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Thread: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

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    Default Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Two technique questions on playing the jig, Haste to the Wedding:

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    1. In the second measure of the B part, would you stay in 1st position, reaching up to the B with your pinky, or would you shift into second position, sliding up from the A to the B with your ring finger, and then sliding back to 1st position (sliding your index finger from the G to F#) on the next measure? I don’t have a problem with the pinky reach, but playing that B - G - B - A to (pinky to middle finger to ring) is a bit awkward. Is it worth sticking with that 1st position, just to get my fingers used to the stretches?

    2. Maybe this is a perennial question/debate: Do you prefer DUD DUD for jigs, or stick with DUD UDU? Seems like my mandolin heroes (e.g., Mike Marshall, Barron Collins-Hill) all have their own preference. I like the sound of DUD DUD, but of course, it’s a new and different pattern to learn and get comfortable with.

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    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    1. Pinky definitely.
    2. DUD DUD
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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    You're playing on mandolin? If so, getting the high B with fourth finger is the normal 1st position fingering. Fingers 1-2-3-4 play F#-G-A-B. So it isn't really a reach, as your 4th finger is already hovering over the 7th fret notes. If that's uncomfortable for you, there may be a problem with the way you're holding the instrument, or the position of your left wrist and thumb. It's worth working on that so that you can play easily without unnecessary shifts. Good luck with it!

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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    No, the pinky reach to the B isn’t a problem at all. It’s just slightly awkward to play that second measure with pinky on B, middle on G, and ring on A. It’s slightly easier to play that combination using ring on B, middle on A, and index on G. But it’s not a big problem. I’m sure I can smooth it out with practice. Just wondering if people ever opt for sliding up to play passages like this one.
    Last edited by wormpicker; Jan-19-2019 at 5:54pm. Reason: typo fix

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    I have a semi-short pinkie but I still prefer the reach and stretch instead of repositioning. But I have seen some very good players go all up and down the neck and never fret a note with their pinky. Wow.

    And I am a DUDDUD guy also.
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    I agree with everybody about using the pinky to get the B note on the E-string out of first position. I don't agree that you necessarily need to pick this as DUD DUD. DUD UDU works perfectly well, too. And if you play Haste to the Wedding with haste, you might find it faster to change pick direction alternately. Fiddlers often play jigs with alternate up-down bowing, and there is no special reason (except ITM tradition?) that you can't do the same with your pick. Just make sure you give the proper emphasis to the stronger notes, irrespective of how you decide to pick it.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Yep, pinky reach to the B on the high string, every time here. Shifting out of 1st position just slows you down, and some of this music needs to be played pretty fast. Efficient fingering is a must.

    For jigs, I think DUD DUD is good when you're first learning to play jigs. It helps get the feel into your head and fingers. After that, anything goes, as long as you maintain the right rhythm pulse. I play jigs probably more in alternate (DUD UDU) picking than anything else, and I have to be flexible about "shifting gears" with pick direction that can get turned around with "treble" ornaments or pull-offs. Ornaments can mess up any fixed pattern, so at some point, you just learn to maintain the jig pulse no matter which direction your pick is moving.

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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Thanks all. It’s unanimous. I’ll continue stretching those pinky-middle finger tendons and developing finger independence. And I’ll experiment between DUD DUD/DUD UDU jig picking.

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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Yep, pinky reach to the B on the high string, every time here. Shifting out of 1st position just slows you down, and some of this music needs to be played pretty fast. Efficient fingering is a must.

    For jigs, I think DUD DUD is good when you're first learning to play jigs. It helps get the feel into your head and fingers. After that, anything goes, as long as you maintain the right rhythm pulse. I play jigs probably more in alternate (DUD UDU) picking than anything else, and I have to be flexible about "shifting gears" with pick direction that can get turned around with "treble" ornaments or pull-offs. Ornaments can mess up any fixed pattern, so at some point, you just learn to maintain the jig pulse no matter which direction your pick is moving.
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Ditto what foldedpath said, especially the point about capturing the right rhythm pulse.

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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Once you get used to using the pinky for the B, you can stretch it to the C. It takes a bit of practice, but it can be done -- then you can play stuff like Golden Eagle all in first position and astound your friends!
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Thanks, Randi. Yeah, I can already reach the C (I can even stretch to the C# on a good day). The pinky stretch isnít really the problem. Itís more the combination of the pinky on B while holding the middle on G and ring on A that is a bit awkward, but not impossible. Just have to keep at it.

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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Quote Originally Posted by wormpicker View Post
    Thanks, Randi. Yeah, I can already reach the C (I can even stretch to the C# on a good day). The pinky stretch isn’t really the problem. It’s more the combination of the pinky on B while holding the middle on G and ring on A that is a bit awkward, but not impossible. Just have to keep at it.
    If the fiddlers can do it, and ALL the Irish trad fiddlers play it that way, then you can do it.

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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Quote Originally Posted by wormpicker View Post
    No, the pinky reach to the B isn’t a problem at all. It’s just slightly awkward to play that second measure with pinky on B, middle on G, and ring on A. It’s slightly easier to play that combination using ring on B, middle on A, and index on G. But it’s not a big problem. I’m sure I can smooth it out with practice. Just wondering if people ever opt for sliding up to play passages like this one.
    That's what practice is for, to make the slightly awkward passage become easy to play. You'll get used to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    Once you get used to using the pinky for the B, you can stretch it to the C. It takes a bit of practice, but it can be done -- then you can play stuff like Golden Eagle all in first position and astound your friends!
    Correct, and that is also a fingering extension used by violinists.

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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    It is always a question of what's next. If there are more tones to be played in the higher register then shifting is the thing to do. If the melody descends after the higher register tone then use your pinky. As you point out D-U-D U-D-U is a personal choice so play on! R/
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    Why not try both, those first 3 measures can be played shifting up using the D and G double stops then use the open E at the beginning of the 4th measure to shift back down to finish. Nice to have more than one arrow in your quiver and shifting looks cool and well, as we all know - its all about the look... Have Fun!
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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinky reach vs. position shift (Haste to the Wedding)

    On my OM, I normally do a position shift in such cases, especially since I could play the whole second measure with my three strong fingers in that position. Additionally, I'd melt the first three notes into one x577 triple-stopped dotted half (and that's not following the chords indicated in the sheet but replacing them with more interesting ones).
    Last edited by Bertram Henze; Jan-20-2019 at 12:20pm.
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