Page 1 of 1

3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:04 pm
by Keyedd
This is my first post after discovering the site a few days ago.

I have been messing about with the blues for a number of years from the safety of my bedroom. A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and joined a local
blues band. I have learnt my blues scales and can improvise riffs / runs over an octave or two but my fingers get tied up if I try to go 2 octaves plus.

Can anyone guide me to, or suggest exercises for extended runs ? All the books / websites I have been to seem to concentrate on 1 or 2 octaves.


Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:20 pm
by Jbyrd 88
One octave contains every note in the universe-----in my opinion, two octaves is just showin' out. Hell, that's enough for two tunes. As for the difficulty level, which is usually paid more attention when you are playing for other musicians instead of a crowd, playing it all in one octave is the most difficult. I have a friend who plays bass. He starts with his thumb on the G dot and never moves it from that spot.....he says all 12 notes are within reach of that spot. If you can reach an octave from your thumb to your little finger you have the entire world of music in your hand. Less is more. Simplicity is powerful.

Just My Two Cents

Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:45 pm
by Ed Boyd
If you can do two octaves you should be able to do five. Thumb passes under going up and the finger cross over the thumb going down. ( That is how I do it .... I think)

Playing octaves is another story. There you need to develop fast accuracy in your scales. Perfect practice makes perfect. :D

Have fun.

Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:27 pm
by Jbyrd 88
Practice, practice, practice. It's the ONLY way to learn anything. The more you practice, the better you get. Also it's been my experience that a month without practice will cancel out about a year of practice. If you consider the folks who learn to play guitar upside down and backwards, playing within an octave on a piano doesn't seem like much of a big deal. I use 13 notes instead of the 12 I mentioned. Like, in the key of G, I'll use the G on both ends. It's still just an octave though.

Also it depends on whether you are playing alone or with a group. A group of five playing very simple and very tight --sounds very complex. A group of five playing complex-- sounds like a swarm of locusts.

Gotta Go Practice

Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:12 pm
by multisounds
Hi Key,

A good way to achieve those octave runs is to practice your scales for 4 octaves either both hands or just your right hand-ascending and decending. I used to be stuck around just one or two octaves when improvising, but then, I tried to conciously move to other adjacent octaves and kept those scale runs up and down crossing at least 2-3 octaves.

Also, play some of the standard riffs an octave or two higher and than what is written and run back up or down as you please. Thirdly, think or a melody in your head and try to play that melody and you'll find the fingers will want to follow your heart!!! :D Just adjust them to your own technique!


Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:00 pm
by Jbyrd 88
Or if you REALLY want to muddy things up why not go for 7.33333333333333333 octaves? Then you'd be utilizing the whole piano instead of wasting all those keys. Isn't that why it has 88 keys?


Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:26 pm
by Ed Boyd
Yep. If we were not meant to play all those keys Baldwin would not have put them on my grand pianny.

Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:33 pm
by Keyedd
Thanks for the responses guys

Its been a few weeks since I posted and I have had more time to bed in with the band, a few of my own observations to back up your much appreciated advice

1) at first I was concious of sounding good / wanting to impress and it seems I was thinking (it has been known to happen) too much !
I have found that if I go with the flow or what I hear it sounds better.
2) a variation on the above - i realised that the fills I was playing during verses sounded great - but as soon as my 16 bar solos came up the feel dissapeared -
I realised I was trying to fill up the whole 16 bars with notes ( its a solo I have to be playing all the time ) - I now leave more space
3) I have a habit of over complicating things - if it sounds great I automatically think it must be diffcult to play.
4) I try to mix standard blues riffs with melody notes and rhythms from the song - otherwise all solos sound the same.
5) Once I had learnt the song structure and started to follow what I was hearing - my fingers started to get a life of their own - playing notes / riffs that
I never would have "chosen" - which has now led me to trust my ears more instead of continually learning riffs - with some nice results.

I am surprised how much my playing has come on by just joining a band and having a go.

So to summarise - have a go, make mistakes, persevere, play with others often, be astounded ! (my new sign off me thinks !)

Re: 3 / 4 / 5 octave runs - advice needed

PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:20 pm
by cobra1365
One exercise I do is I start with my left hand at the lowest root of the scale on the Key board. Then run the scale all the way to the highest root note with my left hand. I then reverse it and play it in the oppostie direction with my right hand. If I make any mistake, I start over from the beginning until I get it with no mistakes. This way, I have covered every octave with each hand.