# 3 octaves scales and thumb position

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Mister Cbass, Apr 28, 2020.

1. ### Mister Cbass

Jun 30, 2011
France
Hello,

I saw many fingerings for the scales, maybe they are all good ( depending the players, situation, style) But That makes me confused.

I do't have my DB with me, I will try to be clear.
Example for A major and Minor
--> A minor when I'm will shift on the thumb position on the G string / High G note

I've found the following fingerings :

1-Just after the F --> plays the G with 3 and after shift in the thumb position
(T on G) --> finger 2 for the A ( I saw with finger 1 too, with and extension ?)
Maybe if We play the f before the G with de finger 1 ? strange for me.

2- SHift on Thumb posistion to play the G --> finger 2 to play the A
( the more logical for me )

--> A major

I just wanna know. In the thumb position on the G # --> Must I play :
Thumb on G flat ( I don't play It) + finger 1 to play G# + finger 2 to play A
Or I must start the thumb position on G# ?

Thanks for help

Sébastien

2. ### Steve FreidesFormer Mannes College Theory FacultySupporting Member

Dec 11, 2007
Ridgewood, NJ
@Mister Cbass

There are many ways to do the things you're asking about. I would avoid searching for the "One True Way" to finger a multi-octave scale.

Here is how I teach the last few notes of various two-octave major scales.

Ending 2-4, thumb behind neck

E: 2 on D#, 4 on E
F: 2 on E, 4 on F
F#: 2 on E#, 4 on F#

G: 1 on E, 4 on F#, 3 on G harmonic (if not going higher)

Ending 2-3, thumb at side of neck

G: 2 on F#, 3 on G (as prep for Ab and A)
Ab: 2 on G, 3 on Ab
A: 2 on G#, 3 on Ab

Thumb position
Bb: T on G, 1 on A, 2 on Bb
B: T on G (not played), 1 on G#, 2 on A#, 3 on B
C: T on G, 1 on A, 2 on B, 3 on C

My opinion is that it's best to get really good at putting your thumb on G before learning to put it on other notes

-S-

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3. ### Mister Cbass

Jun 30, 2011
France
Hello,

Thanks, sounds good to me .

3 on G ( high), depend on wich finger I come before.

and this
B: T on G (not played), 1 on G#, 2 on A#, 3 on B

For my exemple, with the A major, I was not sure if I must play

thumb on G sharp and A with finger 1 or thumb on G ( not play) G sharp with 1 --> A with 2

So --> T ( G not played ) + 1 + 2 --> ok for me.

After that if I have well understood .
For example with a chromatic --> on the G string --> Thumb G / F1 G#/ F2 A / F3 A# and after I shift the thumb to the B 1,2,3 shift thumb etc etc

4. ### Steve FreidesFormer Mannes College Theory FacultySupporting Member

Dec 11, 2007
Ridgewood, NJ
I have seen different approaches to this. For me it would depend on how far up I was going, and if I had to play chromatically for an octave as you've described, I think I might ask if I could put the bass down and pick up my cello.

My preferred approach is to "take the thumb with you" but use fingers. To continue my major scale list from above.

C#: T on G (not played), 1 on G#, 2 on A#, 2 on B#, 3 on C
D: T on G, 1 on A, 2 on B, 2 on C#, 3 on D

When I move as I go 2 - 2, I put my thumb on A, IOW, I slide my entire hand up a whole step. I'm only using my thumb once, on G, but I am moving my thumb. For me, muscle memory is important, so I want to maintain the integrity of my hand position as I move around, even for the notes I'm not playing. I see many folks give up on keeping their thumb on the bass for a 2-octave D major scale - I try not to do that.

If I really had to play chromatically up there, I'd probably use my thumb again as you've suggested, but I honestly can't remember having to do that - no one has ever asked me to play a 3-octave chromatic scale and, G-d willing and the creek don't rise, no one ever will.

-S-