1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

"Fractal Fingering" applied to Jazz

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by flatback, Apr 1, 2020.


  1. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    In all the down time I have been checking into the video series Fractal Fingering by David Allen Moore and produced by the wonderful Geoff Chalmers.
    Totally excellent value as a lesson series, and an approach that has a lot of application for jazz bassists looking to forge new pathways across the fingerboard. Specifically it gets into ways of movement that allow strong melodic shapes to be created and connected while anchoring to points on the fingerboard that strengthen ones understanding and orientation of the vast ebony savanna. I have only been viewing the lessons for a day but within that day I have adopted Mr. Moores approach whole heartedly and find myself incorporating it immediately.
    Want specifics? Imagine strategies for elegant musical shifting using each of the left hand fingers (it deals mostly with thumb position but pulls thumb position way back down below the G harmonic) Mr. Moore has openly used as inspiration Edgar Mayer's techniques and has organized brilliantly a way to develop these movements and solidify their practical usage.
    For example within a short time I was playing scales and arpeggios up two strings in ways that are so efficient and connected and sure footed that they promise to become new highways of melodic material.
    I have spent several months studying Bergonzi's pentatonic book and how it applies to Upright and also doing a lot of transcribing of Scott Lafaro and Dave Holland. From that, I have found these Diminished and Whole Tone super highways that allow one to quickly move in and out of high colortones. This quick movement from lower chord tones to color tones allows the lower pitched Upright bass to activate the color without it sounding like a new key or chord. Using the pentatonic orientation on the bass with it's positional use of 4ths (and then moving those structures chromatically for color) is enhanced by this Fractal fingering concept.
    Now Mr.Moore sticks to major and minor exercises and scales but applying his ideas to pentatonics, whole tone scales and diminished permutations has tremendous viability for bassists looking to get beyond the fundamentals.
    One thing I noticed similar between Scott Lafaro and Mr Moore for example is the orientation of the hand away from a traditional locked grip opening and toward the verticality of the string so that there is a more integrated organic weaving of the movement across strings and up strings.
    Mr. Moore was unknown to me previously, but one can see that his agile mind and organized concept is focused on practical applicable musical considerations, rather then pedantic extrapolations or classical strategies that have little crossover applicability.
    I'm so looking forward to getting back at it today. I would spend $100 on a lesson with Mr Moore any day of the week, but to have Geoffs excellently structured video breakdown and PDF's as part of the deal really is a value.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
    Froth, garrett2, geoffbassist and 5 others like this.
  2. I have the book and have really enjoyed it so far. It definitely seems like a great addition to Petracchi's "Simplified Higher". The whole concept of creating a grid on the fingerboard with your left hand has tons of helpful applications. I haven't bought the whole lesson pack from Discover Double Bass, but I use some of his exercises from that and from the book with some of my students and it's really effective material. So far I haven't dug too deep into it during the quarantine, but I'm gonna have to dive into it some more and try out what you've done with applying his concepts to more jazz vocabulary scales!
     
    Fat bob, garrett2 and flatback like this.
  3. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Any concrete examples of Fractal fingering? The term is new to me. But sounds intriguing.
     
  4. LaFaro01

    LaFaro01

    Aug 27, 2018
    I did so some days ago and my first impressions of the course and the ideas behind are really impressive... unfortunately I didn't find the time to dig in deeper so far... but reading your comment lets me become more and more impatient...;) I just have to organize some more time...:p
     
  5. I find your description very intriguing, and must learn more. These concepts sound very similar to revelations I have recently discovered by myself, while learning to play in the higher positions. For me, just learning to play in the upper positions (and learning more about harmonics) has helped me to produce rich and complex sounds that were available in my instrument all along. Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Well I don’t want to give his concept away ... but one interesting fundamental is that the distance between major string nodes is all the same, so between D up to G on g string is the same as D down to Bb is the same as Bb down to the nut and upward same way... high D harmonic up to high high D same distance.... I had learned this once but he contextualizes it in terms of spacial orientation and anchor points in ways that are very useful. His discussion of how to use the strength and orientation of the hand and arch of the knuckle is super informative. Because of the nature of jazz bass his particular emphasis on the virtuosic possibilities of the instrument and particularly ( although this is my editorializing) their MELODIC usefulness ( read arpeggio)
    And how to get around arpeggios and their counterpart inversions (read how to move around in thirds forth fifths and sixths) in ways that make sense for improvisation. I come to bass from keyboard where there is only one physical note for every pitch and those instruments have a very fluid improvisational interface where as bass has so many possibilities for how to get around that you might spend a lifetime without considering ( let alone mastering) other theories of movement ( around the fingerboard) I call them highways or superhighways and they enable a whole other level of melodic flexibility. Just take pentatonics for example ( so as not to spill any more fractal beans) but the five note scale only gets interesting when you skip notes, which manifests on the bass to moving around in 4ths. Well if you don’t do that very often ( it is surprising to me how many bassists can’t move easily in 4 ths) a whole world of the strongest melodic and improvisational material isn’t available. Music sounds weaker without it ( pentatonics happen to be, as an interval set made up of the strongest intervals)... and c’est voila boring bass accompaniment and solos.But it takes a big commitment to get beyond the basics, and one has to see the goal. I used to just sit there pondering how Scott Lafaro or Dave Holland (Emerald Tears anyone?) could come up with just vast amounts of fresh melodic invention at top speed and swinging. From Newtonian physics I knew that in order for something complexto be done effortlessly it has to be easy for the do’er. But how to get there? And the answer isn’t “oh you can do anything if the action is low enough.”
    The answer is to adopt methods of movement like this fractal fingering that cleverly weave an economical movement strategy through relevant adaptable melodic material and whose refinements are practical while jugging other balls... like simultaneous accompaniment. It’s rad man, I’m digging it.
     
