be a bit tough on the hand tendons.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    The part I'd question is the notion of anchoring any fingers.

    I think it may be better to move your left hand up and down the neck - just a little bit - to make the stretches a little easier.

    Moving along the length of the neck can be done very fast - and I'm not talking about a whole lot of movement.

    I think you're getting the wrong impression. The idea of anchoring fingers 2 and 3 doesn't mean you can't ever shift the hand. It's based on the fact that those two fingers lack the mobility that the 1st and 4th finger have, so they only cover notes on one fret apiece while the 1st and 4th move between two frets as needed. It's more like those two fingers are the point of reference for the hand position. There's nothing dictating that you can't shift to another position or move the hand to cover a difficult stretch. I always taught students to stretch as far as comfortable then move the hand if you need to. that way you minimize the hand movement.

    This only applies to playing in a position. As soon as you start shifting positions and combining positions it's a different situation.

    .
    The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time - Frank Zappa

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Ha, I'm exactly opposite. Anyway I'll put that Rosenwinkel quote out again, which sums up my attitude towards single note scale positions, and he's better than me innit:

    "At a certain point in my life when I was really practicing all the time and really shredding a lot to get to the next level, my elbow started to have some pain. It forced me to take a real hard look at the mechanics of my playing and identify reasons why I was doing something wrong. It’s simply a symptom of doing something wrong.

    It turned out to be a good thing, because I realized if you are playing single lines, you never have to stretch your fingers. So I developed a technique for myself where you can play all up and down the neck without having to stretch out your fingers the way guitarists do. One thing I do know is if you are experiencing any pain in your hands, you should never play through the pain because that could cause some serious damage."

    I've injured myself stretching (poor posture) and while good posture is certainly possible, there's a lot of pitfalls. In terms of hand health I advocate the idea that is better to shift than stretch.

    Most of my favourite players are rampant shifters.

    Which is not say there isn't benefit to playing in position, but position playing is like a phase you go through. Eventually the whole neck should be one long position.

  44. #43
    Reg has a video where he talks about "the angle" and playing these "stretch" fingerings. It's more of a violin type approach and not so much stretching perpendicular . The perpendicular stretch thing can be dangerous, and I don't think it's really sustainable.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Reg has a video where he talks about "the angle" and playing these "stretch" fingerings. It's more of a violin type approach and not so much stretching perpendicular . The perpendicular stretch thing can be dangerous, and I don't think it's really sustainable.
    Yep. I made the violin point in the three fingers thread but I think it got submerged.

    Mikes Okazaki has this to say about the third finger stretch:

    "...And the third finger easily spans four frets when the hand is angled towards the guitar’s body. This approach is clear in the video footage that we do have of Wes Montgomery and George Benson, who modeled their styles after Christian. I once had the pleasure of sitting with George Benson in his house and listening to this very solo on the record player, while he pointed out his favorite lines."

    Now Reg is more legit most the the time but when you stretch back with the first finger the effect is to put the hand in that more pronated position.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    If I'm using CAGED shapes, I can do most anything without stretching. That's my basic mode of operation. But If I choose to play 3nps I can as well. I could do a whole solo and never extend my hand.
    Last edited by DS71; 03-18-2019 at 11:53 PM.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    Which is not say there isn't benefit to playing in position, but position playing is like a phase you go through. Eventually the whole neck should be one long position.

    That's been my point, as well. Position playing is like a gear you can shift into and out of at will. How you chose to handle a position only matters in regard to what you're trying to play in that position. Once you no longer desire to play in position, it's a different matter. People get hung up on these patterns and how you're "supposed' to finger them when that might be 10% of what you'll be doing with the notes of a scale.

    I'm glad I learned finger stretches and I use the ability all the time, but if not stretching serves what you want to play there's no need to stretch.
    The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time - Frank Zappa

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Yeah it's weird, I kind of feel I learned to stretch so as not to, if that makes any sense.

    Obviously you need to stretch for chords.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    I learned 3nps as a teenager, when the stretching didn't bother me. I think that probably contributed to the habit of not moving my hand up or down the neck.

    Now, with arthritis, the stretching does bother me and I've had to adjust my technique. Moving the hand to facilitate a 5 fret span is part of that.

    But, the ability to play a two octave scale in one position doesn't come up any more. I can't say how much it helped me get to this point. But, if I had it to do over again, I'd probably do it differently.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I learned 3nps as a teenager, when the stretching didn't bother me. I think that probably contributed to the habit of not moving my hand up or down the neck.

    Now, with arthritis, the stretching does bother me and I've had to adjust my technique. Moving the hand to facilitate a 5 fret span is part of that.

    But, the ability to play a two octave scale in one position doesn't come up any more. I can't say how much it helped me get to this point. But, if I had it to do over again, I'd probably do it differently.

    If I had it to do all over again I'd avoid patterns as much as possible and spend a lot more time working up and down the strings.

    .
    The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time - Frank Zappa