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  1. #1

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    Hello everybody,

    Throughout the years I've been browsing this forum I've read several posts from people raving about the so called "Reg fingerings", a fingering system/protocol for the major, harmonic minor and melodic minor scales designed by forum member Reg.

    While I always tried my best to see its advantages over other popular "systems" like CAGED or the 7-position Berklee fingerings I never really got it, I never understood the way @Reg, and @matt.guitarteacher explained it and why it was so good for seeing the fretboard as one big shape. It was probably because I'm a non-native speaker so some info might got lost in translation, secondly some of the info goes over my head to be honest and finally because its pretty difficult to explain I guess. Playing the fingerings is one thing but what you thinking about when you do that i.e. the mental visualization process can be difficult to put into words as everybody's brain works differently.

    This thread is primarily to ask Reg and Matt whether I understand the system and its advantages correctly but also to hopefully provide some insights for other people (lol that sounds like I know what I'm talking about while I'm not. Not really at least...)

    So before this I used CAGED, so 5 shapes. I think everybody knows these shapes. The nice thing IMO is that they prevent stretching (by using shifts) and also provide a form of visualization around the CAGED chord forms. I always looked at notes in relation to the root of the chord of the moment.

    The problem with this approach is that:
    - You need to 'repaint' the intervals in relation to the root for each new chord or key (if we for example want to switch from G Aeolian to G Phrygian) in your minds eye. For me this takes quite a lot of mental bandwidth so to speak.
    - In addition we have the problem that these scales feel very different where they often only differ in just 1 or 2 notes. For example, when playing G Ionian we play the 5th, the note D with our middle finger on the B string, 3rd fret. When playing G Mixolydian, just one note difference as we lower the F# to an F, we play this note using our index finger. When it comes to minor scale the finger used to play the root note of the scale is different than when playing its major variant (the index finger versus the middle finger)

    The big difference between CAGEd and the Reg fingerings is that the CAGED fingerings use the root of the chord of the moment as a reference (as I think about them anyway) i.e they are "relative" based i.e. you take the root of the chord of the moment as a reference and then and then build your scale around that. The E shape with the root on the 6th string using the second finger. The A shape with the root on the 5th string using the second finger. The C shape with the root on the 5th string using the pinky finger etc. However the thing is that this reference changes once the chord changes. In jazz we often play a large number of chords in a relative chord period of time (in comparison to most blues and rock at least...) so this gets overwhelming pretty quickly. We have a constantly changing reference!

    Reg's fingerings on the other hand use an absolute reference i.e. a reference that stays the same regardless of what key you are in, what scale you are playing or what the chord of the moment is. It doesn't change the whole time. But then what exactly stays the same? The NOTES themselves! While the C on the fifth string 3rd fret is the 4th in G but the 1 in C and the 2 in Bb it is always the note C (duh!).

    Big deal you might say...

    However, when you use your middle finger as a reference on the 6 string you get the same effect as on the piano. For example lets say we are in second position (index finger at the second fret) so middle finger is on the note G at the 6th string, 3rd fret. Now play the note E using your index finger on the 4th string, second fret. Now, regardless of the key you are in, or the chord you are playing etc, the note E can be found in that position (so middle finger on the 3rd fret) using that fingering. Doesn't matter if you are playing G Ionian, G Dorian, G Lydian, G Mixolydian but also G Phrygian, G Aeolian etc i.e. scales that have a b6 instead of a 6.

    In the above example we still take G as a root reference. IMO in Regs system we should make a distinction between the physical reference (the note under your middle finger on the sixth string) and the "musical reference" (for lack of a better term). Lets take the key of Dmajor as a musical reference but still using the same physical reference (your middle finger on the G note at the 3rd fret on the 6th string). So D is the 1, E is the 2, F# is the 3 etc. We know that based on our physical reference the note E is always at the 4 string, second fret. Same applies to the note D, it can always be found with your pinky on the fifth string, fifth fret, regardless of what key we are in GIVEN (note the emphasis ;p) that we are with our middle finger at the third fret, sixth string.

