I need exercises to connect the scales and arpeggios across the fingerboard.

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by fivaras, Nov 27, 2013.


  1. fivaras

    fivaras

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    Hello everyone. I am new to the instrument and i have been practising without a teacher (i only took a couple of lessons just to get the proper left hand technique). Lately i have been studying scales in the lower positions and scales in one string. I was wondering whether you could give some advice on how to proceed to the scales and arpeggios in the upper positions (not thumb position, at least not yet!) so i can connect them with the lower ones and introduce them to my playing. I can say it is quite intimidating, especially due to the intonation issues. Any exercises, fingering patterns etc?
    Thanks
  2. bassist1962

    bassist1962

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  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    I'd suggest start doing scales in two octaves; major, natural, harmonic and melodic minor. I haven't looked at your profile, but since you're posting on the double bass side of the board, I'm going to make the assumption that you're playing double bass. Thumb position is another thing altogether, it's going to take more than a couple of lessons to "get the proper left hand technique". You can do this stuff the hard way or the easy way, I'm not sure why you don't want to take as much advantage of the easy way and work with somebody who has been through all of this before. As one who had to spend a LOT of time trying to unlearn bad, ingrained habits so that I could progress past the brick wall I hit, easier is better than harder.

    How are you practicing arpeggios now?
  4. bassist1962

    bassist1962

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  6. neal davis

    neal davis

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    Tetra chords are fantastic. Every time I give a student them they think it is really easy but then when they start discovering all the combinations their mind really starts to see the possibilities.

    My first teacher was given these from Ray Brown when he was teaching in Toronto in the 50's and has given them to countless students since.
  7. fivaras

    fivaras

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    I am sure that a teacher would really help me a lot. However, i can't afford to take lessons since my finances are not going well lately. I'm planning to take lessons in the future though.
    Of course a couple of lessons are not enough to get the proper left hand technique, but i have been working a lot on my own (even before the 3 lessons). The teacher told me that my left hand posture was more or less right but i had to really work on my stamina since i had this habit of squeezing really hard with just the fingers and not with more of my upper body muscles. Lately i am more relaxed and i can say i made some progress.
    As far as the arpeggios are concerned i play one octave arpeggios in the lower positions in different patterns using the cycle of fifths. And i use open strings when i can. Thanks for the advice!
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    Sorry, I'm on my iPad and can't hyperlink, so I'm copying and pasting from another thread. Here's an exercise I found useful:
    I'm not much for multi tasking when you're trying to learn stuff, at least for me it actually makes it harder. My suggestion would be to back up a little bit and start with triads, there are only 4 - major, minor, diminished and augmented. I would work on them in the following way:
    Start with C as the root, metronome set at quarter note = 60bpm and play as quarter notes- root position major, minor, diminished, augmented first inversion major, minor, diminished, augmented and then second inversion major, minor, diminished, augmented. Do this in all keys.
    Then the second part of the exercise - root position, then first inversion, then second inversion major triads, then root position, then first inversion, then second inversion minor triads, then root position, then first inversion, then second inversion diminished triads and then finally the same thing for augmented.
    These are all in closed position. After you can do all of these in all keys, start pushing the metronome up a few clicks at a time. This isn't an exercise that you go from 60 to 120 in one sitting, take your time and get solid in each time stream before you move up.
    ASIDE - this is not an exercise that works on time feel or solidifying your time. The sole reason for using a metronome (and adjusting the time stream up as you become more comfortable) is to place pressure on physical execution. Anything in terms of fingering, position shifts, even knowing what the next note is becomes exposed as the time pressure increases. This shows you what to concentrate on.

    So the next part of the exercise is to both parts again in OPEN position triads, that is, instead of the notes being "in order" (1 3 5, 3 5 1, 5 1 3) they are spread (1 5 3, 3 1 5, 5 3 1) and always ascending. That is, each note is a higher pitch than the one preceding it. Please let me know if this is not clear.

    Then you do the same with 4 part chords, root and 3 inversions in open and closed position.
    That starts getting fingering, shifting and identification issues out of the way. Have you seen this? I don't know if this is how you are approaching your exercise of playing arpeggios/chord tones through tunes, but the exercise of playing the "chord line" using root positions and inversions to maintain proximity of fingering and to start hearing voice leading between chords was one I found very useful.

    Also, it might be useful to check out a sticky in the MUSIC THEORY section of the DB side called REALLY Learning a Tune.
  9. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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  10. Zojo

    Zojo

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    Ed--I think people would learn more efficiently if they did your exercises, but learned the majors in all keys, then minors, etc. The problem with working all patterns in one key is that you are keeping most of the pattern in short term memory while you practice. Going from C major to C minor allows you to draw on the C major in your short term memory, with a modification of the third. Going from C major to a different major chord forces you to draw all three notes from long term memory. It's a little harder at first, but more effective. it also more realistically emulates the way one encounters chords in real music.

    I like the patterns, but there is a diminishing return on repetitions held in short term memory.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    You, of course, are more than welcome to do whatever you want. It worked out just fine for me. And for any number of musicians coming through the Tristano/Mosca pedagogy.
  12. Zojo

    Zojo

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    Likewise, you are welcome to do whatever you want.

    Whether your schedule works fine was never in question. Many schedules will work fine. But in regard to an optimal schedule, we know a lot more about how memory works now than when your protocol was developed.
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    Anywhere to hear what that sounds like?
  14. Zojo

    Zojo

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    There are thousands of examples of musicians who practice patterns through the cycle of fifths, or modulating any other interval, or even using randomization to do exactly what I suggest. I'm surprised you are not familiar with this concept.

    We are only talking about pattern memorization. There is plenty of research out there, if you care to look. Repeating the same or similar patterns over and over in short term memory is not an efficient way to learn a lot of patterns. Just because something worked for you does not mean it can't be improved on.

    In fact, the OP could do his own experiment. Just divide the keys up into two groups of equal difficulty. Learn all patterns in one key for one group. Learn each key for one inversion in one position for the other. Practice each group for the same amount of time.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    OK.
    Good luck with that.
    Have a blessed day.
  16. Zojo

    Zojo

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    Thanks. You too.
  17. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Ed's method sounds more like Putter Smith's - which I think is genius. I guess that makes Ed's way genius, too.

    It does work. You learn more about the "sound" of a chord, which helps with transposing, or having to play a tune in a less familiar key.

    Putter, goes beyond triads (maybe Ed does, too). Putter does arpeggios, along with scales, though the 13th.

    If you follow this method, and I'm sure Ed's as well, you will know you fingerboard/fretboard inside and out.
  18. fivaras

    fivaras

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    Thanks guys, these sound really useful, although similar to what i have been doing, i guess i will just have to keep it going. Another issue that i have to stress out is that someone practising arpeggios and scales must not stick to the fingering patterns. They must know all of their notes before even playing them. This may sound cliche but it is not always that way. Especially for me. I have been playing the electric bass for many years and my mind has "stuck" to the fingering patterns. I have realized that it is not the same way in the DB approach. It is not that easy to absorm all this new information.
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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    Just by way of clarification, the exercise I describe is not "mine", I got it from my teacher, who got it from his teacher, Lennie Tristano.

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