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Thread: quick key change question

  1. #1

    Default quick key change question

    Hi,

    Probably a pretty basic question but I searched online and couldn't find info on shifting the melody like this (only changing chord keys).

    If I'm playing a melody in the key of A (like Bill Cheatham) and I shift everything up one to lower pitched strings (normally starting on the D string like here) and instead I start on the G string with the same fingerings, am I now playing in the key of D and am basically moving up a fourth and rotating counter-clockwise one on the Circle of Fifths?

    Same if I do that with Red Haired Boy in D (like here) and am now playing in G?

    If I took a song like Turkey in the Straw in G (like here) and shifted it down one to higher pitched strings, am I moving to the key of D, up a fifth and rotating clockwise one on the Circle of Fifths?

    Is there any trick to shifting it to something like the key of C whose root doesn't align with an open string? Or shifting to FFCP closed position scales?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: quick key change question

    FFcP is one real good way to learn to play any tune in all keys. Its excellent.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  3. #3

    Default Re: quick key change question

    Instead of using closed positions take a tune you know really well and figure out C in the open position, then you know F and Bb. If you know something in G from the 5th fret D string then you know it in C (if you know open G then figure it out from the 5th fret G).

    The first couple times it might take you a bit but you’ll be much more proficient on switching keys and able to make use of open strings.

    The first few measures of Turkey in the Straw are a similar melody to Dixie Hoedown which is in D so use similar tunes to help you out as you go along. Whatever works for you, have fun!
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  4. #4

    Default Re: quick key change question

    There is a trick that will take you half way to FFcP.

    You practice Bill Cheatham as you would normally do with the same FRETS at the open position, EXCEPT that you don’t use your first, index finger at all. You’ll now see that you have to use your middle finger for fret 2 and ring for fret 4 and your pinky if the tab says 5th fret.

    Once you can feel the tune like that you move your whole hand up two frets, and this time the index finger is used on the second fret, middle on the fourth, ring finger on the 6th and pinky on the 7th. Now you are playing Bill Cheatham in B.

    Move the whole hand up three more frets and the tune is in D.
    In FFcP this is called ‘first finger FFcP’.
    You’ll find that quite often your first finger will play the root note of the key with your pinky playing the root 1 octave above which will be five frets up and one string towards the ground, but it depends on the tune.
    Have fun.

  5. #5
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: quick key change question

    These are great questions.

    If I'm playing a melody in the key of A (like Bill Cheatham) and I shift everything up one to lower pitched strings (normally starting on the D string like here) and instead I start on the G string with the same fingerings, am I now playing in the key of D and am basically moving up a fourth and rotating counter-clockwise one on the Circle of Fifths?
    Yes, if you start Bill Cheatham on the 2nd fret of the G string you will be playing it in D.

    Same if I do that with Red Haired Boy in D (like here) and am now playing in G?
    Again, if you start Red Haired Boy on the 2nd fret of the G you will be playing in D BUT I see the confusion here. We say "Bill Cheatham and Red Haired Boy are both in A" but the key signatures are different aren't they? This is where a little understanding of "Modes" is great but not necessary to play and have fun. Bill Cheatham is built off the A scale (3 #s) and is therefore of the 1st mode (ionian). Red Haired Boy is built off the D scale (2 #s) and is therefore of the 5th mode (mixolydian).. Both have a tonal center of A meaning A is the chord that feels like home. What gives? Don't let this muddy the waters. When these tunes were conceived I'd bet money that the original player(s) didn't know modes. Lol. If you are a "must know" person, as many on here are, just keep digging.. it's down there I swear.

    If I took a song like Turkey in the Straw in G (like here) and shifted it down one to higher pitched strings, am I moving to the key of D, up a fifth and rotating clockwise one on the Circle of Fifths?
    Yes. Exactly.

    Your last question about shifting the key of C, or F, or B or "keys that don't align with open strings". FFcP will definitely help (in a lot of ways). Just keep in mind If you move in the direction of 5ths they key changes by a fifth eg. C to G. If you move in the direction of fourths the key changes by a fourth eg. C to F.

    Good Luck!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: quick key change question

    Thanks for all of your replies. That really helps.

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    Default Re: quick key change question

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    There is a trick that will take you half way to FFcP.

    You practice Bill Cheatham as you would normally do with the same FRETS at the open position, EXCEPT that you don’t use your first, index finger at all. You’ll now see that you have to use your middle finger for fret 2 and ring for fret 4 and your pinky if the tab says 5th fret.

    Once you can feel the tune like that you move your whole hand up two frets, and this time the index finger is used on the second fret, middle on the fourth, ring finger on the 6th and pinky on the 7th. Now you are playing Bill Cheatham in B.

    Move the whole hand up three more frets and the tune is in D.
    In FFcP this is called ‘first finger FFcP’.
    You’ll find that quite often your first finger will play the root note of the key with your pinky playing the root 1 octave above which will be five frets up and one string towards the ground, but it depends on the tune.
    Have fun.
    I simply don't understand this approach. Three fingers to cover 7 frets, the pinky covering three of them (5,6,7), without the use of the strongest and most independent finger? I would have trouble even fretting the low c# and g# in the key of A.

    From the very beginning I've been using all four fingers, regardless of key, avoiding open strings unless pick economy, or some special effect, suggested them (as, e.g., in the 2nd part of Brilliancy), meaning I used (and still use) the 7th fret quite extensively in keys like D, G, and A. And I still (after 52 years) avoid leaving a string on an open note.

    Of course, playing in Bb or B wouldn't mean jusrt moving my A figures up one or two frets, I might find better fingerings in the lowest position. And the key of Ab wouldn't mean moving my G figures up one fret but rather moving my A figures down one.

    I think it's important to become familiar with all (major) keys in 1st position, transposing from one key to another, not by figuring, or by geometry, but by ear. Moving figures up and down the fretboard really is no big deal.

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