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Practicing scales, best way

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DaBassman, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    I read an interview in Bass Player this month with Dave Holland. He said when he practices, he still runs thru all 12 major scales to start off. Now, it's the same pattern whether you start on C to C or move down one fret to C#, D, E... etc. I assume I'm not understanding his comment because that doesn't seem to teach me anyting about the notes in a particular scale......what am I missing?
  2. Andy Cleaver

    Andy Cleaver A show of hands....

    Dec 16, 2004
    England, Midlands
    He just means that he plays all 12 major scales so that he is covering all 12 keys. This stops him getting to used to playing in a certain key, and so he feels comfortable when playing in any key.

    As for learning anything about the notes, alone that won't do you much good. Start saying the note names whilst playing through them, play through the scales in sequences, learn how each note relates to the root (intervals)etc. This will help you learn a lot more about the notes when playing through all 12 major scales rather than as you said, just the patterns! :)
  3. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    Thanks! But, do I play the 12 scales all from the same "position"/ part of the neck, or just keep moving down the neck fret by fret......
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The other thing he's doing is practicing them in two octaves, which puts you all over the range of the instrument. What he's doing is NOT trying to remember where the notes are on the instrument, he's maintaining "physical fitness" working on transitions of position/shifting, reinforcing "elegant" shifts etc.

    The thing that you may be missing is that dave plays primarily double bass, which is an entirely different animal than electric bass guitar. You don't just transpose "patterns", there are any number of fingerings that can be used for any given scale and which you choose is generally based on what gives you the least stressed (physically) fingering. It may be that you shift positions a lot to maintain ease and proximity, it may be that you stay with one position.

    The other thing you are missing is that generally the way to practice the 12 keys is NOT chromatically. Many people use the circle of fifths (that way you start reinforcing the accidentals of the key signatures also), some will create "progressions" to move through (up a minor third, up a fourth; up the whole tone scale etc.)

    And the final thing you're missing is that Dave talks about going through these as a practice for doing long tones arco.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.

    I know it seems like you are moving "down" since your hand keeps getting closer to the floor. But, since we're talking about music here, if you listen to the PITCHES you're playing, they are going UP in pitch. So generally when you play in that direction, people say you are playing UP or HIGHER not DOWN or LOWER. Just FYI.
  6. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    Sorry, I knew that.....:( writing this at work and not paying attention to what I'm saying, I guess!!! Hope I do better at my work!!

    Thanks, the whole double bass vs electric makes sense too! But I have read the same comment from electric bassists as well....

    I'll try the approaches you suggested!

    Happy Holidays
  7. sedgdog


    Jan 26, 2002
    Pasco, WA
    Think notes not patterns even though you may be playing in a pattern. Each scale has a chord type that goes with it for example Major scale w/ maj7 chord. Work them together so your thinking maj7 arpeggio inside a major scale. So the 1,3,5,7 are your arpeggio the 2,4,6 are passing tones to get you to the chord tones. A fretted instrument is easy to get locked into thinking geometric patterns instead of notes and that will hamper your improvising. Think of a horn player - he has to think notes rather than patterns.

    All the best,
  8. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    What works for me is thinking notes and interval when playing the scale.

    This helped me remember what notes I could play when I saw a set of chord changes on a chart. Then I tied it in to geometrical patterns on the fretboard.

    Mind you, I did this all ass backwards and learned nothing more than the patterns of the scale instead of the notes and intervals. It made things a bit more difficult when learning it the proper way.

    Pacman has a very good way to practice scales posted in this forum. If you do a search you should find it. I believe it's titled, Pacmans surefire way to practice scales or somethin along those lines.
  9. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    So does everybody do the three notes per sting thing?

    There are at least three ways I can think of practicing scales. And it gives me a headache when thinking to much.
    so here i go: Using G Major.

    First way: Three notes per string. say in G,A,B- on E string. C,D,E--on A String. F#,G,A--on D string. B,C,D--on the G string.

    Second Way: Box form?---G,A--on E string. B,C,D--on A string. E,F#,G--on D string. A,B,C--on G string.

    Using key of Amajor:
    Third way: starting with fourth finger on A- on E string. B,C#,D on A string. E,F# on D string. G#,A on G String.

    If what im doing makes any since please let me know. So I'm just not spining my wheels.