    This is in essence the same as on the piano. When you are playing the note C with the thumb of your right hand, you just know that the note E can be found two white keys up with your middle finger. When your thumb is at the note B, you know you can find the note E three white keys up with your ring finger. Since we have 12 keys we can start with our thumb at 12 different positions and we just know based on our thumb reference where all other notes are. On the guitar we have the same but instead of using our thumb as a reference we use our middle finger on the sixth string. We know that if we are playing the note C with our middle finger 6th string 8th fret the note E is at the 5th string, 7 fret under our index finger as well as on the 3rd string, 9th fret under our ring finger. This is always the same if we put our middle finger at the 8th fret sixth string.

    The thing is that you really need to know your notes on the neck, instantly! When using the CAGED/relative approach you can just think intervals without actually being really aware of the actual note names. While this is nice in the beginning the constant repainting of the intervals in context in your minds eye can get pretty overwhelming quickly. In addition you need to really know your keys/intervals e.g. F# is the 3rd of D but the 7th of G, 2nd of E etc. While this can take some work I think it helps in really mastering your instrument and other instrumentalists (piano, saxophone etc) talk about note names anyway instead of pure intervals AFAIK.

    This kind of solves the two problems with CAGED which I mentioned above:
    1. Instead of using a relative reference for both physical awareness (again, for lack of a better term) and musical awareness start by using an absolute reference as a physical reference and overlay on top of that a relative reference when making music in context.
    2. As you can see the Reg fingerings always use the same finger for a note in relation to the 6th string middle finger reference. When playing the D on the second string 3rd fret we always use our middle finger if our physical reference is the note G on the 6th string, 3rd fret.



    Sorry if this post may come across as an incoherent ramble, this is probably because I'm still absorbing it and as I said I'm not a native speaker.


    ==Questions==
    1. Is my understanding of the advantages of Regs fingering system correct?
    2. Im still a little bit unsure whether my approach to seeing scales with another root note than thats under my middle finger is correct. Lets take G again as a physical reference and then E as a musical reference, E phrygian for example. What is your thinking process? Do you know that E phrygian consists of E F G A B C D and you know the location of these notes in relation to our physical reference (the middle finger on the sixth string, third fret) and you know that theorethically F is the b2, G is the b3 B is the 5 etc? Or do you approach it another way?
    3. There was a video of Kurt Rosenwinkel explaining his scale fingerings which were exactly the same as the ones from Reg. However it seems liket his video is deleted. Does someone have a mirror ?
    4. One great thing about the CAGED system is how it unifies the scale, arpeggios and chords. Im not yet sure how the arpeggios fit into the scale fingerings. Of course I can pick out the arpeggio notes but I mean how to think about them. Especially arpeggios of which the root note is not the physical reference. For example F major7 when using C 8th fret as a physical reference. Do you still visualize a chord shape or do you know that Fmaj7 contains FACE and since you know where these notes lie in relation to the note under your middle finger you can see the arpeggio? Similarily, how do you visualize chords?


    Thank you!

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    if we for example want to switch from G Aeolian to G Phrygian
    which tune?

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    which tune?
    Hahahaha, I expected a reply like that assuming this is a rhetorical question . Well lets make it G Aeolian going to G Phrygian dominant. Not super weird I suppose? Secondary dominant to go to the iv chord in a minor key. Or just say we are changing keys from G minor to Ebmajor and playing a G minor chord but staying in the same position.
    Last edited by Lark; 01-06-2021 at 09:43 AM.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    Well lets make it G Aeolian going to G Phrygian dominant. Not super weird I suppose?
    so basically the first bars of a minor blues (edit: or not, i have no idea what G phryg dom actually means, lol).in that case i would advice you write down 10 convincing jazz lines in third position, going from Gm to Cm via G7alt in bar 4. if you cannot do that, do not worry about fingerings. find ten minor blues tunes and write down a few lines. do not study fantasy chord progressions. Gm7 to Ebmaj needs a tune associated with it otherwise why would you want tostudy that?

    study tunes. get martino's linear expressions to study how minor works, how positions work and how you connect positions.

    you need material to study fingerings not the other way around. fingerings do not create material. it's one of the biggest misconceptions in learning jazz.

  6. #5

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    Referring to those fingerings by mode names is a bit silly imo, and misleading - they're all major scale patterns, and all 7 modes are contained within each one. The advantage I see is that those patterns cover the whole fingerboard, where caged leaves gaps. I think there are advantages in terms of picking/speed on some material. I still prefer caged though because there are less patterns to learn, less stretches, and I find it easier to relate scales/arps/chords. But you can use any and all patterns you like, ypym.

