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# Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message #251756] mkerr

Hi,

## Mo, 25 Juli 2005 20:28

I have just started looking at William Leavitt's position playing method and am having trouble understanding the way he has grouped the various fingering patterns. >From what I can tell, he has grouped the patterns into 4 "types". Type 1 fingerings all involve a 1st finger stretch, 2 and 3 involve no stretches, and type 4 fingerings all require a 4th finger stretch. If the organizing principle of the various pattern types is indeed finger stretches, why are types 2 and 3 separated into 2 different groups rather than simply being categorized in a single group of "no finger stretch required"? I also have a question regarding the patterns derived from the Type 1 and 4 patterns. Are these patterns "derived" in the sense that they add similar finger stretches as one moves through the cyce of fifths, or is there more to the underlying logic than that? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Mark Kerr Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message Mo, 25 Juli 2005 #251782 ] 22:07 Joey Goldstein mkerr wrote: > > Hi, > > I have just started looking at William Leavitt's position playing > method and am having trouble understanding the way he has grouped the > various fingering patterns. > > >From what I can tell, he has grouped the patterns into 4 "types". Type > 1 fingerings all involve a 1st finger stretch, 2 and 3 involve no > stretches, and type 4 fingerings all require a 4th finger stretch. > > If the organizing principle of the various pattern types is indeed > finger stretches, why are types 2 and 3 separated into 2 different > groups rather than simply being categorized in a single group of "no > finger stretch required"? >

> I also have a question regarding the patterns derived from the Type 1 > and 4 patterns. Are these patterns "derived" in the sense that they add > similar finger stretches as one moves through the cyce of fifths, or is > there more to the underlying logic than that? There's less to the underlying logic of the categories, more to the logic of the fingering system itself. Fingerings that are in the Type 1 category might require 4th finger stretches depending on the needs of actual music, chromatics, etc. Fingerings that are in the Type 4 category might require 1st finger stretches depending on the needs of actual music, chromatics, etc. So, IMO, don't worry too much about the "Type". The important thing about position playing is to understand the concept. 1 finger per fret, except that the 1st finger and the 4th finger might have to stretch down or up 1 fret (respectively) for some notes. This means that you are really anchored into this or that position by what the 2nd and 3rd fibngers are doing. As soon as one of them has played in a fret that it is not normally supposed to, you have shifted to another position. Each position covers a 6 fret area of the fretboard, no more, no less. The 2nd and 3rd fingers always play in the same two frets. The exception to this is open Position (aka Pos. I) which covers only a 4 fret area and has no need for finger stretches (except on the 1st string, where a 4th finger stretch is used to grab the 5th fret a). Pos. I is a simple 1 fret per finger proposition. BTW I tell all my students that within a single position, when a finger stretch becomes necessary they should first try a 1st finger stretch. I.e. Save 4th finger stretches for when they are absolutely necessary, or for when they make a hands down better choice than a 1st finger stretch, which is rare. Now, there is a certain logic that would go the exact opposite way, i.e. using only 4th finger stretches, and a sort of fingering conceptual uniformity results from doing this. But physically speaking, 1st fing stretches are almost always easier on the hands and result in more fluid phrasing, IMO. Of course position shifts are very often a better choice than finger stretches anyway. > Any insight would be greatly appreciated. > > Thanks, > Mark Kerr -Joey Goldstein

http://www.joeygoldstein.com joegold AT sympatico DOT ca Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message Mo, 25 Juli 2005 #251788 ] 22:56 jgclub Hi - Have you seen Jimmy Bruno's 6 essential fingerings? His patterns make a lot of sense to me. You can download them from his site for a nominal charge. He also goes into them in great detail in his "No Nonsense Guitar" VHS method. Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message #251812 ] mkerr Joey Goldstein wrote: > There's less to the underlying logic of the categories, more to the > logic of the fingering system itself. Hi Joey, Thank you for your response. I am primarily a classical guitarist, so thinking of fingering in this way is completely new to me. Di, 26 Juli 2005 00:41

> I tell all my students that within a single position, when a finger > stretch becomes necessary they should first try a 1st finger stretch. > I.e. Save 4th finger stretches for when they are absolutely necessary, > or for when they make a hands down better choice than a 1st finger > stretch, which is rare.

Excluding 4D, do you change any of the type 4 scales to 1st finger stretches?

