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Decsending shift from thumb to pinky.

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Michael Case, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. I can't seem to get it. I have talked to my teacher and he tells me to practice the shift, I have and still feel as if it isn't happening. Basiclly I was wondering if anyone has dealt with this problem and could suggest anything to help.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    What's the problem specifically? Intonation? Try to maintain contact with the string when shifting.
  3. I think the two major reasons why people miss notes on shifts are:

    1. They don't hear the note they're shifting to in the head in advance of actually playing it.

    2. They let their hand get floppy/sloppy. Get the feel of playing F with 4 in your hand. 1 should be on Eb and 2 on E. You can try visualizing the shift as T-> 1 on Eb.
  4. Special K:
    Just where the hell have you been?
    Do you have a note from your doctor?
    Now stick around.
  5. To add on K's useful advice, try also paying more attention to the role of the thumb in such a shift. Think of leading or driving the shift with the thumb for a few days of practice.

    If you're thinking only about the target finger throughout the shift, especially if its #4, that finger is pushing all the rest of the hand, including thumb, along ahead of it. This can contribute to the floppy-sloppy hand problem that DK pointed out.

    As you probably already know, the thumb needs to follow a spiral path, spiraling from the working surface of the fingerboard around to the back of the neck for notes from F or F# and below, depending on your bass. Basically its simply the reverse of the path of a shift up into a thumb position from a neck position.

    Try executing your shift with more energy and awareness in the thumb. But of course, watch out - more energy should NOT mean excess tension, and the shift should not finish in a desperate grasping of the neck. Just visualize the exact point on the back of the neck that the thumb wants to end up at for the note you are trying to finger, and try to drive the thumb along the spiral to that point decisively and accurately, but of course still suitably relaxed.

    As you learn to do this better you'll find that the other fingers, "pinky" included, will find their own way to the right notes much more easily and with more speed.

    hope this helps
  6. Thanks for the replies!
    It seems like a sloppy hand thing which affects the intonation, but when I get the shift right my intonation is pretty good. It seems like my pinky just can't get the mark. It's hard for me to explain but I'm sure most of you guys know what I'm talking about.
    Thanks again,