  7. #6

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    Yea... the fingerings are just a way of having the fretboard become.... one 12 fret repeating pattern. Which is what the guitar is.

    Individual positions are just part of the 12 fret repeating pattern.

    The goal is to be able to play anything anywhere on the neck... that again will "Repeat". Eventually some musicians don't need to figure out how to play. They have a complete guitar technical fingering Reference. That Fingering Reference is just the starting point. You can make changes etc... but you don't need to create fingering organizations for everything you play.

    And sure, as Djg said..."you need material to study fingerings not the other way around. fingerings do not create material. it's one of the biggest misconceptions in learning jazz."

    But... eventually as most build Musical material to practice and perform, and you begin to be able to create Musical Relationships and develop them. When you don't have a technical performance system of organization on your instrument, (on the guitar a fingering system), it can becomes difficult to remember how to perform without constant practice etc...

    The other aspect is that when one begins to understand how music works, it's very helpful have a fingering system that naturally reflects those understandings.

    I personally see... practicing how to play and create musical relationships between Chords as extremely important part of Practice... which will help when performing or composing and arranging Tunes etc..

    As djg pointed out when suggesting playing Gmin to Cmin using G7 from G phrygian Dom. (the V7b9b13 chord from Harmonic Min.).... So practicing playing a I-7 to IV-7..... and using that G7alt to get to the IV- chord,(C-7). Expanding the basic G-7 to G7alt.

    The advantage of having a 12 fret repeating fingering system is that when I think or hear that G aeolian. I already hear, think and see on my fretboard.... All the Musically Diatonic Chords and Scales implied by G Aeo.

    That's just the basic Reference.... I also hear, think and see musical relationships that are possible with that G Aeo. and the rest of the Diatonic chords constructed on each scale degree.

    It's just like hearing, seeing and thinking about the Chord Tones. The Fingering system naturally expands.... those Chord Tones (and extensions) into possible chords and then Chord Patterns.... you can use standard vanilla note resolutions derived from functional guidelines, or expand those resolutions with other guidelines, Modal, Blues, etc...

    Anyway this is obviously the world beyond Fretboard Fingering Systems. But I did post most of this stuff 10+ years ago.

    Lark... if you really want to get into the system... I obviously understand it, I'll be glad to answer questions. I can hand around.

  8. #7

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    I haven't worked on Reg's approach so I can't really comment about the details. He's a great player. He has lots of great videos in which you can see the fruits of his approach.

    Mine is a minority view. My approach is to learn the notes, by name, in all the chords and scales you use, in all 12 keys. And, know every note on the fingerboard instantly. This is a lot of work, but so is every other way of getting there.

    It has the advantage of not using geometric patterns, although you may want to add them to the approach -- that helps with fast tempos. Basically, you're playing a chord and/or scale and the fretboard lights up in your mind. Every note in the arp and every note in the scale light up in different colors all over the neck and your fingers find them.

    I don't see how this can hurt, even if you're using Reg's fingerings or some other system. In fact, I'd guess (and I'm confident Reg will be kind enough to tell us) that Reg also knows the fretboard in this way.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 01-06-2021 at 09:36 PM.

  9. #8

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    Yea, hey Rick, hope your well.
    Yes I also think of the fretboard in the same way, the note names, when I choose to. That's part of the reason I have an organized fingering system.

    My approach to the fingering system I use is simple. I was taught starting with the Cage approach back in 50's and 60's... Once I became a better player, and maybe a little more aware of the world, I realized it didn't really work that well. And from watching different players and other instrument techniques, the transition to a different organizational reference of the Guitar fretboard... just seem obvious.

    I still use caged, can still just play changes, or use a key center approach, but I have a starting organizational reference of which all other fingerings are derives from. It's designed on very physical aspects of our hands and the Guitar. The biggest or most useful aspect of the system... is how naturally and easily musical aspects of playing function within the fretboard organization.

    Caged is just a expansion of the fingerings, the 7 positions etc... It's not like I'm the creator of the system. I think I was just one of the earlier players to use the fingering system to help unify Tonal and Modal musical concepts with a
    fingering system. It's very simple to relate and organize scales, chords, arpeggios from any tonal, modal and expansions of those approaches for understanding and performing music on the guitar.

    There are other approaches that also work... but that is still the point, Getting to a skill level of playing that works.
    (without constant practice and adjustments etc...)

