"Best" fingering for scale (i.e B melodic minor)

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Jared Lee
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Location: Singapore

"Best" fingering for scale (i.e B melodic minor)

Post by Jared Lee » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:32 am

In a lesson I just had, my teacher gave me his suggested fingerings for some (movable) scales that I need to play for my exam. He explained that he had tried many different fingerings and found that this works the best.

Unfortunately we ran out of time before I could clarify further and I'll only be seeing him again in 2 weeks. I'll practise as he suggested but in the meantime, thought it would be good if I could understand what makes it the best.

Just wondering, do you guys think that there is a "best fingering" for each type of scale (major, melodic minor/beginning on 6th or 5th string)? If so, why?

MaritimeGuitarist
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Location: Saint John, NB

Re: "Best" fingering for scale (i.e B melodic minor)

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:36 pm

No, I don't think that there is one "best fingering" for scales. In fingering a scale, players will usually attempt to limit the number of shifts and will also try to determine the best places for necessary shifts to occur. This will often come down to player preference. Scales should also be kept within a given position. In other words your fingers should rarely have to cover more than a 4 fret span--shifting is usually preferred over stretching. Awkward string crossings may also be considered, but since most exams require you to prepare a number of different right hand combinations, this is not always practical.

The latest edition of the Royal Conservatory of Music's technical guide now states that any reasonable scale fingering will be accepted of exams--more evidence that there is not one best way to finger a scale.

Edit--If you trust your teacher, than it may be best to use his/her fingerings.

GuitarsWeB
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Re: "Best" fingering for scale (i.e B melodic minor)

Post by GuitarsWeB » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:14 pm

"Just wondering, do you guys think that there is a "best fingering" for each type of scale (major, melodic minor/beginning on 6th or 5th string)? If so, why?”
The best fingering is what work for “You,” not someone else.

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prawnheed
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Re: "Best" fingering for scale (i.e B melodic minor)

Post by prawnheed » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:44 pm

There are literally dozens of ways to play a scale on the guitar. Some of which can be helpful.

Which is best depends on the level you've reached and the reason you are practising the scale in the first place. Unless preparing for an exam, the point of practising scales is not to get good at playing scales, it is to help perfect some other aspect(s) of technique and/or musical skills.

For now, I'd go with what your teacher suggests.

Alan Green
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Re: "Best" fingering for scale (i.e B melodic minor)

Post by Alan Green » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:35 pm

The nice thing about the guitar is that there's a movable shape for each scale. Generally - for the exam room - two-octave scales of C to F# start with a 5th string root and G to B start on the 6th string. Three-octave scales start on the 6th string.

Pick hand fingering is normally i-m-i-m- or m-a-m-a-. Fret-hand fingering works to keep the number of shifts to a minimum. The ABRSM and LCM books suggest best fret-hand fingering, and I presume Trinity do too.

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