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One finger per fret

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, May 13, 2003.

  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've been working through Mel Bay's Note Reaing Exercises for Bass (Pacman's suggestion; Thanks!), and I'm running into a question of hand position. Is it best to keep one finger per fret, and move the entire hand to the next position (5th fret) when the music starts moving up, or just go with what feels more natural (I mostly use my index and pinky and not much middle or ring finger)? I tune in 5ths (CGDA), and my hands aren't very big, so I'm having to do some jumps to reach certain notes. Any thoughts?
  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    For exercises, I'd suggest staying in one position, and using one finger per fret, then move the whole hand to the next position. Don't hurt yourself (I know I would w/ 5ths on bass if I tried to keep all my fingers down over four scale notes, I can't even do that on guitar), but stretch a little. Though I'm not sure what the exercise is (for some it might not be appropriate), this way at least you'll exercise your lesser-used fingers, which is a good thing.
  3. 5ths? I tried that on my 6 string after reading of a classical bassist that does that. It was too wide a range for that many strings to handle. I've been in 4ths for too long.

    I'd say, stay in positions for sight reading if in 4ths (though I'm not certain that's valid with 5ths).

    It seems that 5ths cover so large an area that you will need tremendous reach with your fingers (i can do it but only because of genetics and 5ths were still tough). Realistically I think you'll need to master shifting; staying in one position with that tuning I don't think will work (i tried it briefly, so I know where your coming from)

    I'll have to dig up an old Bass Player magazine to let you know the guys name I heard about this tuning on bass from. He's the man that can help the most I think. He's an upright classical player. I don't remember it off-hand.
  4. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Isn't it George Mraz?
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    In fifths you will definitely need to do some shifting around but I can't see any advantage in treating your fretboard as if it's divided into fixed chunks (eg. 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, etc). That way, you're going to sometimes find yourself jumping to the next block for one or two notes and then back again.

    Instead, I'd suggest trying to minimise shifts within each musical phrase. Where you need notes to run together, try to make sure they're all available in one position (as far as possible) - try and put shifts (especially larger ones) in the 'breathing spaces' of the music.

    BTW, you might find it worth looking for what cellists are taught, that being a relatively large instrument that is routinely tuned in fifths. It won't necessarily apply directly but would certainly be worth considering.

  6. Mraz? Kind of sounds familiar.