By: Dr. Matt Warnock
Now that we’ve looked at 3 different two-octave fingerings beginning on the sixth string we can move on up to the 5th string. In today’s exercise we will look at a 3-note per string fingering with the root on the 5th string, as compared to Day 7’s exercise which was very similar though the root was on the 6th string.
Again, as was the case with Day 7, this fingering is great for getting yourself out of “box” patterns an in position playing if you’re finding that you’re stuck with those positions. This scale is also great for practicing legato patterns as having three notes on each string lends itself to multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs as you play up and down the scale.
To test your legato playing, try plucking the first note on each string and then hammering-on the next two notes on that string, if you are ascending, or pulling-off the next two notes if you are descending. Playing with a legato feel like this is not only a great way to test and build our technique, but it can show us if whether or not our time feel is solid.
Picking every note makes it easy to stay perfectly in time and have good feel, but often when we add legato lines to our playing the time becomes “sloppy.” Try playing the first two strings of this scale, plucking every note, then try it by plucking the first on each string and hammering-on to the rest. If you notice that the time feel changes, or that things don’t feel “tight,” go back and practice this exercise until you can maintain the same feel whether you are picking or playing legato on any string in the scale.
You’d be surprised just how much you can improve your playing by focusing on keeping your time feel consistent between plucked and slurred notes!
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Warnock is a jazz educator and performer in Manchester, UK. He owns and operates www.mattwarnockguitar, a free online resource for jazz guitarists and is on the faculty of the Leeds College of Music. You can connect with him on Facebook as well as sign up for his free weekly jazz newsletter, where you’ll get free copies of his ebook “10 Essential ii-V-I Licks” and “5 Essential Jazz Scale Techniques” when you sign up.