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  1. #1

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    I've had a really hard time finding material about fingerings of the three octave scales,so I'm asking you some suggestions.
    I have looked at this site Guitar Master Advanced 3 octave method: Hanon for guitar in 3 octaves for better speed, agility & skill and I asked them several times for some sample pages,but they did not reply and,because of the high prices, I didn't want to risk.
    I read in the introduction of the third volume of Modern Method for guitar that 3-octave scale would have been covered in a later volume,but unfortunately it was not published.Any Berklee students that have come across non published Leavitt material?
    Finally I have looked at Aids to technique by Johnny Smith.Again,there's no sample pages and also I do not agree with what Djangobooks is doing,because(correct me if I'm wrong) it's not right to sell books that they did not write or publish because most of them should be of public domain by now( like this ). For you to know you can find the Eddie Lang books and the George Van Eps method online for free,but I'm not linking them because I want to be sure not to infringe forum rules.
    Last edited by Alessandro1; 10-19-2015 at 07:04 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Well sometimes you just have to buy a book.

    Anyway, they teach them at Berklee. They use a variety of approaches.

    One of them is "mirror fingering" or "constant fingering". It makes use of stretch fingerings. The player uses a certain number of notes on one string and a certain number of notes on the adjacent string, then moves to the next set of strings.

    The alternative is to use a Segovia type approach. You simply map out what is logical and facilitated by reasonable, controllable shifts - and - you don't use stretch fingerings.

    You can design both types for every scale and mode.

    I much prefer the Segovia approach, although it's more difficult to memorize all the different forms. The constant fingering approach is more friendly for memorization, but I think the fingerings stink.

    Your mileage may vary.

  4. #3

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    I don't know what is in the guitar book beyond the 26 Hanon exercises, but the original note sequences were designed to emphasize certain finger combinations within the reality of a piano hand position.
    There are 40 scale patterns in the original Hanon before the book moves on to other technical piano concerns.
    Applied to guitar, one would have to design symmetrical fingerings to achieve a somewhat similar effect.

    Ex. 1 (2 options)

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------3--5--7--5--3--------------------5--7--9--7--5------------------------------------------------
    --3--7-------------------shift 7----5--8-------------------shift--7---------------------------------------


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------------2----------------------------------4--------------------------------------------------------
    ------2--3--5----5--3--2---------------3--5--7-----7---5---3--------------------------------------------
    --3--------------------------shift---5-----------------------------shift--7---------------------------------

    2 suggestions:

    Play the patterns within the confines of the 2 octave fingerings that you know.

    Design your own symmetrical fingerings.
    Finger each 8 note sequence within one position.
    The shift will generally occur on either the 1st of each group or the last.
    Post your solutions here for feedback.

  5. #4

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    I don't think about it too much any more but I was just using them for a warm up ex. I did use the Leavitt books in college but that was a long time ago. I now simply use adjacent positions, sliding my first finger to the next position and use the normal position fingering.

  6. #5

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    Three Octave Scales-johnny-smith-daily-practice-1-jpg

    Not quite what you want, but this is page 1 of some warm up exercises I was given at a Johnny Smith seminar some years ago. If you find them useful, I have another 2 pages I can post. Let me know. Good Luck.

  7. #6
    Thank you all for the great advices!

  8. #7

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    Buy the Segovia Major and Minor Scales. It's so short that it's not even a book, it's more like a pamphlet, so it's very cheap.
    Buy the Smith Aids To Technique book, also. Try to find the edition that doesn't have the solos in the back, because they stink; i don't even think Smith wrote them.

    The Segovia book has Melodic Minor scale fingerings, the Smith book has Harmonic Minor scales

    You can also download the scales of David Raleigh Arnold for free at his website, but they're not three octaves, and they're very difficult for the left hand.

    Use as many different scale fingerings as possible- 3 note per string etc... it'll help both hands and your knowledge of the board.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandro1 View Post
    I've had a really hard time finding material about fingerings of the three octave scales,so I'm asking you some suggestions.
    I have looked at this site Guitar Master Advanced 3 octave method: Hanon for guitar in 3 octaves for better speed, agility & skill and I asked them several times for some sample pages,but they did not reply and,because of the high prices, I didn't want to risk.
    I read in the introduction of the third volume of Modern Method for guitar that 3-octave scale would have been covered in a later volume,but unfortunately it was not published.Any Berklee students that have come across non published Leavitt material?
    Finally I have looked at Aids to technique by Johnny Smith.Again,there's no sample pages and also I do not agree with what Djangobooks is doing,because(correct me if I'm wrong) it's not right to sell books that they did not write or publish because most of them should be of public domain by now( like this ). For you to know you can find the Eddie Lang books and the George Van Eps method online for free,but I'm not linking them because I want to be sure not to infringe forum rules.

    Imo, the 3 notes per string, 7 position system is the most comprehensive. No, offense to others, but the Segovia scales are damn near worthless for improvisation (I also played the masterworks of classical guitar, so trust me, I have spent some time with them). The caged system certainly works for some, but it is missing possibilities which will initially leave you with "holes" in your fretboard knowledge.


