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Why do they teach scales this way?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JWC, Jun 4, 2001.

  1. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    When learning a major scale, why do teachers make you do a 3 finger stretch on one string to play the root, 2nd and 3rd itnerval. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to play the 3rd on the next string on the fret below the root? I mean, in most songs people don't play the 3rd on the same string as the root?

    if i wasnt clear, this is the easier fingering im talking about (key of g, ex.)

  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Your teacher must be having you start the major scale with your first finger. If you start it with your second finger on the root, you can then play the major third on the next higher string.

    So if the root is "G"--third fret, E string, use your second finger to play the root (G), use your little finger (pinky) to play the major second, which is "A" at the fifth fret of the E string. Then use your first finger to play the major third on the A string at the second fret. Use your second finger to play the perfect fourth on the A string at the third fret and the pinky to play the perfect fifth at the fifth fret of the A string.

    Actually, I was taught your way first and came across the above fingering later. I like it much better. You don't have to finger every root with your first finger. Use your second when it is easier. Fingerings are not engraved in stone. Use whatever is most comfortable and most convenient.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I think this depends on what you're playing - some lines are such that they only really work with a certain fingering and the four fingers, one per fret thing can get limiting or just incline you towards certain "patterns" whereas the aim is to play music not patterns.

    There are parts in songs that I play regularly where the stretch is such, that I can only play it using one particular fingering and this is more of a stretch than one finger per fret. I have talked to some pro players in the UK about lines that seemed or sounded impossible to me and they explained how they developed special fingerings for the parts.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    At Berklee they teach you that you should be able to start any Major, Minor, or Dominant scale pattern with either your 1st, 2nd, of 4th fingers, so that you will always be able to continue on within the scale no matter where you find yourself at any given moment. It also teaches you to think of scales as sets of interval relationships in music rather than only patterns on a fretboard.
  5. tomtrb


    Apr 17, 2001
    Chris is absolutely right,
    you should think about scales in the context of the distance between intervals, like whole step half step patterns. Also, try to relate to how the scale SOUNDS. Learning to play anything in only one way is a dead end street. Vesatility is the name of the game.
  6. Actually, I think Chris meant that you should be aware of the intervals in relation to the tonic ( root ). Instead of thinking of the Major scale as W W H W W W H, you should think of it as a collection of the intervals: Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 6th and Major 7th in relation to the root.

    This is why all my scale charts have the interval numbers on the finger positions. It is important to know which intervals you are playing.



    - Dave
  7. Thank you Chris, for spoiling my free weekend!!!
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Don't mention it. Any time.... ;)
  9. Hey thanx for that website, finally a website that makes it clear, rather than trying to explain it with extensive paragraphs. Hey Paull add that site to the links!



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