    Obviously personally the fingering are designed on how my hands work, and my needs of performance. I needed to sight read at professional levels, need to be able to perform live, play 1st time.... no practice or staring at guitar etc. And have Chops, at least enough to perform without practicing how to play.

    Advantages of the system, as mentioned above, are how easily the system lets music expand and change tonal and modal references without any thought.

    Example could be... Lark's Gmin. Aeolian. I naturally think, hear and see G aeolian and all the other modal and tonal scales, arpeggios, and chords from that G aeo. I can also easily think, hear and see all the possible functional, harmonic and melodic relationships from that G aeo. Is that Gmin a Tonic, subdominant or dominant reference collection of notes.

    Different Functional relationships create different organizations of expansion, what other chords, scales, arpeggios, embellishments and chord patterns are available etc... Yea maybe too much info...

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Mine is a minority view. My approach is to learn the notes, by name, in all the chords and scales you use, in all 12 keys. And, know every note on the fingerboard instantly. This is a lot of work, but so is every other way of getting there.
    I'm relatively new to guitar, but it seems odd to me that this would be the minority view. Where I come from in the electric bass world you either know where the notes are or you don't, and there aren't really any conventions like this since we don't normally play chords (not if we're actually working, at least lol).

    After about four years of studying guitar I only just figured out what the CAGED system was even trying to convey (it finally clicked when I saw all of the "campfire chord" voicings on C major across the board). I can see how it could be useful, but so far it's more distracting to me compared to simply knowing where the notes are and what the transposable chord shapes are.

    That said, from what I can glean of Reg's method from the OP's diagram, it seems to align with how I have approached the fretboard so far and seems like an extension of the kind of "modal" fingering system I've seen some guitarists use where the hand positions correspond to scale degrees: 7-1, 2, 3-4, 5, 6; or Locrian-Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian-Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by stringtapper
    I'm relatively new to guitar, but it seems odd to me that this would be the minority view. Where I come from in the electric bass world you either know where the notes are or you don't, and there aren't really any conventions like this since we don't normally play chords (not if we're actually working, at least lol).

    After about four years of studying guitar I only just figured out what the CAGED system was even trying to convey (it finally clicked when I saw all of the "campfire chord" voicings on C major across the board). I can see how it could be useful, but so far it's more distracting to me compared to simply knowing where the notes are and what the transposable chord shapes are.

    That said, from what I can glean of Reg's method from the OP's diagram, it seems to align with how I have approached the fretboard so far and seems like an extension of the kind of "modal" fingering system I've seen some guitarists use where the hand positions correspond to scale degrees: 7-1, 2, 3-4, 5, 6; or Locrian-Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian-Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian.
    I guess I don't know for certain if it's a minority view.

    Suppose someone says G dorian, what's the first thing you think of to play?

    Perhaps some think of a geometric pattern for dorian around the 3rd fret. And, presumably, they have other patterns for other frets.

    I think, "that's one flat, Bb". At one time, it was like I knew where all the white keys are on the guitar and I'd change all the Bs to Bb's. I don't have any organized way of finding those notes other than I know where they are on the fingerboard.

    Actually, that's an exaggeration. I learned some patterns before I adopted this approach. And I do practice arps. That's for when the music is faster than my brain.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Suppose someone says G dorian, what's the first thing you think of to play?
    Palestrina.*



    Oh, you're talking about what to play on the guitar! Right, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Perhaps some think of a geometric pattern for dorian around the 3rd fret. And, presumably, they have other patterns for other frets.

    I think, "that's one flat, Bb".
    I think "Gm7" first, but if "Dorian" is to imply a linear construction, then yeah, I'm probably thinking of playing a minor scale starting with the first finger on the 3rd fret, 6th string, with a downward shift or stretch to grab the E-natural.

    But I don't really think in modes like this anymore. Maybe the first few years of studying jazz because of the pervasiveness of chord/scale theory, but I generally tend to think in terms of key areas and chord construction.



    * This joke is rooted in the view that what many modern jazz musicians call "modal music" isn't really modal, at least not in the sense that the term applies to pre-tonal works using the ecclesiastical modes.

  13. #12

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    But there’s a serious point here. With most modal musics; Middle Eastern, plainchant, Carnatic and Hindustani etc, the pitch set of the given mode is also accompanied with melodic norms, and the music is non harmonic.