    The 7 position system is (most) every (practical) fingering, of every mode, in every key. Pretty important if you ask me.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    the Segovia scales are damn near worthless for improvisation

    Interesting. Staying on point, and setting aside one and two-octave scale fingering patterns:

    How do you assess a 3-octave scale fingering pattern in terms of it's value for supporting improvisation?

    In other words, what makes one 3-octave scale fingering better than another 3-octave scale fingering pattern for supporting improvisation?

  11. #10

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    this is my current thing

    i'm practicing one octave (8 note) scales using three strings and then two strings

    when you get these down, they end up combining rather easily

    i use the half-steps between 5 #5 and 6 (8 note scales remember) to change position - and try always to have them on the same string. this gives you a way to sort out all the fingerings which is smooth and easy on the fingers

    it STARTS to get you away from the position-playing boxes

  12. #11

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    This has probably been mentioned before, but I've run across a 4-note-per-string idea that spans 3 octaves. One chromatic note is added so that it comes out to 4 notes/string (drop the extra note for more RH picking fun!). Usually, the added note is the #5 but you can use whatever you like, of course. This is an extremely easy set of forms to memorize because the number of fingerings are greatly reduced.

    Here's an example.

    F major scale starting on the open E (note that there are 3, 2-string groups which are identical and simply shifted up the neck as needed):


    ------------6---8-9-10---
    ----------5-6---8---10---
    ------3---5-6-7---------
    ----2-3---5---7---------
    --1---3-4-5--------------
    0-1---3---5--------------

    Dang, that was easy!

    If nothing else, these forms are great exercises for moving up and down the neck and visualizing how the separate positional scale fingerings blend into one another.

    This is also a great concept for arpeggios...

    Edit: I just realized the hammer-ons and slides are for a different type of exercise that I do with this. The 4 notes/string is for strict alternate picking. Sorry about that!
    Last edited by FatPick; 10-23-2015 at 01:20 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    Interesting. Staying on point, and setting aside one and two-octave scale fingering patterns:

    How do you assess a 3-octave scale fingering pattern in terms of it's value for supporting improvisation?

    In other words, what makes one 3-octave scale fingering better than another 3-octave scale fingering pattern for supporting improvisation?

    Well, "better" is hard to set in stone, but one reason is consistency. Another is completeness, you see the fretboard as one big whole.


    Ultimately, any scale system is just a way to see the neck. What you do with it is another story all together.

    That being said, if you haven't learned a system yet, you might as well learn the most complete one.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    Well, "better" is hard to set in stone, but one reason is consistency. Another is completeness, you see the fretboard as one big whole.


    Ultimately, any scale system is just a way to see the neck. What you do with it is another story all together.

    That being said, if you haven't learned a system yet, you might as well learn the most complete one.
    OK.

    so is there a public domain treatise on playing 3-octave scales and modes using 3NPS? or for that matter, proprietary?

    by that i mean a treatise that includes the precise shifts, both ascending and descending, with specified fingerings, for all diatonic and symmetric scales and at least a few modes from of those scales? (Dorian, Mixolydian, Locrian, Altered, Phrygian Dominant, etc.)

  15. #14

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    Oh jeeze....

    Learn the scale, learn the sound of the scale

    Learn about shifting rules from the likes of Segovia or the like

    Apply that to the sound of the scale

    All this three note per string stuff is...

    harmful

    disingenuous

    misleading

    Your fingering (we gotta find a better noun for that verb or verb for that noun...swha?) will dictate your sound and articulation, yes. So that means that you shouldn't fall into "finger" patterns.

    They don't work in improvisation. Learn why they work instead of rote learning the exact fingerings

    I studied Segovia fingerings for like... three years. What did it teach me?

    1a. Shifting rules in regards to fingers. Going up the neck, shift with the 1st or 2nd finger. Why? Cause it makes you look like a cool ass mother f'er while you do it... Um... Actually, because it allows your line to be endless going up. This is similar to the thumb index cross over technique with piano. You can go up an entire chromatic scale this way (except for those pesky half steps between the B and C and E and F. Pesky keys. Pesky piano... Hmm, hit song?)

    1b. Shifting rules going down the neck (lower pitches). Shift with the pinky or the ring finger... wait so if I get married... will that mean that I won't be able to play scales descending down the neck of my guitar. **Dramatic Music** NOOOOOOOO!

    2. Legato rules in regards to shifting. Shifting on a classical guitar is a chore. Shifting with flat wounds on an archtop is pretty bad too. Shifting on round jazz gauge round wounds on an archtop... that's like trying to screw a nail into a piece of marble... wait, what the &#@?

    I play with a hybird 13/12 round wound set of Pro Steels, the brightest strings I can get that still sound good on the cheap.

    When I say round wounds you say string fart. Round wounds, STRING FART
    ...I hate youtube comments sometimes...

    I also still have a flip phone, and own it. WHAT, YOU GOTTA PROBLEM, STEVE? Oh wait... not good to mock the dead. Yeah, I'm also 28 years old (what's wrong with me? Hipster much? Don't answer that)

    3. Learn about crossing over fingers from your piano brethren. Yeah... this one is easier shown than explained. Maybe I'll post a video to demonstrate this technique.

