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ways to practice circle of 5ths/4ths?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by germ_77, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. germ_77


    Jul 16, 2011
    Anyone have any good ways to practice the circle of 5ths/4ths? I am trying to get it memorized but not coming along too well.

    The only way I have been practicing it is starting on C and playing the Major scale of each one and then once done starting on C again and playing it backwards as the 4ths.

    What methods do you guys have for practicing the circle?
  2. Sharp side:
    See God Destroy All Earth By F#irey C#haos.

    Flat side:
    See Farmer Brown Eating Apple Dumplings Greasily Cooked.

    Or copy and paste this where it is easily seen. There are seven flats and sharps so you need the circle that gets crowded on the bottom to get all the keys in.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm not sure what you mean when you say "practicing the cycle of fifths", it's not really an exercise.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Well, try this. Play a scale and the tonic chord, then play a tonic 7th and then move up a fourth and do the same thing.

    In other words: C scale, C major chord, C7 chord, F scale, F major chord, F7 chord.. etc etc.
  5. Kobaia


    Oct 29, 2005
    Denton TX
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amp Gruv Gear and Mono Cases
    put a drum loop on take 4 bars for each key. play a scale or triad, or what ever exercise you want for 4 bars then switch to the next key. the move it to 2 bars. then 1 bar. try walking all the keys. play them all as major, play them all as minor, play them all as dominant, play them all as -7b5, play, them all as diminished, play them all as augmented and so on.

    Also you can try walking through them all on 1 strings with no open strings
  6. It's just a guideline to follow while doing whatever exercise you want. Let's you move to every key.
  7. Lovely Rital

    Lovely Rital

    Nov 19, 2006
    Some basic exercises

    Attached Files:

  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm more proponent of randomness, same thing the same way is great recipe for goin on autopilot...
  9. phmike


    Oct 25, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Four and five string patterns someone showed me to help remember the circle of 5ths/4ths. Look at it a bit and you will see the patterns. I eventually remembered the circle by just using it a lot.

                      3           5 
    C G D A E B Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C 
    C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb B E A D G C  
                      3           5           7           9                12 
  10. GeoffT


    Aug 1, 2011
    Damn it Ed. Just when I started getting comfortable working things through the cycle of 4ths to cover every key, you have to go and throw this out there. I like it. :)
  11. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada

    I went through the same exercise with my Teacher/prof...every lesson he would ask me to recite the cycle of fifths and fourths...then tell him how many sharps or flats..and recite them in order...from there he would ask, what is the major second, third , fourth, fifth...
    diminshed, augmented...etc...then he would allow me to pick up my bass...Stuart is very intense...but a great Teacher/prof..I have learned so much from this guy...After some lessons...my head hurts!!!
    I remember when i was really pushing to memorize this, I would constantly recite this in my head while driving to work, Visualization or Fret Board recognition (without Bass) is a great exercise to use...yah..if you looked in my truck ...you'd think I was bonkers...
    Also...instead of doing chromatic runs (IE.C/D/E/F/G/etc)...do the cycle!....(ie.C/G/D/A/E/B/F# etc.....and C/F/Bb/Eb/Ab/Db/Gb etc/)

    I really have no quick way of learning this for you..for me it just took time, and constant exercise...now...its a joke...
    Good luck!!
  12. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
  13. Nice study.

  14. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Play the circle of 4th's on the A string only,for C maj. It will help learn the neck
    in a linear fashion.
    Also on the E string only for G maj. start. Call each root note as you start it to reinforce knowing the note vs the fret. Play it in minor ,7 ths. Play the G maj ascending then C maj descending etc. Break out the metronome and use this as speed training.
  15. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Write it out 50 times. Like the picture that Malcom Amos posted. By the time you're done it'll be in the memory bank.
  16. germ_77


    Jul 16, 2011
    Thanks a lot guys, a lot of really good ideas already from the responses. Thanks a lot for that pdf as well.

    I do try to write it out as much as I can and that is helping a lot as well, Playing them close together I am pretty familiar with the patterns but I want to get it where I can be playing a chord and instantly know the 4th or 5th note name and be able to play it anywhere instead of just the normal patterns close to it if that makes sense.
  17. troutmask


    Nov 22, 2011
    Houston, TX
    not sure if this was already mentioned, but I picked up the keys pretty quickly just by practicing scales in the order of sharps and flats. i.e C/a, then G/e, D/b, A/f#.. etc and F/d, Bb/g, etc. Always say or sing the note/or pitch or try to be conscious of which note you're on. And mentally recite in your head when away from your instrument to the beat of your foot.
  18. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    I'll say. This will be my secret weapon to get ready for a session with my tough instructor! :D

    Thanks for posting way back when.

  19. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    if you learn songs that use circle of fifths then you associate the pattern with a melody or lyric, so you can recognize the changes easier than just an academic exercise

    the goal of building vocabulary is to make sentences not just to build vocabulary
  20. i never sat down to memorize the circle of 5ths or 4ths, you just count it if you dont know it and i was never told to practice the circle? how do you practice the circle of 5ths?

    but i did sit down and memorize the sharps and flats to all keys if thats what you mean.

    anyway, instead you practice everything IN every key by going up or down all the keys in 5ths or 4ths. am i making sense?

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