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Mandolin Lessons: Scales With Four Fingers

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I'm gonna review something that I've
already worked with you on.
And that was the idea of playing a scale
out of a closed position with your
first finger.
We worked on it in A.
And what I was attempting to get you to do
is get really comfortable moving that
first finger anywhere on the finger board
being aware of what scale you're playing.
At the fifth fret.
At the first fret.
At the fourth fret, second, third string.
Second fret.
Second string.
D, F, A-Flat,
D-Flat, B-Flat.
Wherever you, want.
So that's the concept here.
Then what we did is we examined the
arpeggio that grows out of that.
One, three, five, and octave, okay?
And so you do the same thing, C, F, G, C,
If you wanna be really smooth, and
you know as you go up the neck things get
crunched a little tight.
G, A, G, F, E-Flat, B-Flat, E-Flat.
You can see my thought process here little
bit, I just wanna totally free,
know where I am at all times.
Again, we are just using the first finger
I started to show you how to do all this
same stuff out of the third finger,
out of the, the third finger being your,
sort of, centering position.
And this grows out of our bluegrass chop
It's basically that scale.
If you do it in C.
C D is a whole step,
E F is a half, G A are whole steps, B and
C are half steps.
So the shape kinda looks like that, right?
As opposed to A.
Which looks like that, right?
Then we played the arpeggios out
of that, right?
C, D, E, F, G, G-Sharp, A, B-Flat, B.
So get really cozy taking that anywhere,
either on the high three strings or one
the low three strings,
and memorize those notes as they appear on
the third string.
Now, what I'm gonna make you do, is do all
that same stuff but
with a fourth finger now.
Say we're on D.
[SOUND] And we're, our little finger is on
the D note and we want to play a scale.
There's the notes.
D, E, F-Sharp, G our half steps.
A is a whole step.
B is a whole step.
C-Sharp is a whole step.
And D is a half step.
So now you're in this kinda of shape,
starting with the pinky though and
immediately going to the next string.
we play in arpeggio it looks like this.
We don't use our first finger at all.
This is kind of a bizarre one.
It's not used as much as the others, but I
want you to become free in this position
because it's going to come in handy,
especially as we start to play jazz and
we start moving through keys that are far
away from each other.
You want to, want to be able to work out
of this position.
So there's D,
E, A, B, C, D,
F-Sharp even, B.
It's a good finger exercise, too.
So we've dealt with all three of these
we just haven't looked at the second
finger yet.
Here we go.
Key of F.
F, second finger, G, A, whole steps,
B-Flat, C, D, E, F.
It's a bizarre one.
It looks like a whole tone scale, your
fingers are all spread out like this.
You know?
Now play the arpeggio out of that
F, A, C, and F.
So now we've got four fingers, and
we've got four ways to play all scales and
all arpeggios.
We haven't done minors and we haven't done
sevens yet, but
we'll get to that eventually.
But what I wanna do is just deal with the
arpeggios for now, and
give you a series of exercises that you
can use to try to get yourself,
really comfortable with these four ways of
doing things.
And what I like to do, is I, I start with
A okay.
Then I say to myself, okay let me move
this and let me move it chromatically.
Okay, so this is always using the same
position, you know?
Then I might use, start with C.
And move that one chromatically.
But when I get up here to D, I'll switch
to that other finger,
right, with the pinky.
C, C-Sharp, D, D-Sharp, then for
E I might go to the next string.
And then for F I might switch to this one.
With the second finger.
Because the basic concept here is,
play off of the finger that's nearest to
where you're wanting to go.
Rather than always moving the hand around,
shift to the new finger that's
most available, and then be just as
comfortable playing out of that finger
being the root the giver of the root as
you are with the first finger.
I mean, first thing we do is use our first
memorize the names of the notes
Next thing we memorize is the third
finger, and
then we begin to coordinate these the
little finger and the second finger.
They're sort of the last ones to come into
play, but they're equally important.
And I think it's where people get tangled
up in the fingerboard.
When they're, when they're trying to play
out of a position that
they've never really studied before.
So that's how I would move chromatically,
you know, from E.
To F.
To F-sharp.
To G.
To A-Flat.
So notice my thought pattern there.
I'm using my first finger because it's so
logical off the E, but
my second finger wants to play the F.
And my third finger wants to play
the F-Sharp and the G, but when I get to
A-Flat I wanna use my pinkie.
So can I play the arpeggio out of it?