    4. Be intentional with each note that you play. Guess what I'm gonna say next... you gotta ear train and "Use your ears, Luke!"

    The crazy is strong with this one... **Darth Vader breathing sounds**

    Oh right. I said 3 notes per string is harmful right? I can't say that and just leave it without an explanation. Well... if you are practicing scale studies for a while and you are focusing on scales for... I dunno... 3 hours straight (don't do this, mental fatigue will guarantee that very little will sink in. Remember the adage quality over quantity?)

    Anyway, where was I... right. 3 notes and being harmful. Well, if you have normal to small hands, and you are constantly stretching your fingers to play scale passages... Carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, inflamed forearm muscles, inability to play afterwards... No one wants that, right? Pay attention to your hands. Everyone's hands are a little different. Don't force stretches all the time. That's why I reserve stretches for my chord playing... but I love playing voicings with 2nds... oh vey

    Just my own meanderings. Take what you wish
    Last edited by Irez87; 10-23-2015 at 11:43 PM.

  16. #15

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    Irez87- I agree, but it's hard to tell someone searching to " just feel it " , the cautions are well founded though.

  17. #16

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    Fretting over which version of scales to use (pun intended) is a waste of time. As a classically trained guitarist since I was about twelve, I learned the Segovia scales. They are well designed to teach a fluid way of shifting positions up the neck, but are not handed down by Moses from the Mount. They do help develop fret board awareness, tone, and facility of the fretting and picking hands. But in the heat of improvisation you depend on your ears.

    I find that what is most important is maintaining the continuity of the melodic and harmonic phrasing. In a jocular light now I'm going to reveal the best advice I can give to an intermediate guitarist aspiring to advance. If you are playing a chord melody arrangement or even simply a harmonized solo phrase, finger it so your highest melody notes can be articulated on the B string with the ring or pinky finger of your fretting hand consistently. That leaves open the possibility of playing higher note flourishes or encircling the highest melody note in the phrase on the first (high E) string with your fretting index finger. Remember that you are either playing the melody alone or harmonizing it with chord fragments as you articulate the phrase essentially.

    One other reason that I suggest this approach is that harmonizing the scales is the next most important exercise to improve your playing. Apart from the fact that this keeps your practice interesting and develops fret board awareness of chord fragments in each key in every position on the neck, this is in reality a key to developing smooth voice leading.

    I have argued over the usefulness of the Segovia scales with others who suggest they are misguided or mistaken or useless. I have read the suggestions of Jimmy Bruno and others about various complicated scale patterns avowed to be superior. I don't find that to be true, but each to his or her own. But one thing I do believe to be true - which scale patterns you use for practice and warm-ups are not the issue - it is what you do with them that counts. Trust your ears to be your guide.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Alton View Post
    Three Octave Scales-johnny-smith-daily-practice-1-jpg

    Not quite what you want, but this is page 1 of some warm up exercises I was given at a Johnny Smith seminar some years ago. If you find them useful, I have another 2 pages I can post. Let me know. Good Luck.
    no fingerings, just notes on the stave?

  19. #18

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    A few facts:
    1. This OP is under Guitar Technique, not Improvisation.
    2. This is not about position playing or fingerings used for position playing in 2 octaves across 5 or 6 strings
    3. This is not about chord melody
    4. There is no such thing as a "Segovia Scale". (they're Major and Melodic Minor, with specific position shifts and fingerings, and seven right hand articulations)


    A few observations:
    1. Fingerings for 3 octave scales are important because it's all about the shifts.
    2. Some will tell you that scales are not worth your time, and especially 3-octave scales at that.
    3. Others will tell you that every great virtuoso knows his scales, guitarists included
    4. Many have observed that compared to keyboard, string and horn players, guitarists are relative cripples at virtuosic melody playing. For example, glissandi are articulated by other instrumentalists in virtually every style of music, while many guitarists constrain themselves to position playing and narrow ranges. (Off the top of my head, my loose recollection is that Johnny Smith, Flamenco and Gypsy players make a point of breaking out of these constraints).

    On that last one, shall we trace that to cowboys, delta blues men, the length and width of the fret board, or just good old fashioned laziness?
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 10-24-2015 at 11:57 AM.

  20. #19

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    okay, fumbles, okay... I know there is no such thing as a Segovia scale. C'mon you know what I meant. It's all about the shifting principles and how the scales lay horizontally and vertically across the fret board. Save the sass for your cats (that almost rhymes ) As Gob Bluth would say:



    Actually, guitarists are more likely to play scalar because the instrument lends itself easier to that. But, with everything, it's all a matter of context.

    And the fingerings are in his book. I know most of the money goes to the publisher now, but I am sure Johnny's family gets some of it as well. The Method book is well worth the purchase. It's ALL there, chords, three octave arpeggios, three octave scales, with fingerings. No TAB. Worth the time and money.
    They don't make books like that anymore IMHO.

    P.S. Fumbles et all, if you studied classical really seriously, then Johnny Smith's book and George Van Ep's books are worth it. Throw in Barry Galbraith's book on comping to the list as well. There, that's all you need. Everything else... including The Art of Picking (though I enjoyed the book) is icing on the cake. Enjoy.

    Happy thoughts
    Last edited by Irez87; 10-25-2015 at 06:57 AM.