    In 16th century polyphony the conception is intervallic counterpoint added to a modal cantus firmus, so the cadences etc slowly move towards the modal system turning into the tonal
    system by the 17th century or so.

    A lot of folk music preserves those earlier practices though, like the bVII-I cadence and so on, dorian melodies and so on.

    In jazz you can clearly hear Charlie Christian etc using the dorian as a melodic device. This isn’t surprising. We see the major 6th heavily featured as a colour tone on minor chords.



    But melodically jazz musicians move between melodic minor and dorian pretty freely. They all do this, Wes, Charlie, Django, you name it. Leading seventh ascending, flat seventh descending quite often.

    Miles does it on So What! Of course if you actually listen to that record they aren’t playing ‘modal’ in the modern conception.

    In contemporary jazz theory the mode is basically freely used; it’s a pitch set really, not a mode at all. And of course it’s used to generate harmony as well as melody. Prior to this melody and harmony had separate existences to some extent. It also sounds like jazz guitarists have become less chromatic over time and more likely to play permutations of these pitch sets.

    That’s a subtle shift and I don’t think
    a lot of people get it. I associate it with the integration of the two hands in piano playing (Bill Evans as year zero in jazz harmony) and the change in the sound of the minor I chord from minor sixth to minor seventh (and extensions.)

    This separation of the melodic minor and dorian is I think quite a modern thing. Before then it was all minor with that colourful major 6th sound added to minor chords (which may have originated with Eddie Durham expect for the fact that Django loved it too and was playing it by the mid 30s)

    One good example of a real Dorian minor melody is Mr PC - earlier melodies would have used a leading seventh here.

    I think there’s a lot of value in creating line on the first five notes of minor by the way 1 2 b3 4 5 - if you check out a lot of solos a surprising number of lines are based on just this half scale.

    Anyway none of this is to do with the OP lol

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    Hello everybody,

    Throughout the years I've been browsing this forum I've read several posts from people raving about the so called "Reg fingerings", a fingering system/protocol for the major, harmonic minor and melodic minor scales designed by forum member Reg.

    While I always tried my best to see its advantages over other popular "systems" like CAGED or the 7-position Berklee fingerings I never really got it, I never understood the way @Reg, and @matt.guitarteacher explained it and why it was so good for seeing the fretboard as one big shape. It was probably because I'm a non-native speaker so some info might got lost in translation, secondly some of the info goes over my head to be honest and finally because its pretty difficult to explain I guess. Playing the fingerings is one thing but what you thinking about when you do that i.e. the mental visualization process can be difficult to put into words as everybody's brain works differently.

    This thread is primarily to ask Reg and Matt whether I understand the system and its advantages correctly but also to hopefully provide some insights for other people (lol that sounds like I know what I'm talking about while I'm not. Not really at least...)

    So before this I used CAGED, so 5 shapes. I think everybody knows these shapes. The nice thing IMO is that they prevent stretching (by using shifts) and also provide a form of visualization around the CAGED chord forms. I always looked at notes in relation to the root of the chord of the moment.

    The problem with this approach is that:
    - You need to 'repaint' the intervals in relation to the root for each new chord or key (if we for example want to switch from G Aeolian to G Phrygian) in your minds eye. For me this takes quite a lot of mental bandwidth so to speak.
    - In addition we have the problem that these scales feel very different where they often only differ in just 1 or 2 notes. For example, when playing G Ionian we play the 5th, the note D with our middle finger on the B string, 3rd fret. When playing G Mixolydian, just one note difference as we lower the F# to an F, we play this note using our index finger. When it comes to minor scale the finger used to play the root note of the scale is different than when playing its major variant (the index finger versus the middle finger)

    The big difference between CAGEd and the Reg fingerings is that the CAGED fingerings use the root of the chord of the moment as a reference (as I think about them anyway) i.e they are "relative" based i.e. you take the root of the chord of the moment as a reference and then and then build your scale around that. The E shape with the root on the 6th string using the second finger. The A shape with the root on the 5th string using the second finger. The C shape with the root on the 5th string using the pinky finger etc. However the thing is that this reference changes once the chord changes. In jazz we often play a large number of chords in a relative chord period of time (in comparison to most blues and rock at least...) so this gets overwhelming pretty quickly. We have a constantly changing reference!

