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D and Eb Scales in Thumb Position

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by John Crosley, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. I have not been able to get a lesson for some time now, so I can't really ask my teacher. I am trying to work up some exercises (Scales and Arpegios) in thumb position. In studying on here and other forums, shifting seems to be the key to a lot of this instrument, both upper and lower registers.

    I have got (or am getting) down poitions for C, G, F, and Bb. How do you guys play D or Eb (as well as any other 'non-open') scales in TP? My fingering i started using is as follows:

    D string - Thumb on the D octave, E - 1, F# -2, G - 3, shift both string and position to the G string and play A - T, B - 1, C# - 2, D - 3.

    Kind of a tetra chord pattern of fingering. I do the same for the Eb scale. Is this acceptable, and/or correct? What should I be doing? Also, what about say Ab, F#, B, Db, and any other closed fingered scales? Both major and minor, as well as blues scales (as I know them E for example E, G, A, Bb, B, D, E). Help is very much appreciated! :help: :confused: :eek: :meh:
  2. i will try to give a good starting fingering for the D-major scale. It uses the D and G string and includes one shift. Hope this notation makes sense:

    Note - Finger (string, if changed)

    D - 1 (D), E - 2, F# - t (G), G - 1, A - 3
    Shift-> B - 1, C# - 2, D - 3

    you can take this pattern up a half step for Eb. In fact, the teacher that showed this to me had me take it up chromatically to G and then back down. Hope this is helpful
  3. ethnotime


    Sep 24, 2006
    New York, NY
    that's a good one. Also try:

    D String: D(t) E(1) F#(2)
    G String: G(t) A(1) B(2) then shift up C#(1) D(2)
  4. Thanks for the tips guys. Meandering, I put together my own triad inversion exercise and the fingering you give fits really well with what I am trying to do. It just seems like some of those shifts in playing the actual scales are really big.

    I don't spend a whole lot of time up there in my actual playing situations, but I am always wanting to be prepared just in case a phrase hits me that I just need to get out.

    I have read elsewhere in these forums that I can use the thumb as a movable capo. with that in mind, the 'closed' scales I am asking about (B, Db, etc.) can be played simply moving my hand a half step one way or the other? E.G. for B my thumb would actually be on the C# (D string) instead of the octave as in playing the C scale?
  5. Check the fingerings again. There is only one shift and it is a whole step, e.g. A to B for D major. Could be an issue with my imperfect notation. Let me know if it's not clear.

    The fingering i presented can be viewed this way as well. In the starting position, your first finger plays the root and your thumb the third. Try playing the D major scale ascending then descending. Once your return to the root, slide your first finger up a half step and use the same fingering, e.g. an Eb major scale. Continue moving up in half steps until your reach, say, G or your hand gives out. This will really work your thumb position, so take it slow.
  6. Yes, it is a whole step only, but I am also studying 'finger replacement' techniques. I am looking at the third finger on the A, then shift to the thumb on the B as being a big shift due to having to target a note not already under my hand in some way. The thumb is actually shifting a fourth. Or am I missing something?
  7. i see what you mean now. If you use your first finger for the B, try shifting your thumb behind it to A. This way the B,C#,D sequence is played in the "diatonic position" (using Petracchi's nomenclature). The thumb then shifts up a minor 3rd. NOTE: the diatonic position covers the first four notes of a major scale with t,1,2,3.

    To smooth out the shift, i've started the scale at A (with finger 3) and played up to D and back down (over and over and over).

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