Take care, Mark Kerr Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message Di, 26 Juli 2005 #251831 ] 02:23 Joey Goldstein Joey Goldstein wrote: > > The important thing > about position playing is to understand the concept. > 1 finger per fret, except that the 1st finger and the 4th finger might > have to stretch down or up 1 fret (respectively) for some notes. > This means that you are really anchored into this or that position by > what the 2nd and 3rd fibngers are doing. As soon as one of them has > played in a fret that it is not normally supposed to, you have shifted

> to another position. > Each position covers a 6 fret area of the fretboard, no more, no less. > The 2nd and 3rd fingers always play in the same two frets. > The exception to this is open Position (aka Pos. I) which covers only > a 4 fret area and has no need for finger stretches (except on the 1st > string, where a 4th finger stretch is used to grab the 5th fret a). Pos. > I is a simple 1 fret per finger proposition. > > BTW > I tell all my students that within a single position, when a finger > stretch becomes necessary they should first try a 1st finger stretch. > I.e. Save 4th finger stretches for when they are absolutely necessary, > or for when they make a hands down better choice than a 1st finger > stretch, which is rare. > Now, there is a certain logic that would go the exact opposite way, i.e. > using only 4th finger stretches, and a sort of fingering conceptual > uniformity results from doing this. But physically speaking, 1st fing > stretches are almost always easier on the hands and result in more fluid > phrasing, IMO. > > Of course position shifts are very often a better choice than finger > stretches anyway. Also... If legato phrasing (where the duration of an note is terminated at exactly the same time as the attack of the following note) then the idea is to avoid using (as much as possible) the same finger in a different fret (on consecutive notes) on 2 different strings. Eg. In Pos V. If you've just played the note G on the 4th string, 1st finger, and the next note you want to play (with legato phrasing) is the B, a maj 3rd above it, then you are obligated to play that B with a 4th finger stretch rather than a 1st finger stretch. Jumping the 1st finger From G to B will force a gap between the two notes. With practice these types of gaps can be made quite short (we all do this finger motion all the time), but they can never be totally eliminated. Ultimately it's the player's choice as to whether or not he wants to use a 1st fing stretch, a 4th fing stretch, or a position shift. The choice should be made according to the passage's needs. -Joey Goldstein http://www.joeygoldstein.com joegold AT sympatico DOT ca Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message #251833 ] Joey Goldstein Di, 26 Juli 2005 02:55

mkerr wrote: > > Joey Goldstein wrote: > > There's less to the underlying logic of the categories, more to the > > logic of the fingering system itself. > > Hi Joey, > > Thank you for your response. I am primarily a classical guitarist, so > thinking of fingering in this way is completely new to me. Be careful then, because Leavitt's fingerings are somewhat more impractical on a classical guitar neck. You could overstress your fretting hand if you're not careful. > > I tell all my students that within a single position, when a finger > > stretch becomes necessary they should first try a 1st finger stretch. > > I.e. Save 4th finger stretches for when they are absolutely necessary, > > or for when they make a hands down better choice than a 1st finger > > stretch, which is rare. > > Excluding 4D, do you change any of the type 4 scales to 1st finger > stretches? Not sure which one is 4D because I don't have the books handy right now. But if you go through the cycle of 5ths starting with the G maj scale (G maj, C maj, F maj, Bb maj, etc.) in Pos V then the only scale fingering that *requires* a 4th finger stretch (when simply running up and down the scale in step-wise motion) is the high note, is the D maj scale and just for it's highest note, C#. Actually, any time you want access to this high C# in Pos V it will be a 4th fing stretch. So this will also apply to any of the other scales that have C# (or Db) in them. If you are playing something other than mere step-wise lines through the scale then there will be a great many more situations where a 4th finger stretch is called for. OK. This is probably confusing you. Here's the Pos V fingerings using just 1st fing stretches: G maj Str 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 Fin 1 3 1 1 3 1 3 4 1 3 4 3 1 4 3 1 3 1 1 3 1 G A B C D E F# G A B C B A G F# E D C B A G Str 4 5 6 5 4 Fin 1 1 3 1 4 3 1 3 4 1 3 1 1 G F# E D C B A B C D E F# G