    Reg's fingerings on the other hand use an absolute reference i.e. a reference that stays the same regardless of what key you are in, what scale you are playing or what the chord of the moment is. It doesn't change the whole time. But then what exactly stays the same? The NOTES themselves! While the C on the fifth string 3rd fret is the 4th in G but the 1 in C and the 2 in Bb it is always the note C (duh!).

    Big deal you might say...

    However, when you use your middle finger as a reference on the 6 string you get the same effect as on the piano. For example lets say we are in second position (index finger at the second fret) so middle finger is on the note G at the 6th string, 3rd fret. Now play the note E using your index finger on the 4th string, second fret. Now, regardless of the key you are in, or the chord you are playing etc, the note E can be found in that position (so middle finger on the 3rd fret) using that fingering. Doesn't matter if you are playing G Ionian, G Dorian, G Lydian, G Mixolydian but also G Phrygian, G Aeolian etc i.e. scales that have a b6 instead of a 6.

    In the above example we still take G as a root reference. IMO in Regs system we should make a distinction between the physical reference (the note under your middle finger on the sixth string) and the "musical reference" (for lack of a better term). Lets take the key of Dmajor as a musical reference but still using the same physical reference (your middle finger on the G note at the 3rd fret on the 6th string). So D is the 1, E is the 2, F# is the 3 etc. We know that based on our physical reference the note E is always at the 4 string, second fret. Same applies to the note D, it can always be found with your pinky on the fifth string, fifth fret, regardless of what key we are in GIVEN (note the emphasis ;p) that we are with our middle finger at the third fret, sixth string.

    This is in essence the same as on the piano. When you are playing the note C with the thumb of your right hand, you just know that the note E can be found two white keys up with your middle finger. When your thumb is at the note B, you know you can find the note E three white keys up with your ring finger. Since we have 12 keys we can start with our thumb at 12 different positions and we just know based on our thumb reference where all other notes are. On the guitar we have the same but instead of using our thumb as a reference we use our middle finger on the sixth string. We know that if we are playing the note C with our middle finger 6th string 8th fret the note E is at the 5th string, 7 fret under our index finger as well as on the 3rd string, 9th fret under our ring finger. This is always the same if we put our middle finger at the 8th fret sixth string.

    The thing is that you really need to know your notes on the neck, instantly! When using the CAGED/relative approach you can just think intervals without actually being really aware of the actual note names. While this is nice in the beginning the constant repainting of the intervals in context in your minds eye can get pretty overwhelming quickly. In addition you need to really know your keys/intervals e.g. F# is the 3rd of D but the 7th of G, 2nd of E etc. While this can take some work I think it helps in really mastering your instrument and other instrumentalists (piano, saxophone etc) talk about note names anyway instead of pure intervals AFAIK.

    This kind of solves the two problems with CAGED which I mentioned above:
    1. Instead of using a relative reference for both physical awareness (again, for lack of a better term) and musical awareness start by using an absolute reference as a physical reference and overlay on top of that a relative reference when making music in context.
    2. As you can see the Reg fingerings always use the same finger for a note in relation to the 6th string middle finger reference. When playing the D on the second string 3rd fret we always use our middle finger if our physical reference is the note G on the 6th string, 3rd fret.



    Sorry if this post may come across as an incoherent ramble, this is probably because I'm still absorbing it and as I said I'm not a native speaker.


    ==Questions==
    1. Is my understanding of the advantages of Regs fingering system correct?
    2. Im still a little bit unsure whether my approach to seeing scales with another root note than thats under my middle finger is correct. Lets take G again as a physical reference and then E as a musical reference, E phrygian for example. What is your thinking process? Do you know that E phrygian consists of E F G A B C D and you know the location of these notes in relation to our physical reference (the middle finger on the sixth string, third fret) and you know that theorethically F is the b2, G is the b3 B is the 5 etc? Or do you approach it another way?
    3. There was a video of Kurt Rosenwinkel explaining his scale fingerings which were exactly the same as the ones from Reg. However it seems liket his video is deleted. Does someone have a mirror ?
    4. One great thing about the CAGED system is how it unifies the scale, arpeggios and chords. Im not yet sure how the arpeggios fit into the scale fingerings. Of course I can pick out the arpeggio notes but I mean how to think about them. Especially arpeggios of which the root note is not the physical reference. For example F major7 when using C 8th fret as a physical reference. Do you still visualize a chord shape or do you know that Fmaj7 contains FACE and since you know where these notes lie in relation to the note under your middle finger you can see the arpeggio? Similarily, how do you visualize chords?


