Fretless 6-String Guitar Technique – Tim Donahue
Two octave scales in one position with stretches of only the 1st and 4th fingers are good practice, because of no position shifts, intonation is easier to maintain.
A common 2 octave major scale from root to root may be fingered like this:
But there are 2 more fingerings of the same scale (with either 1st or 4th finger stretches) :
The scale built from any degree (dorian, phrygian, etc.) of a major scale can be played in 2 octaves without a shift in position. There are also 3 fingerings for each, so it follows that there are 21 different fingerings for a major scale (and its degrees) without a shift in position.
It is recommended that all scalar exercises be first taped on cassette with a fretted guitar and then played along with on fretless guitar. This helps maintain good intonation.
A digital delay with a “hold” function can be useful by providing a “drone” chord to play these exercises to. On a fretted guitar, in this case any chord diatonic to G major would work.
Drone notes can be used in one position single octave scale studies:
With the scale played in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.:
Tuning the drone bass string to other pitches and practicing scales or phrases over it can be fun. The following is played with the 6th string tuned to a low C.
The phrase is fingered in the VIIth position, and requires no stretches or position shifts:
Once again, the possibilities are endless for playing any scale or phrase against a drone diatonic to it. 6th string tuned to D:
Or with the 6th string tuned to F:
Or tuned to Eb:
…section endsback to Table of Contents Scales with Slides