Mikhal Caldwell

Extended Linear Fingerings

Hello out there in cyberworld,We may as well get on with this installment. This study will be focused on the idea of enlarged or extended linear fingerings. First off this is nothing new, however I hear a lot of younger players speak of the idea of playing 3 or 4 notes to a scale or phrase to give a smoother transition from note to note. I've found this to be true in a large percentage of a lot of players who work on developing their legato technique (playing a series of notes without the percussive sound of each note being in this case picked or plucked). Interval dispersion is a very helpful technique in playing a scale and spacing it out on the fretboard, thus giving us a very creative and super cool way to access large intervallic leaps from octave to octave. I was fortunate to have this technique under control when I worked with sax gaint James Carter, (who is considered by many people in the world to be the "new Coltrane") because the fingerings that I needed to access were crazy wide and James goes through them at warp 10!!!!!!!! Before I start with the notation (as I said before I don't do tab, sorry to those of you who don't read, however don't sweat it I'm going to write a study on the easiest ways to learn to read. I got your back!) I will first cover some of the theory behind some of the techniques we'll be using to perform some of this stuff. Please Remember :

1. Perfect practice makes perfect playing: remember to always work on the guitar in 3 major ways to approach a focused study.

a. Mental, this would mean that you would spend time with the guitar on a stand and a pencil in your hand. Sometimes we overlook the importance of understanding MUSIC. Not just understanding guitar playing (which is going to be limited at best since the guitar is a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT), but the mechanics of music as it applies to us as musicians.

b. Physical, EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE, ha ha ha! O.K Mine to too!!!!! However it is important to remember that this part is like training for a sport. That means that you would need to be smart about things like proper health (drugs WILL wreck your ass!!) diet, vitamins.YEP! that stuff is important to guitar kung-fu ha ha! Really, Niacin and vitamins A,D ,E are real cool for promoting good circulation, and also supply oxygen to the muscles, a vitamin B complex can also help to avoid cramping from over working small muscle groups (like your hands). Also smart training is knowing that you need to give muscles a chance to recover from hard workouts. This would also include a good warm up routine.

c. Musical, after you get all this amazing ability, you still need to make all this stuff you've learned sound like MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!! If you are playing something that is of no emotional value to you, then as James Brown said "you"re just talking loud, and saying NOTHING!!!!!!!"

Lets get with the first exercise which will be to to work with 2 ideas the first one will be to play 5 notes per string per diatonic scale. I know you're saying, How!!!!!! LIKE THIS!!!!!!!! We will have to employ a technique that is very common to violinist known as "glissando". This simply put means to slide from pitch to pitch without lifting the finger performing the noting (on the neck) example: slide from E on the A string to G# on the same string, pretty simple, huh, just wait! Let's have some fun with this lets try an exercise in connecting scales at the 4th to get a suspended feel with a melodic vehicle. This is what we'll be playing G, A, B, C, D. Starting at G on the E string. Use your first (index) finger to slide up to A, then to B, and then using an up stroke with your pick, play the last 2 notes on the string using your second and fourth (pinky) fingers. Now comes the fun, reach back down the neck to the C on the A string and slide at to the D, then to the E and the strike the F and G with your second and forth (pinky) again. Next you reach over to the D string and again 1st finger on the F etc... this exercise will be good for developing a killer stretch and also making you familiar with accessing intervals that connect in any tonality!!!!!!!!!

The second idea is also something that you'll find handy. This is simply to start each string with a different stroke than the string before. Example: E string up stroke, A string down stroke, D string etc. It is also important to reverse the picking procedure. As always work this stuff and don't let it work you! Remember to take your time and let it happen. If you need me, get at me at and I'll help you with what you need. Till next time ...Make the dots dance..........

Mikhal........................The Electric Warrior ....