So I have a couple questions regarding finger stretches in three notes per string scale patterns that I need some help with.

The first one deals with the major scale pattern. I've always heard that for the two whole step pattern on any string (i.e., X - X - X) you're supposed to use your first finger for the first note, your third for the second, and stretch your fourth to reach the third. However, while reading about scales on the internet I randomly found a site that recommended you use your second finger for the second note. On a whim I tried it, and I kind of feel like using your second finger for the second note is easier and faster than using your third, especially when you are playing closer to the nut where the frets are wider. I just feel like it's easier to make the stretch for that extra fret between your index and middle finger than it is to make the stretch between your ring and pinky. So here's my question: What is the generally agreed upon finger to use, and are there any disadvantages to using your second finger for the second note.

My second question deals with the harmonic minor scale pattern. I'm confused as to how exactly to play the string pattern that has a b6, VII, and I (it looks like this: X - - X X). I've seen in most places that your supposed to slide your pinky finger for the last two notes, but that just seems kind of haphazard to me, especially when you're descending. I've also seen in a couple places that you're supposed to stretch your ring finger for the second note and then play the third note with your pinky, and this method seems to me to be the better option.

Thanks for your help
Last edited by redfin at Jul 2, 2010,
1. I personally use my third finger for the second tone.
But it is general. You can use which ever feels comfortable.
My hands are relatively small so my second can't stretch that easily.
You use whatever feels right and doesnt give you problems.
Also, i occasionally interchange. THere are situations where you'd need to use the 'non conventional' one.

2. Your 'better option' is good. Again, same thing, if it works for you, and it won't cause you to cramp or hurt, it is fine.

AGAIN there are times when you need to do the slide with the pinky and that is perfectly acceptable.

It is up to you on your guitar quest to learn your hands and fretboard.
The simple fact is that you don't play scales so there's little point worrying about it too much.

Now, you use scales to create music - that's when you want to be worrying about fingering, figuring out what's going to work best for that song.
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It's true that in general, you want to use the 124 fingering for the first question. Often the second will depend on circumstance, but you certainly can use 134 if it's handy.
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Now, you use scales to create music - that's when you want to be worrying about fingering, figuring out what's going to work best for that song.

That's my answer too. For me it all depends on where I came from and where I am going in the song. Sometimes one fingering works better than the other depending on the situation. You should get comfortable with using 1-2-4 & 1-3-4 since you will use them both at one time or another. But let the song dictate which one you use in a given situation.

I think it's good to try out suggested fingerings to see if they work for you. You might discover a way of doing things you didn't think about that works better for you. But ultimately do what feels best for you. There's more than one way to do most things.
With regards to the first question: either or is fine but, personally, I prefer to use my middle finger for the second note.
As for number 2, I would generally say your way is the correct way; the first way isn't very efficient.
However, in the context of a song, you might end up having to use different fingerings depending on what comes before or after but generally, what you're doing is correct.
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