    Froth, equill, oliebrice and 2 others like this.
  7. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Maybe just one or two short examples with notes that demonstrate it?
     
  8. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Look at the you tube videos he gives lots of it as teaser... but While I really want to promote a good thing, I also want to protect these fine teachers intellectual property.
     
    Brad_Pearson and Phil Rowan like this.
  9. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
  10. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Ok thanks. I have read that and watched some videos. Do you think Edgar Meyer actually thinks consciously about Fractal fingering or is familiar with it? Or is it something he does unconsciously?
     
  11. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    No I think you missed the lineage... Mr Moore like many of us has marveled at Mr. Meyer’s technique and ability but had the great intelligence and gift to be able to formulate a system based partly on Mr Meyer’s approach. He himself is a mother#%&@*^ and Mr. Meyer is only mentioned in passing... I’m sorry if I implied otherwise.
     
    Les Fret likes this.
  12. CaseyVancouver

    CaseyVancouver

    Nov 4, 2012
    12819941-566F-4F4D-A016-97AED9FE5C92.jpeg

    The above quote is from Jason Heath.

    I think Moore came up with the name ‘fractal fingering’, after analyzing Meyer’s playing.
    Moore is a smart cookie.

    Speaking of fingering, I’m a big believer of playing at the heel (vs lower positions) and using the thumb below the usual position it gets notated. For some unknown reason I don’t hear many bass players talk about this.

    The thicker strings higher up rather than lower position on thinner strings sound deeper, for either jazz or classical. Your bass will sound like a more expensive bass. Better to move across strings than leap positions. The thumb works really nicely even at the start of the heel. Takes more skill of course but the reward is a better sound. Imho.


    On divisi parts often I can play both parts simultaneously incorporating the thumb in lower positions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    mtto, Les Fret and garrett2 like this.
  13. garrett2

    garrett2 Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    He is an incredibly clear and gifted teacher. Now I want a Boris Fritsch bow!
     
    flatback likes this.
  14. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    It was more that Casey said 'watch Edgar Meyer'. I think Edgar himself is not familiar with the term Fractal fingering nor does he think in those concepts. Nor do the other players you mentioned like Scott Lafaro or Dave Holland.
     
  15. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Yeah... no ... obviously no one has heard of it he just made it up, that is why I’m talking about it ( no offense) but scott lafaro if you watch the 2 or 3 minutes of video available and Dave Holland both use some of these principals. All you have to do is try it and you hear immediately certain phrasing naturalities that you recognize from their playing. Dave uses triads extensively in his playing and how he gets around them ( where and on what finger to shift or hammer seems clearer to me after digging on this cats method. Shifting off of the first finger on the D string and grabbing scale triads from that for example ... I snagged that years ago from Dave Holland (Jumpin In?) but the way Mr Moore incorporates that concept into a wider more inclusive system is really cool... to me.
     
    Phil Rowan and Les Fret like this.
  16. The teaser videos alone offer a lot of to get under your fingers. I may spring for both of his courses eventually.
     
    flatback likes this.
  17. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    No offense taken.
    But it is bit hard to discuss this topic if we don't have concrete fingering examples. Otherwise it stays vague and esoterical. I have seen the short videos but that doesn't give me very concrete examples.

    I don't see why that applies to above mentioned players since they didn't know about the concept themselves. It's theory after the fact I guess.

    I understand the secrecy and that we should buy the videos. You needn't give the whole thing away but a few concrete examples that really demonstrate the concept or benefits of this would be helpful. Otherwise discussing it is not really possible.
     
    flatback likes this.
  18. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    Between the video teasers, that review and the discussion on here (thanks flatback), I'm sold. Sounds fascinating, and good timing for some new inspiration... Will try to post some thoughts on here once I've spent some time with it
     
    flatback and Phil Rowan like this.
  19. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    +1. I'm in as well. Might be some time before I get around to really digging in, but I certainly look forward to doing so. Thank you, @flatback , for such an in depth write up.
     
    flatback and oliebrice like this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 4, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.