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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Irish Trad Music & Related Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Basic Scales/Shifting (and/or Exercises?)

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

CarLLo - Posted - 11/23/2021:  18:41:32

I'm trying to get more familiar playing up the neck, both for single notes and also for chords/arpeggios.

What I don't know and am looking for advice about is what kind of shifting/fingerings would be advantageous to practice.

For example, just playing a G scale on the top E string. I play something like:

G (first finger, 1)
A (second finger, 2)
B (fourth finger/pinky, 4)
and the question is, what's an advantageous way to shift up? In my assessment it would take two total "shifts" at least. One idea:

After GAB, play C (1), D (2), E (3), F# (1), G (2).

And then descending, something like:

G (2)
F# (1)
E (2)
D (1)
C (2)
B (1)
A (2)
G (1)

Right now my method is: "try stuff and see what works" but I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations on /ideal/ fingerings for doing basic scales like this.

I have a violin method book with specific instructions/suggestions on what fingerings to use going up/down scales in different positions, but it doesn't translate exactly to the tenor banjo.

OK, sorry for the long post, but thanks for bearing with me on basically my first post here :)

thisoldman - Posted - 11/24/2021:  06:59:05

Might this help? It gives a link to an old BHO thread.  Assuming you tune GDAE.


Edited by - thisoldman on 11/24/2021 07:05:09

hobogal - Posted - 11/26/2021:  06:12:07

Hello -  I don't know if these will be helpful.  I've uploaded some photos on scales/fingering from Harry Reser's tuition books - these are for CGDA and are in octave notation.  You should be able to translate them to GDAE - G scale in GDAE is D scale in CGDA etc...

CarLLo - Posted - 11/28/2021:  07:15:54

Thanks thisoldman and hobogal both. This has given me a lot to think about. For reference, here's the archived BHO thread referenced from (

My takeaway here is that it seems multiple people reference not using the 3rd finger to play the note, instead using the 4th finger, when the 2nd finger plays the subsequent note to the next whole-step note.

Previously I was playing consistently finger 2->finger 3 even in a whole step (ex: on lowest string, A(1) B(2) C#(3) -- one of my problems was that getting to C# is a bit of a stretch but also going the 4th finger to D was tough for me to do reliably.

And so it is easier to go A(1) B(2) C#(4) D(4) with a bit of a slide.

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