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Discussion Starter #1
Having played some drums there are no keys. having played a littl bass , i was able to "memorize" some kets thru finger patters on the neck. But I have never had to actuall "memorize" all the keys in say Major or Mionr.

So what do you all find works best?
 

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Practice.
 

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That's a really good question, and an important one. Here's what I'd suggest:

Learn and memorize the 12 major scales. On the horn AND in your mind. Start with C major since it has no flats or sharps. What you want to learn are the notes and where each note fits in the scale, numerically. For example, in C maj, the '1' is C (that should be pretty easy to remember), the '2' is D, the '3' is E, and so on. What you are shooting for is instant recall. The goal is to be able to instantly know that the 6th in C major is A, without having to think about it. Of course you'll have to think it out during the learning process, but eventually you'll just know. The 4th is F. And so on.

Do this with every key. In F#, the 4th is B, the 7th is F (well, technically it's E#, but thinking enharmonically works fine, at least from an ear/improv standpoint). In the key of B, the third is D#, the 6th is G# (ok, I had to think for a second to get that one, but on the horn I'd be able to finger it immediately). In G, the third is B, the 7th is F#, the 2nd (9th) is A, and so on.

Does this make sense? Hopefully so. I guarantee you it will work. And there will be many applications, not the least of which is spelling out chords: In Cmaj, 1, 3, 5, 7 = C E G B, a major 7th chord. Then when you get to minor, dominant, etc, it's simply a matter of learning the 'formula.' So a dominant chord is 1 3 5 b7. So C7 = C E G Bb.

I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. Don't get bogged down, just start with the 12 major scales, one at a time. Learn them on the horn and in your head. If you have a keyboard, you can use that also.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i understand how it all works, and i understand the scales and all. I just never knew if anyone had a 'shortcut' to memorization besides rote memory work.

The nice thing about bass is/was it is all linear and repeatable,o if you get some patterns down you get beter faster than raw memorization.
 

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i understand how it all works, and i understand the scales and all. I just never knew if anyone had a 'shortcut' to memorization besides rote memory work.
Nope. There aren't any shortcuts. Just hard work.
 

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I find practicing around the circle of 4ths is as close to a shortcut as you will find. When that gets easy, switch to chromatic, then find another way.
 

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i understand how it all works, and i understand the scales and all. I just never knew if anyone had a 'shortcut' to memorization besides rote memory work.

The nice thing about bass is/was it is all linear and repeatable,o if you get some patterns down you get beter faster than raw memorization.
What I explained is the closest thing to a shortcut, in that it works. But no there are no shortcuts.

Just to clarify, was your question more related to how to get it all 'under your fingers' on the sax? It is different from a bass or guitar in that every key is a whole different thing (fingering-wise), not just the same finger patterns in a different postion. However, in mental terms, it is the same patterns. That's where the numerical part comes in. A major third sounds the same and is the same interval in every key. But on the sax, you have to work through each key (as i said start with the major scale) and get it under your fingers. I find it helps to know the notes mentally. It's not enough to just read the notes off the page (although you can start that way, get away from reading it and use your ear asap).

And yeah, I second zonepeter. Work everything around the cycle of fourths. But start by learning the 12 major scales, playing them up and down the horn, in broken thirds, and various patterns. That's really essential and if you do it thoroughly it will save you a lot of frustration down the line. I know this from experience!

p.s. You might try working in one key a week. Spend all week in one key, then move to the next the following week, and so on. Lots of ways to do it, but it will take time. Time flies by all too fast...that's the good news and the bad news.
 

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Practice.
Right Hakukani!! Listen to the tunes you are learning from different bands that cover the tune and some will play in different keys. Listening to people play in different keys helps with ear training, but what hak says is absolutely right. Keep playing the songs over and over until you get it and then change keys. I jump thirds first because it is easiest as far as fingering. Also work on harmonies because if you jump up a third, and harmonize, you just learned another key.
 
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