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3 octave A major scale
I simply dont understand why Thomas' teacher has him going up and coming down differently
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 

August 19, 2022 - 7:44 pm
Member Since: November 9, 2021
Forum Posts: 205
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COuld anyone explain this to me? Thomas thought he would surprise his teacher by learning a 3 octave A major scale , both up and back and we worked on it all week. I was brought up that coming back down was the same as going up but apparently I have been mistaken for 50 years. I go up with shifting to third on the A string and then on the E string starting on A in the third position I continue with my second finger(B), then shift again to C# with first finger, then D with second finger, then shift again to E using first finger right up to the fourth finger A. And I always came down the same way, which is what I taught Thomas. BUT...she wants him to come back down(using this fingering) 4th finger, 4th finger(moving the fourth finger from G#to A,)3, 2, 1, then shift back to the 3, 2, 1 again before shifting to 3d position on the A string and follow it back to the 1st finger on the G string(A). 

My questions are: Why? Has anyone heard of this? Anyone give me an easy way of showing Thomas how to do it? I tried it a couple different ways but it is truly difficult for me, let along poor Thomas. When you end the scale going up with using the fourth finger just once, you have to completely readjust your fingering in order to use the pinky twice. 

Jim(Thomases Dad)

Sacramento, California

August 19, 2022 - 10:07 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1527
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I would guess the main reason is to avoid shifting down to a position with the first finger on C# on the way down. That's a difficult note to tune because it doesn't ring like the D, and in general it's harder to tune downward shifts than upward shifts.

It's probably a good idea to learn more than one fingering for each scale, anyway.


(EDITED to clarify.)


August 20, 2022 - 9:34 am
Member Since: June 24, 2020
Forum Posts: 1226
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@JimandThomas  I play a 3 octave scale the way you’ve indicated you did, and come back down the same way.

I think that since I haven’t been playing much above 3rd position, I find the pattern Thomas’ teacher wants confusing.  But that may be why she wants him to practice the scales differently. That is, to get a good feel of the finger patterns up higher from the get-go before it becomes a habit.

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.


August 22, 2022 - 1:37 am
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 1939
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There are a few schools of thought on how to shift coming back down, the way his teachers want is Carl Fleshes method I believe. Both have here advantages 


Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

Gordon Shumway
London, England

September 9, 2022 - 5:35 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 2287
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There are different scale methods.

My favourite for Ab and A is to shift to second position (and back again on the way down) with your second finger on the A string.

This unifies all scales so that you play the tonic with the second finger on the E string. Then the pattern on the E string is 21212344 for every scale. (for Bb and up I start on the 2nd finger on the G string and shift 2-1 on the A string)


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