(Leavitt's fing uses 4th fing stretches throughout.) C maj Str 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 Fin 4 1 3 4 1 3 1 1 3 1 2 4 1 3 4 3 1 4 2 1 3 1 CDEFGABCDEFGABCBAGFEDC Str 3 4 5 6 Fin 1 1 3 1 4 3 1 4 3 1 3 4 CBAGFEDCBABC F maj Str 5 4 3 2 1 2 Fin 4 1 3 4 1 3 1 2 4 1 2 4 2 1 4 2 F G A Bb C D E F G A Bb C Bb A G F Str 2 3 4 5 6 5 Fin 2 1 3 1 4 3 1 4 3 1 4 2 1 2 4 1 3 4 F E D C Bb A G F E D C Bb A Bb C D E F Bb maj Str 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 Fin 2 4 1 2 4 1 3 4 1 3 4 2 4 1 3 4 2 1 4 2 4 3 1 4 Bb C D Eb F G A Bb C D Eb F G A Bb C Bb A G F Eb D C Bb Str 4 5 6 Fin 4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 2 Bb A G F Eb D C Bb A Bb Actually...This is taking too much time. if you ask me about a specific scale's finering in a specific position I'd be happy to spell it out. Again. If you understand the position playing "rules" the fingerings are obvious and are somewhat automatically generated. That's what makes it such a powerful concept. OK. Here's one of the trickier ones. Pos V, E maj scale Str 5 4 3 2 1 2 Fin 3 1 2 3 1 2 4 1 3 1 1 3 4 3 1 1 3 1 E F# G# A B C# D# E F# G# A B C# B A G# F# E Str 2 3 4 5 6 5 Fin 1 4 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 1 3 1 2 3 E D# C# B A G# F# E D# C# B A B C# D# E

-Joey Goldstein http://www.joeygoldstein.com joegold AT sympatico DOT ca Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message #251962 ] mkerr Joey Goldstein wrote: > G maj > > Str 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 > Fin 1 3 1 1 3 1 3 4 1 3 4 3 1 4 3 1 3 1 1 3 1 > G A B C D E F# G A B C B A G F# E D C B A G > > Str 4 5 6 5 4 > Fin 1 1 3 1 4 3 1 3 4 1 3 1 1 > G F# E D C B A B C D E F# G Thanks for going to all the trouble of writing those out. I was really surprised to see that you often use the first finger twice in succession, as in the above G major scale (B to C on the 3rd string, and F# to G on the 4th string). Is this how you normally play it, or was this only intended as an example of how the scale could be done without 4th finger stretches? Mi, 27 Juli 2005 01:40

Take care, Mark Kerr Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message #251972 ] Joey Goldstein mkerr wrote: > > Joey Goldstein wrote: > > G maj >> > > Str 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 > > Fin 1 3 1 1 3 1 3 4 1 3 4 3 1 4 3 1 3 1 1 3 1 > > G A B C D E F# G A B C B A G F# E D C B A G >> > > Str 4 5 6 5 4 > > Fin 1 1 3 1 4 3 1 3 4 1 3 1 1 > > G F# E D C B A B C D E F# G > > Thanks for going to all the trouble of writing those out. Mi, 27 Juli 2005 03:33

> > I was really surprised to see that you often use the first finger twice > in succession, as in the above G major scale (B to C on the 3rd string, > and F# to G on the 4th string). > > Is this how you normally play it, I don't normally play G major scales running up and down when I'm playing music. But if I were practicing playing a G major scale in Pos V that's one of 2 or 3 ways I might play it. I might play it using all 4th finger stretches too. I might play it using 1st finger stretches when ascending and 4th finger stretches when descending, or visa versa. I might avoid finger stretches all together by shifting to Pos IV every once in a while. [One of the things I've found worth practicing is *all* (or as many as possible) of the fingerings for whatever I want to play. IMO You can't know what the best fingering for any passage of music is until you know what all, or most of, the possible fingerings are. Again. In position playing, when a finger stretch is necessary you *always* have a choice between a 1st finger stretch or a 4th finger stretch, or a position shift. Try to make that choice with some finesse. IMO 1st finger stretches are usually better sounding and easier to play than 4th finger stretches. My advice is to save 4th finger stretches for when you absolutlely need them. > or was this only intended as an > example of how the scale could be done without 4th finger stretches? > > Take care, > Mark Kerr -Joey Goldstein http://www.joeygoldstein.com joegold AT sympatico DOT ca Re: Question about Leavitt fingering pattern organization [message Do, 28 Juli 2005 #252463 ] 04:53 Steve Carter On 25 Jul 2005 11:28:29 -0700, "mkerr" <max6166 [at] hotmail.com> wrote: >If the organizing principle of the various pattern types is indeed >finger stretches, why are types 2 and 3 separated into 2 different >groups rather than simply being categorized in a single group of "no >finger stretch required"? When I was teaching at Berklee, and Bill Leavitt was my boss, I asked

him that question. He said,"Well, fingering type 1 has first finger stretches and fingering type 4 has fourth finger stretches. Fingering type 2 makes sense since it starts with the second finger. So I named all those, and I had this one fingering type left over. I'd used 1, 2, and 4, so I said, 'What the hell. 3' " I'm not making this up.: -)