The Chromatic Scale Will Help You Slide

A student named Abee was taking my recent lesson on Sliding The Left-hand Fingers.

In the video, I mention how the chromatic scale can help with sliding. More on that in a minute. First, this scale contains all 12 tones of western harmony. There is only one chromatic scale. However, I find it’s useful break it down into smaller chunks (the usual FiddleHed way of micro-practice). Here are the notes of the chromatic scale on the D string.

By the way, this not for beginners. Of course, I can’t stop you from fiddling with it! But I feel the need to make this disclaimer: if you try to learn things way beyond your current skill level you might get discouraged. Best to learn things slightly above your skill level.

Abee got really into this. Here’s what she said:

Your lesson on sliding sent me down this whole rabbit hole and I am now doing exercises on the chromatic scale. Jason, I LOVE this scale. I skipped all the lessons on sliding and just spent my time here. I can already see where it’s going to help in so many places.

How does the chromatic scale help with sliding?

In order to do this scale, you have to shift the position of each finger to a new pitch.

D0-L1-1-L1, two bows 

This is the same motion for sliding. So to learn sliding, you first move the finger without sliding, and then you move it with sliding. Then you experiment with big, slow slides vs. and little, quick slides.


So in a nutshell, you can alternate practice of the chromatic scale with sliding. Then do something totally different. Then come back to the new technique. This is a learning strategy called interleaving. Use this whatever you are learning.

Let me know how it goes…

Further learning

Chromatic Scale Exercises

[SLF: 1] Introduction To Sliding On The Fiddle

[SLF: 2] Adding Slides to Tune Phrases

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One response to “The Chromatic Scale Will Help You Slide

  1. This scale has quickly become my favorite. It’s so fun to play and watch my fingers more across that neck in ways I haven’t seen them do before. It forces me to slide down, which is still awkward for me, but… I am working on it! Being able to play this actually gave me the confidence to try that Peacock Rag you posted. I found I can play the first two bars. It’s so intimidating, but breaking things down really helps. I know I’ll be here for quite a while. 🙂