  21. #20

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    Segovia's version of the Major and Minor Diatonic Scales is a specific fingered version as edited by Andre Segovia. That's all. One can certainly finger scales in any fashion you like - ask Django.

  22. #21

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    Better to just be able to play in any key freely across the entire fretboard. I think that's the ultimate goal of learning various positions and fingering systems:


  23. #22

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    Very true. I did that work for 3-4 years. It helped more than playing endless scales and licks, believe it or not. Taught me how scales "behave", so to speak. Now I can mess with the "behavior" of scales more freely.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanM View Post
    Better to just be able to play in any key freely across the entire fretboard. I think that's the ultimate goal of learning various positions and fingering systems:

    sure.

    and in this video he plays 3-octave scales by connecting adjacent fingering patterns - you know - just like everyone else does when they play 3-octave scales. oh boy.

    the only problem is that he plays them poorly. squeaks, muffed notes, uneven time, and the coup de grace - pure misses playing out of key notes, lol. i have no doubt that he would do a better job if he wasn't focusing on filming a video. but still.

    he mentions that he played his 5 fingering patterns for 20 years before playing along the fret board through the positions. not surprising for a rocker of course but it just goes to show you that Leavitt, Segovia, or Shearer books could have accelerated this lesson plan by about 17 years.
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 10-24-2015 at 09:52 PM.

  25. #24

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    That's Johnny Smith for you !

  26. #25

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    No one, well... maybe Jack Peterson comes close... but no one has JS's attention to detail when it comes to...







    ...TONE AND TIMBRE

    You thought I was gonna say chops, right?

    He's my model for tone, timbre, execution, precision, and range when I play melodic lines on the guitar.

    For comping, that's Jim Hall and Ed Bickert's game (though JS is a force to be reckoned with).

    No one else had the tonal and timbral control of JS.

    There's only a couple of guitarists who come to mind when I mention JS

    1. John Williams

    2. David Russell

    3. Julian Bream (when he was recorded and mic'ed correctly, shesh what travesty...)

    4. Segovia

    Notice anything about that list
    Last edited by Irez87; 10-25-2015 at 09:35 AM.

  27. #26

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    i think George Benson might have something to say something about that.

  28. #27

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    I know. I meant that they were classical guitarists. I wasn't talking about their background, but I could see how that might be offensive.

    Remember, that's my opinion. That's the sonic goal that I have set for myself. Benson's tone is legit, so is Grant Green's. Wes pioneered the "Blue Thumb", fer chrissakes.

    But, IMHO, stressing the opinion part, I think Johnny Smith has the most beautiful guitar tone and timbre in the jazz arena.

    Why? We should always be able to give some sort of justification, right?

    1. Every note sounds clean (for the most part). Like every note was executed with the utmost precision. George Van Eps talks about the mechanics of the fretting hand and JS embodies that scientist-like precision. JS does that all whilst improvising truly beautiful and flowing lines (please, let's not start THAT argument again )

    2. The tone isn't too muddy (Pat Metheny...er... I love his acoustic stuff... but...)

    3. The tone has a lively but subtle brightness to it (it's there, but you gotta listen to it. Especially when he plays chords it becomes apparent)

    4. The tone is round and full. He pays attention to how he frets notes.

    5. His timbre isn't percussive. Although I love Lionel Loueke's playing and the percussive nature of it all, I am not a fan of percussive smacks whilst playing bebop, standards, and ballads all the time. A little bit of Kenny Burrell and Grant Green is cool, but too much is overkill, IMHO. Once again, my opinion

    6. He uses dynamics... This is a huge part of what separates JS from a lot of "traditional bebop players" of today's day and age. They don't pay attention to the dynamics of the line... That's part of what makes the line exciting IMHO.

    7. Last, but not least. He uses the whole range of the instrument and he pays attention to the intonation issues that are a natural consequence of the guitar.

    Other guitarists have a couple or most of these attributes in their sound, but IMHO, JS has them all

    Different strokes for different folks. Makes the world go round

    As a musician ...
    (yes, I finally consider myself as such. Remember that Tal still painted signs to make money on the side. Being a musician is about how you approach the bandstand, the audience, your instrument, and your ears, not about how you make a living. My studies are certainly not indicative of a mere hobby)

    As a musician I think that an important part of your musical maturity is figuring out who speaks to you on your instrument for certain attributes. JS is tone, timbre, and range for me. Wes is dynamism and being a true story teller (something I value very highly) on the instrument. Jim Hall and Ed Bicket are comping and supporting the soloist with the utmost of simpatico and ESP-like power.
    Last edited by Irez87; 10-25-2015 at 12:16 PM.

  29. #28

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    OK, but waaaay off topic Irez.


    So back to 3-octave scales:

    What is the point, or points, of practicing them?


    1. It helps build facility with "range playing" (stolen from Jerry Coker). Every melodic instrument has this challenge

    2. It forces you to develop smooth shifts, with the goal of playing shifts just as smoothly as playing in position. Not easy.

    3. It helps you learn where the notes are. Of course there are other methods that do this too, and probably more effectively.

    You should practice them with all diatonic, symmetric and frequently used modal scales.