    Thank you!
    I look at that chart and see standard fingering for arpeggios with scale tones added in. This seems basically the way I learned to map the fretboard. These shapes are all very familiar and dare I say it, bog standard.

    What I find a bit suspect about the whole operation and can’t get my head around is naming the positions after modes. I can’t see how this can be helpful. They are two separate things, any there are also two distinct ways we can conceptualise modes both of which have their uses.

    I just look at that sort of thing and get a headache trying to work out how people can play music that way. But if you find it helpful, sure.

    but then to be honest I’ve never understood what Reg was saying, and to be frank given there are plenty of clearly laid out routes toward learning this stuff, not something I was keen to sink time into decoding. Matt might be able to explain it...

    Anyway I would actually suggest getting into one octave scale shapes and linking them together into longer combinations; this is a road less travelled and extremely useful for jazz. Great for mapping fast changes.

    From my own development as a player, I think there’s a tendency on guitar to use too much of the instrument, and playing lots of notes and big up/down arpeggios all the time that’s a more a habit rather than a conscious decision and encouraged by learning these big shapes across the strings; focussing on one register and making melodies within that can be very effective too. See Charlie Christian, Jim Hall etc.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-18-2021 at 06:11 AM.

  15. #14

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    Oh another point; so I teach a fair number of beginning / intermediate jazz guitarists.

    one thing that seems a surprisingly hard thing for more or less all of them to do is the following.

    Take a common or garden chord grip - say a G bar chord or something.

    Play each note of the chord with the first fretting hand finger. Now play portions of the chord with different fingerings.

    Almost everyone finds this hard at first. What this has taught me is you need to teach players to make a conceptual leap from grips to seeing notes on the fretboard even before you start giving them names or interval numbers.

    The same for scales. I would say that once the basic shapes are mastered it’s good to get used to playing them in all sorts of different ways. The ‘one fingered’ anti-technique thing seems a good way of getting away from the fingering/note connection a lot of guitar players have.

    I think this is essential work; being able to see where chord and scales tones etc are on the neck beyond being locked into fingerings. If you can do this over the whole neck, fingerings are very much a matter of convenience.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-18-2021 at 07:11 AM.

  16. #15

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    Phrygian dominant sounds funny to me. Phrygian already tells a beginner like me that you have a flat 2,3,6 and 7, informing your extensions. By calling it dominant are you saying you’re moving to a C Locrian or planning a key change playing e.g. Cmaj (nice we moved half a note down removing 5 sharps) . If one says to me Dorian I just think flat 3 and 7, or the notes of the major scale that starts one note lower are all valid.
    The shapes inform which notes to play both in lines and on extensions.
    Once you can do all that without thinking you can add your own notes: you will hear exactly how they will sound as you know exactly how the notes next to them sound without needing to play them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh another point; so I teach a fair number of beginning / intermediate jazz guitarists.

    one thing that seems a surprisingly hard thing for more or less all of them to do is the following.

    Take a common or garden chord grip - say a G bar chord or something.

    Play each note of the chord with the first fretting hand finger. Now play portions of the chord with different fingerings.

    Almost everyone finds this hard at first. What this has taught me is you need to teach players to make a conceptual leap from grips to seeing notes on the fretboard even before you start giving them names or interval numbers.

    The same for scales. I would say that once the basic shapes are mastered it’s good to get used to playing them in all sorts of different ways. The ‘one fingered’ anti-technique thing seems a good way of getting away from the fingering/note connection a lot of guitar players have.

    I think this is essential work; being able to see where chord and scales tones etc are on the neck beyond being locked into fingerings. If you can do this over the whole neck, fingerings are very much a matter of convenience.
    This is where I feel fortunate not to have grown up in "guitar culture."

    In my experience, the study and internalization of the core music fundamentals (what most people mean when they say "music theory"), as painful and boring as it seems to be to so many people, simply makes instrumental study easier because it frees you from being overly dependent upon instrument-specific conventions. Then it becomes about the raw mechanics of it; the "how" rather than the "what" or "why." If you've already got a thorough understanding of harmony and voice leading, then it's a matter of making your hands do the things to make the sounds you want to hear.

  18. #17

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    Yea... it is simple. A 12 fret six string fingering pattern that repeats. The names, terms etc... don't really matter. Like I've said a million times... label it whatever works for you....just finish whatever approach you use so you don't need to think about it. I don't unless I want to.

