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Beginner Finding it hard to swing scales


Formerly HipCity
Hi all,

Well I've been playing 5 weeks now and making steady progress. My tone has improved some and I'm managing the low notes much better even though my very high notes still sound like a descant recorder on acid!

Anyway, I've been tasked with getting to grips with my scales (swing style) before my lesson on Tuesday afternoon. I have practiced loads this week and am so sick of doing scales but am still struggling. The thing is I can play the scales up to 4 sharps or flats fine normally but when I try to play the scales swing style I make silly mistakes like missing a flat or sharp or get the notes right but the rhythm and articulation go out of the window. I'm also find I sometimes hold the top note a bit too long and lose my rhythm.

I've made a point of not playing straight scales at all this last week so all my scales practice has been swing and I just can't get used to it. Does anyone have any tips to help me?

I was hoping to also work on some improvisation this week but have been too busy with the scales so I would really like to crack this so I can move onto something else.

Thanks Kerry


Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
If trying to play scales with a different rhythm pattern such as swing eighth notes causes you to play wrong notes, it means you really haven't mastered the scales. Following countless repetitions, the finger patterns to produce each scale become automatic which means you can play the scales without thinking OR while thinking of something else like the rhythm or style. Just give it some more time. It will happen like overnight when you have reached that point.

A great way to internalize playing scales in swing 8th notes is to play along with a rhythm track in 12/8 time (Like Georgia on my Mind"). This really helps to lock in the 2:1 ratio of the swung notes.
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