    The end game is not so much about playing scales up and down. The point is that by practicing them you begin to build the type of capability that you will use when moving freely up and down the fret board - while playing melodic material that is much more difficult than rote scales. You have to walk before you can run.

  30. #29

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    yeah... I tend to have those flights of fancy sometimes

    Point taken.

    I agree 100% about the 3 octave scales.

    Range playing range playing range playing

    There is a very good reason to break out of the position playing method. It is too mathematical, too geometric, too visual. As you aptly said, my fumbly friend, it has to be all about the notes. Even in classical music (especially so) the melodic contour and the range of the line creates interest. Yes you can play compound intervals in position, but you have more guitar to work with if you think more horizontally... like Jimmy Raney or Brother Wes. Even Barry Galbraith, mr. studio teacher originalle, advises against strict positional playing. He always stresses the primacy of the melodic line. Therefore, he teaches more horizontal methods with his fingering suggestions (on Bach, and on Jazz Standards)

    Fumbles, care to revive an old thread I started on shifting? We could take turns demonstrating shifting principles to the forum. You have a more extensive classical background than I, but I am a devotee of the 3 octave scale and shifting horizontal playing methodology.

    Let me know
    Last edited by Irez87; 10-25-2015 at 02:42 PM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    OK, but waaaay off topic Irez.


    So back to 3-octave scales:

    What is the point, or points, of practicing them?


    1. It helps build facility with "range playing" (stolen from Jerry Coker). Every melodic instrument has this challenge

    2. It forces you to develop smooth shifts, with the goal of playing shifts just as smoothly as playing in position. Not easy.

    3. It helps you learn where the notes are. Of course there are other methods that do this too, and probably more effectively.

    You should practice them with all diatonic, symmetric and frequently used modal scales.

    The end game is not so much about playing scales up and down. The point is that by practicing them you begin to build the type of capability that you will use when moving freely up and down the fret board - while playing melodic material that is much more difficult than rote scales. You have to walk before you can run.

    IMHO, that's the main point of practicing scales; to gain the facility you need to play music and/or improvise.

    NOT to use them in improvisation.
    It's as simple as an athlete working out before they play their games.
    They don't do sit-ups in the football game, but the sit-ups give them the facility to do their thing in the game.

    There's a lot of hate among jazz fans for players with a lot of facility.
    Believe it or nuts, there are many serious haters of Oscar Peterson, because of the great facility he had.
    You can't win.
    Last edited by sgcim; 10-25-2015 at 03:33 PM.

  32. #31

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    I have a problem with facility if it is for the sake of playing fast, end all be all.

    Oscar Peterson, fast or slow, he always swings his arse off and plays lines that would sound just as beautiful slowed down.

    Same with Johnny Smith.

    Use facility to say something of depth, to create excitement and drama, to add to your story telling palette. Not to show off.

    **Now back to our regular programming**

    Fumbles:



    Just kidden

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    IMHO, that's the main point of practicing scales; to gain the facility you need to play music and/or improvise.

    NOT to use them in improvisation.
    It's as simple as an athlete working out before they play their games.
    They don't do sit-ups in the football game, but the sit-ups give them the facility to do their thing in the game.

    There's a lot of hate among jazz fans for players with a lot of facility.
    Believe it or nuts, there are many serious haters of Oscar Peterson, because of the great facility he had.
    You can't win.
    yep.

    although this hate of all things virtuosic exists strongly in the realm of less-than-virtuosic players, perhaps even more so than with fans.

    i have always observed that virtuosos sell tickets and fill seats, and some players who don't or can't, take exception.

  34. #33

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    Sounds like a Kurt Vonnegut novel. I like virtuosity.

  35. #34

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    Coltrane. Virtuoso, correct? But used that technique to say something more than lemme rip through all the scales and Charlie Parker licks I know.

    Dizzy Gillespie. Virtuoso. Same deal.

    My point being that the general audience hears fast vs. slow.

    The knowledgeable listener hears thematic development, altered notes, elusion, and other musical techniques within that speed. All of these elements build together to create an intentional solo. Not just a person standing on stage waving his thing around.

    Just saying. Virtuoso means being able to use technique to service the music not just "can play really fast".

    Trust me, you can spot an impostor playing extremely fast and saying jack squat in a jam session. They aren't playing the Vanguard. Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Kurt Rosenwinkie, they all use speed to service the music. It's more than "by golly, Johnny, Kurt plays fast, I wanna play just like him".

    Let's save virtuoso for musicians who actually embody the meaning of virtuoso and not water it down into a penis measuring contest. Sorry for being crass, but this is the type of discussion that makes me wanna stop playing music because it simplifies music to technique and speed.

    Speed builds drama and excitement and you need technique to build speed. Used with intention, speed can take a solo into the stratosphere. Coltrane Coltrane Coltrane. Used wrong, however, and it can be just as boring as a slow solo on a very bright tune. Especially if the musician isn't aware of dynamics, phrasing, melodic contour, and thematic development.

    ...Probably went off topic there. Grading papers, dealing with the mess of the system that is SESIS, and planning for the week. This forum is a happy distraction from that mess...
    Last edited by Irez87; 10-25-2015 at 09:08 PM.