    It's really difficult to play Jazz without a developed level of technique on your instrument.

    When I see or hear G or G-7.... The entire fretboard reflects what I see, hear (or think). It's just plug and play.

    The other thing, we are talking on a Jazz forum, I would thing it would be OK to use Jazz Terms with their Jazz concepts.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by stringtapper
    This is where I feel fortunate not to have grown up in "guitar culture."

    In my experience, the study and internalization of the core music fundamentals (what most people mean when they say "music theory"), as painful and boring as it seems to be to so many people, simply makes instrumental study easier because it frees you from being overly dependent upon instrument-specific conventions. Then it becomes about the raw mechanics of it; the "how" rather than the "what" or "why." If you've already got a thorough understanding of harmony and voice leading, then it's a matter of making your hands do the things to make the sounds you want to hear.
    Thank you so much for making a distinction between fundamentals and theory; the lack of specific terminology for the two drives me potty.

    Of course the basic fundamental, the one thing you can't do without is the inner ear - the ability to hear what you are trying to play, be it a major scale or a bop line.

    But *most* guitarists are inveterate noodlers who never focus enough on what they are trying to play to actually execute it correctly, so we all end up bluffing our way through things. (I say we because that was true of me when I was younger.) I think the kinaesthetic approach to playing 'here's a position' is to blame here. You don't have to know what a time signature or a mode is to do this, but you have to be a musician, how have to hear music in detail...

    You can 'get away with it' in rock and pop (although not to play it well), but jazz kind of throws these things into sharp focus.

    This is quite separate from technique, practice positions etc, sure. But technique is fairly easy to teach anyway and there's a lot of info on it now.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    Phrygian dominant sounds funny to me. Phrygian already tells a beginner like me that you have a flat 2,3,6 and 7, informing your extensions. By calling it dominant are you saying you’re moving to a C Locrian or planning a key change playing e.g. Cmaj (nice we moved half a note down removing 5 sharps) . If one says to me Dorian I just think flat 3 and 7, or the notes of the major scale that starts one note lower are all valid.
    The shapes inform which notes to play both in lines and on extensions.
    Once you can do all that without thinking you can add your own notes: you will hear exactly how they will sound as you know exactly how the notes next to them sound without needing to play them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The terms for scales are a train wreck.

    I've always had disrespect for jargon and terminology. As a result, it just bothers me on a fundamental level that the names of the scales aren't synonymous with the names of the chords they represent the most obvious choice for. We should simply refer to G mixolydian as the G7 scale, G lydian dominant as the G7#11 scale, G7b9b13 for Phrygian Dominant, and so on.

    That way instead of talking about using the lydian dominant on G7, you say instead you are playing G7#11 (the 9th and 13th are assumed to be natural in this convention); which makes absolute sense. I honestly don’t think if we did this tomorrow anyone would be confused by it.

    (For non seven note scales, you say, pentatonic, half-whole and whole tone etc as we do now.)

    Then all the seven note scales in common use can be defined by their variations from the diatonic norm via the chord symbol. Altered is a shorthand for that particular chord symbol (7b5b9#9b13 or whatever.)

    actually we sort of do already, just in a really wordy way.

    There's not even an established convention on what to call the ‘Phrygian Dominant scale’ - some people call it 'mixolydian b9 b13' which I think is the Berklee approved term now. It's so long winded, but I do prefer it to Phrygian Dominant because at least it prioritises application 'mixolydian goes on dominant' and follows my convention. I’d actually prefer to call it minor key dominant.

    Altered is a decent name - does what it says on the tin, and tells you what you need to know as a player (perhaps '7alt' would be better, but anyway.)

    There are (as Mark Levine points out, of all people) only a small number of scales we actually use. The modal names are about how we use them, and I can't see why we simply wouldn't use the names of the chord as the label for the scale. I mean that's the basic idea of chord scales, right?

    Unless they put the names in to make music sound more complicated than it actually is of course lol.

    In practice most who have been through the jazz schools just know these names very well now, so it's not really fixing any sort of problem that exists, and doesn't even relate to the way I teach or think about applying scales (I use the parent scales and teach rules of application) it just sort of bugs me on an OCD level lol. And I think it's a bit intimidating for beginners of course.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-20-2021 at 10:24 AM.