So that's, that's a concept there.
Then I would move these things.
Instead of chromatically, I would move
them in whole steps.
A, B, C-Sharp,
D-Sharp, F, G, A.
That's whole steps.
And call out the name of each new note
that you're starting on.
This will also teach you the names of the
notes all over the fingerboard.
And do it musically.
You know, do it with a groove.
Have fun with it, you know?
Don't just play these silly arpeggios up
and down.
But really try to create something.
Or practice your tremolo.
You know, make it fun.
the next thing I would do is play a half
step below
each of the chord tones.
This is a good one.
Moving chromatically, okay?
And going through all four of the fingers.
You'll hate me by now.
But, what can I say?
Obsessive-compulsive behavior, you know,
put to good use.
[LAUGH] and then there's one more, that
you'll love.
Instead [SOUND] of always starting on the
root, start on the third of the chord.
Go from the third of the A,
which is C-sharp, up to the next C-sharp.
And that's still an A arpeggio.
Then, start on the fifth.
All right
So there's now three ways to play this
same A.
And, of course, I'm gonna ask you to play
all of the, them chromatic.
And we haven't even dealt with something
which is,
maybe, a little more musical and, and
useful, one four five.
Instead of thinking of this as A, then
chromatically up and up and up,
we're gonna go, A
So it's,
those are the three principle chords, of
that key.
But then we're gonna take the key concept,
the key of A, one four five, and
we're gonna move that chromatic.
B flat, E flat, F, B flat.
Then, we're going to go around the circle
of fifths.
We're gonna go all the way around.
You can start wherever you want.
I would start at the bottom maybe, start
down here around E, let's say.
Start on E.
either do the straight arpeggio
or the
the half step below each note or
start on the third.
Or the fifth.
But then we're gonna go from E to A, to D,
to G, to C, to F, to B Flat, to E Flat,
to A Flat, to D Flat, to G Flat, to B.
Let me do it for you, just so you can see
that I'm not crazy.
E, A hey check it out man,
Mandolin's tune in fifths.
All you do is walk across the strings.
Then we go to G, you go diagonal, okay?
When you're going this way and
you want to move in fifths, you simply
walk across the same set of strings.
But when you need to go this way, you go
So from D you go to G, and from G you go
to C, and from C you go to F.
Because in that direction: one, two,
three, four, that's a fourth, or a fifth.
[LAUGH] Fourth and a fifth are the same
thing, turned upside down.
So E
you can walk
across, B flat
E flat
A flat
D-flat, oh god I used my first finger,
I'm gonna stay on my first finger.
A, that was D-flat, G-flat,.
B and we're back around to E, okay?
Now that time I used my first finger for
every single chord change,
which is okay to do.
But now I'm gonna do the same thing, and
use all four fingers.
E, A, and
I'm gonna stay in the same position, not
jump around.
D, these are both with my pinkie.
Now G is with the third finger, cuz that's
the nearest thing.
C is with the third finger, F is with the
second finger,
B flat is with the first finger,
E flat is with the first, A flat is with
the first, but
D flat is with the pinky and G flat is
with the third.
And B.
is with the first.
So that's the concept where you're staying
in one position,
moving through all 12 keys, but you're
using the four fingers.
The whole deal that I showed you just
Good luck with all this.
It's a lot of stuff to take in.
Good luck.
Okay, I just gave you a whole bunch of
stuff there so I'd love to see if you
understand it and it's the kind of thing
you're gonna work on for your whole life,
really, it's the whole idea of just
learning the entire fingerboard and
being comfortable in every key.
But, you know, when you think about it,
that, we are all really comfortable with
the first, the right-hand side of that of
that circle of fifths.
You know, E all the way up to C.
F, even B flat we have to play it a lot.
It's only those last couple of keys, you
B flat, E flat, A flat, D flat, G flat.
It's really those four.
Those are the four uglies I would call
them [LAUGH] that
you're gonna have to work on.
But they will come just like, you know,
just like old Joe Clark came ev,
You probably can't remember when that was
difficult, but
it was difficult at some point for you,
and so this, that's all this is.
And if you just apply, put a little bit in
time each day, it'll come to you.
So I'd love to see the video of you
playing all the arpeggios,
but staying in one position, so that I can
watch you play on all of the four fingers.
So when you're ready, you know, if it
takes a few months,
however long it takes, send me a video of
you working through all those different
positions I just helped you learn.