  36. #35

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    I remember having to go through many many different classical fingering sets in the royal conservatory of music technique book back in the day. I suppose what it taught me was how to shift and finger things in ways that make technical sense. To avoid uncomfortable fingerings and weird shifts with weak fingers like the pinky.

    As a jazz guitarist I really liked Joe Pass's advice to simply play any chord and then immediately play a scale that corresponds to that chord shape. I was signed up for Jimmy Bruno's online course not long after he started it up and I really liked his approach too. Learn 5 box fingerings and then all the arpeggios within those boxes. It's interesting because you end up seeing the scale completely differently than if you're just presented with a static box. I see this all the time with my students. I'll teach them the C major box in 2nd position and then ask them to improvise over some chords. Then, I'll teach them the Dm7 arpeggio that fits in that box and it's amazing how it's not obvious since it's such an awkward fingering. And when I ask them to mix the scale and arpeggio it becomes very easy to lose sight of the original fingering. I guess the point is that when you learn these ¨shapes within shapes¨ it just solidifies everything for them and breaks them out of obvious scale choices.

  37. #36

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    I don't like the positional approach any more. Was it crucial to my development as a guitarist, heck yes. Do I regret learning positional scales, heck no.

    But, for where I am right now in my playing, position playing would do more harm than good. Due to the crap load of ear training I've done in the past 5 years, I relate everything to sound. Those sounds are not visual geometry on a fretboard, they are notes on any instrument that produces pitch (including the human voice). If I were to play positionally, those sounds would be limited to where I was on the neck of the guitar as each position has a limited range (even with the repeated notes that occur due to the nature of the fretboard).

    Now, a word on shifting. I actuallly use first finger shifts and pinky shifts, even though many classical guitars look down on them as "weak fingers to shift on". Remember what I initially said, I relate everything to sound. So the ease of the shift doesn't concern me as much as the access to the sounds it produces.

    I can post some examples of why this comes in handy when improvising. The simple answer, is that if you land on your pinky for a descending line, you still have three fingers to continue the line downward. This is especially important for rangey lines that contain chromatic-ism. The same thing goes for ascending lines with the index finger shift (but you have to be aware of string noise, I play with wound rounds because I love the way they sound. I don't think I will ever go back to flats, but that's just my preference).

    As fumbles stated earlier, these 3 octave scales contain a series of mechanisms that aid improvisational concepts. I think the mechanisms are more important than the scale fingering itself. The mechanism is the shifting principle.

  38. #37

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    As far as shifting I tend to shy away from large shifts with the pinky. If I'm only shifting up a position or two then it's not a big deal and I'll use it from time to time. But shifting with the index... The index is your strongest finger so I say go for it

    I like Jimmy Bruno's method because, like he says, your fingers start to memorize the sounds of the notes if you're consistent with your fingerings and I tend to agree. I think it's the reason why horn players have such amazing ears because their fingerings are always the same. Imagine every time you played a note it was always the same finger that played it. Your muscle memory and ear would start to work together.

    I hear you with round wounds. Can't stand them either

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I don't like the positional approach any more. Was it crucial to my development as a guitarist, heck yes. Do I regret learning positional scales, heck no.

    But, for where I am right now in my playing, position playing would do more harm than good. Due to the crap load of ear training I've done in the past 5 years, I relate everything to sound. Those sounds are not visual geometry on a fretboard, they are notes on any instrument that produces pitch (including the human voice). If I were to play positionally, those sounds would be limited to where I was on the neck of the guitar as each position has a limited range (even with the repeated notes that occur due to the nature of the fretboard).

    Now, a word on shifting. I actuallly use first finger shifts and pinky shifts, even though many classical guitars look down on them as "weak fingers to shift on". Remember what I initially said, I relate everything to sound. So the ease of the shift doesn't concern me as much as the access to the sounds it produces.

    I can post some examples of why this comes in handy when improvising. The simple answer, is that if you land on your pinky for a descending line, you still have three fingers to continue the line downward. This is especially important for rangey lines that contain chromatic-ism. The same thing goes for ascending lines with the index finger shift (but you have to be aware of string noise, I play with wound rounds because I love the way they sound. I don't think I will ever go back to flats, but that's just my preference).

    As fumbles stated earlier, these 3 octave scales contain a series of mechanisms that aid improvisational concepts. I think the mechanisms are more important than the scale fingering itself. The mechanism is the shifting principle.


    But.... the sounds actually are "visual geometry on a fretboard"....

    The interval locations and their sounds never change, as I'm sure you know. Telling others to separate the two, because you didn't think of/learn/practice them simultaneously, isn't very helpful to them. While learning the positions, they should obviously be doing various ear training/theory/etc drills if they want to get the most out of it.

    The seven position, 3+ octave, 3 note per string system, simply fills in all the possibilities on the fretboard. If your going to learn one from the beginning, you should probably learn the most complete system. That being said, knowing the system, or any system, doesn't mean you can improvise well, it just means you know where the notes are.


    As far as what any of this has to do with improvisation, think about this. A single position (3 1/2 octaves) most likely has a larger range that your voice is capable of covering (at least what anyone wants to hear). Long story short, if someone can't make it happen in a single position, they can't make it happen.
    Last edited by vintagelove; 10-27-2015 at 10:45 PM.

