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Is there a point to playing the same scale with different fingering?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by xdanxx, Aug 20, 2012.


  1. xdanxx

    xdanxx

    Mar 12, 2008
    Just finished one of Scott's videos where he recommends practicing scales in many different finger positions.

    For instance your typical major scale can be done this way:


    G|----------------2-4-5
    D|----------2-3-5------
    A|-----3-5-------------
    E|---------------------

    but it can also be done this way:


    G|------------------4-5--
    D|-----------3-5-7-------
    A|-----3-5-7-------------
    E|-----------------------

    Aside from building technique, what purpose does this serve? Just seems pointless since they are the same exact scale, same exact notes. I could understand learning the scale an octave up, but this just seems like a waste of time. Comments?
     
  2. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

    Nov 17, 2010
    One would think that building technique would be sufficient justification, but there's much more to it than that. The basic concept is that you never know where you're going to wind up on the fingerboard, so knowing where the diatonic (or other scale) notes, and various intervals and inversions, are all over the fingerboard and starting from different fingers is key to being able to craft a line on the spot.

    I suppose if you just play in first position for the rest of your life you don't need to know the whole board. Beyond this, playing scales or melodies from different starting points and with different fingers opens up all sorts of "new" possibilities in terms of voicings of double-stops, melodic approaches that turn out to be easy in one position while difficult in another position, etc.

    Basically, learning the whole fingerboard using multiple fingering conventions can only lead to more interesting ideas rather than less-interesting ideas. Considering that Western music's been played for hundreds of years, more interesting ideas is a good thing, right?
     
  3. Tupac

    Tupac

    May 5, 2011
    Exactly. It helps you make more interesting sounding solos when you're able to command the fretboard like that rather than being trapped into a little box, thinking you have to play THIS fret to get the note you want.
     
  4. Also, you can slide up-to/down-to/into those notes when you
    know where to find them on a given string. Playing bass isn't
    always about playing discrete notes.
     
  5. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Yes. You will tend to approach the notes differently (and thus play different things) when they are " in a different pattern". It can also sound different, because of where you switch strings - especially at higher speeds.

    Finally, it keeps you from having to jump from position A (where you're currently playing) to position B (where the next tonality starts, and you'll need that different scale). If you only know the scale in one pattern, you pretty much have to jump around every time you change tonality.
     
  6. E natural on the D string, E natural on the A string, and E natural on the E are each marked by a large difference in tone, one from the other. This alone is a good enough reason for me to learn multiple fingerings.
     
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Practicing things every way you can possibly think of informs you about how the same passage sounds played in different places and what the easiest way to play it is. I think for most people these are the two determining factors in deciding where to play something. If you only practice it in one way you close the door on these choices.
     
  8. xdanxx

    xdanxx

    Mar 12, 2008
    valid points, thanks for the responses.
     
  9. I learned scales across two octaves, with up and down using different fingering positions.
    My favourite exercise (following above):
    - Emaj scale (2 octave), F#m scale (etc), G#m, A, B, C#m, D#dim, E.
    - then Fmaj scale, Gm, Am, Bb, C, Dm, Edim, F.
    - Gmaj, Am, Bm, C, D, Em (drop to low E), etc.

    Some things we only truly understand when we look back.
     

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