  40. #39

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    It's great to "know the fretboard" but if your fingerings are strictly ad hoc you WILL flub up. The above video is a perfect case in point, and the lack of a defined fingering through the major scale as one moves up the fretboard undermines the whole point - which is to play successfully - as opposed to unsuccessfully which is what the teacher did. He really should have re-taped that, lol.

    Contrast that to "This Is The Way I Do It".

    that teacher plays each example clean.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    But.... the sounds actually are "visual geometry on a fretboard"....

    The interval locations and their sounds never change, as I'm sure you know. Telling others to separate the two, because you didn't think of/learn them simultaneously, isn't very helpful to them. While learning the positions, they should obviously be doing various ear training/theory/etc drills if they want to get the most out of it.

    The seven position, 3+ octave, 3 note per string system, simply fills in all the possibilities on the fretboard. If your going to learn one from the beginning, you should probably learn the most complete system.


    As far as what any of this has to do with improvisation, think about this. A single position (3 1/2 octaves) most likely has a larger range that your voice is capable of covering (at least what anyone wants to hear). Long story short, if someone can't make it happen in a single position, they can't make it happen.
    a single position has three and a half octaves?

    not so.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    a single position has three and a half octaves?

    not so.


    First position of G major goes from G third fret low e, to C 8th fret high e (D if you stretch).


    e578
    b578
    g457
    d457
    a357
    e357


    edit, I could see if you meant three full octaves, I should have said it contains 3 octaves.

  43. #42

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    Right. Your post has two errors.


    1. "3 1/2 octaves".

    That would be 3 octaves plus a tetrachord. I believe that you meant 2 1/2 octaves.


    2. "position".

    You mean "fingering pattern". The fingering pattern that you referenced above spans the 3rd through 5th positions. That's three positions, not one.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    Right. Your post has two errors.


    1. "3 1/2 octaves".

    That would be 3 octaves plus a tetrachord. I believe that you meant 2 1/2 octaves.


    2. "position".

    You mean "fingering pattern". The fingering pattern that you referenced above spans the 3rd through 5th positions. That's three positions, not one.




    Tomayeto, potahto....


    Just kidding, I'll turn myself into the jazz police now.


    But seriously, if I wanted to play (what I would call a 4 octave scale) in the fastest, smoothest possible way. I would play through the first position/pattern, then, shift to 10 12 14, slide to 15 with my pinky. There are tons of solutions to these fingerings. Improvisation wise, they are far down the totem pole.

  45. #44

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    I'm sorry but it's not tomato vs. to-mah-to. It's just the guitar.

    I really don't mean to be rude, but it's important to be correct and to avoid leading less experienced readers/guitarists astray.


    1. There is position, and there are fingering patterns, or fingerings. Fingerings can be confined to a single position, or they can span multiple positions.

    2. You referenced what "you" call 4 octaves. Well, most guitars do not provide 4 octaves. That requires 24 frets.


    No big deal. I'm sure that you're a terrific player, much better than I, but you might want to think about some of these things and sort out your confusion.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by petestorz View Post
    your fingers start to memorize the sounds of the notes if you're consistent with your fingerings and I tend to agree...I hear you with round wounds. Can't stand them either
    Petestorz,

    1. I love round wounds. They give me the best sound unplugged and the electric sound is a close match to the unplugged acoustic sound. They also allow me some much needed brightness, as I lose treble with my gemstone and things can get muddy quite. I use the brightest set of D'addarios I can find, a set of 13s Pro Steels and a set of 12s Pro Steels to create a hybrid that works perfect for me.

    For my next guitar (whenever I can afford it) I would get a customer built archtop that is full bodied enough to cut through a rhythm section acoustically, but bright enough to cut through electrically. I am weening myself off of the "dark jazz tone" as you can be bright and warm... they are two different entities IMHO.

    Johnny Smith has a treble-y-er sound than people give him credit for.

    Jim Hall has a treble-y-er sound than people give him credit for.

    BACK TO THE OPI do not agree that you need fingerings to start learning the sounds of the notes (font problems again). You learn the sound of the notes first by ear training the crap outta them. At the same time, you learn where all of those sounds are found on the fret board. A fingering should never dictate your ability to hear a note. That is what Bruce Arnold and Charlie Banacos would call a CRUTCH (would be in bold, but font trouble)

    However, there are certain articulations that you can only access with a certain fingering pattern. 3 note per string mechanisms allow for extremely quick triple, sextuplet and even quintuplet figures. Think Coltrane flourishes. Those are hard to articulate with more traditional fingerings...

    Another however, if you play with 3 note per string mechanisms exclusively (ALL THE TIME), depending on your hand size (you know what they say about guys with big hands... they have big... gloves ) you could cause a lot of unnecessary tension, and eventually, unnecessary damage to your hands.

    Every mechanism has a purpose. Try to learn as many as possible. I still use positional mechanisms for extremely quick double time passages.

    But the difference is that I do not rely on one mechanism to cover the entire fret board.

    Here is the OP

    I rely on sound for my sound, not a prescribed fingering mechanism for all my sound. Technique and sound production are connected, but they are not exclusively cohesive to one another.

  47. #46

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    sorry did I say round wounds? Yes, I did... Sorry I meant flat wounds... :P

    No I don't believe that learning scale positions is the end all and be all of ear training. I just think it's an interesting concept that can help your ear training and provide a bit of a short cut. For instance, a dm7 arp starting with the pinky on the A string is going to be the same fingering as starting with your pinky on the E string. A very quick and easy way to get it in the fingers and the ear simultaneously

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Petestorz,

    1. I love round wounds. They give me the best sound unplugged and the electric sound is a close match to the unplugged acoustic sound. They also allow me some much needed brightness, as I lose treble with my gemstone and things can get muddy quite. I use the brightest set of D'addarios I can find, a set of 13s Pro Steels and a set of 12s Pro Steels to create a hybrid that works perfect for me.

    For my next guitar (whenever I can afford it) I would get a customer built archtop that is full bodied enough to cut through a rhythm section acoustically, but bright enough to cut through electrically. I am weening myself off of the "dark jazz tone" as you can be bright and warm... they are two different entities IMHO.

    Johnny Smith has a treble-y-er sound than people give him credit for.

    Jim Hall has a treble-y-er sound than people give him credit for.

    BACK TO THE OPI do not agree that you need fingerings to start learning the sounds of the notes (font problems again). You learn the sound of the notes first by ear training the crap outta them. At the same time, you learn where all of those sounds are found on the fret board. A fingering should never dictate your ability to hear a note. That is what Bruce Arnold and Charlie Banacos would call a CRUTCH (would be in bold, but font trouble)

    However, there are certain articulations that you can only access with a certain fingering pattern. 3 note per string mechanisms allow for extremely quick triple, sextuplet and even quintuplet figures. Think Coltrane flourishes. Those are hard to articulate with more traditional fingerings...

    Another however, if you play with 3 note per string mechanisms exclusively (ALL THE TIME), depending on your hand size (you know what they say about guys with big hands... they have big... gloves ) you could cause a lot of unnecessary tension, and eventually, unnecessary damage to your hands.

    Every mechanism has a purpose. Try to learn as many as possible. I still use positional mechanisms for extremely quick double time passages.

    But the difference is that I do not rely on one mechanism to cover the entire fret board.

    Here is the OP

    I rely on sound for my sound, not a prescribed fingering mechanism for all my sound. Technique and sound production are connected, but they are not exclusively cohesive to one another.


    there is really no stretching if done properly. Finger 357 with index middle pinky, make sure your thumb is with your middle finger, this allows you to reach slightly back with the index, and forward with the pinky. A little movement is fine as you move from index to pinky.

    I have multiple students under 12 that play this fingering with no tension or other issues. Also fwiw I have small hands myself.

    Any way you look at it the idea is to play through the positions (sorry fumble, there are many who use there term position when referencing the major scale fingerlings), which requires really knowing the neck.

  49. #48

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    And I used to use the whole tapped finger principle while playing scales.

    My point is, you learn a system to learn the notes... great.

    But once you get comfy with that system, learn a new one.

    Then another new system.

    Then another new system of fingerings.

    Then ear train.

    Like a BAMF.

    Don't be stuck playing 10 years with one fingering system.

    Jimmy Bruno, et all, I don't care.

    That fingering system will inherently dictate how you play and what you play. Don't let the guitar dictate what you play, let your inner ear and your mind dictate what you play.

    Was it Hal Galper that said...



    Cue the Hal Galper hate

    And the Erez87 hate

  50. #49

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    i'm working on fingerings a lot after 25 years of ignoring them

    improvements in my right hand technique made it obvious to me that i moved around the fretboard in a clumsy way that made it next to impossible for me to play long fluid phrases at bright tempos

    it's wonderful to find ways of moving up and across and down the instrument that are genuinely flowing - and there's no better tool to use to get this going that three octave scales

    i'm having a great time with this simple routine:

    play 3 octave 8 note maj and min 6 (or 'melodic minor') scales starting on 1,3,5 and 6 - on the bottom string (at least to start with)

    and the blues scale too

    i'm using the passing note between 5 and 6 as a physical hinge most of the time - almost always keeping it on one string and using it to move up or down. there's a kind of slip feel in the 'line' at that time and to conjoin it with a slip up and down with the hand feels musical and clear.

    the other thing i try to do - for the first two octaves at least - is to keep the fingering pattern the same for each octave. if i start on the fifth of the scale with my second finger i want to hit the fifth of the scale an octave higher with the second finger so that the second octave is produced with essentially the same left hand movements as the first was. (b string makes differences obviously). this makes the scales feel great to play - and it will help with improvising too.

    there's no doubt at all in my mind that i need to move around in these easy flowing ways with my left hand if i'm to come anywhere near playing the long, flowing phrases i want to at fast tempos and in double time passages.

    but to do it requires that i basically throw out all the clumsy fingering patterns and habits that have always been my way of coping with the neck.

    it takes a lot of time.
    Last edited by Groyniad; 10-28-2015 at 07:35 PM.

  51. #50

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    I think what we have here... as always... is a failure to communicate.

    I never said forget about fingerings...

    Just in case you were responding to my OP