Piano Fingerings for
Eb minor pentatonics & Bbm Blues modes

J.Brent©2006

When using pentatonics, I jump around between 3-finger and 4-finger positions. I call the positions by the note the thumb lands on in the set.

I find that the thumb, in this particular case, is equally at home on any black key.

Therefore any of these positions are valid and useful.


4-finger positions

1st position: Eb Gb Ab Bb
fingers:      1  2  3  4

b3rd position: Gb Ab Bb Db
fingers:       1  2  3  4

4th position: Ab Bb Db Eb
fingers:      1  2  3  4

5th position: Bb Db Eb Gb
fingers:      1  2  3  4

b7th position: Db Eb Gb Ab
fingers:       1  2  3  4


* * * * * * *

The 3-finger positions basically use the bottom three notes of each of the above sets, however in 3-finger positions I will often prefer to use the ring finger instead of the middle finger in cases such as

b7th position (3-finger): Db Eb Gb
fingers:                  1  2  4

4th position (3-finger): Ab Bb Db
fingers:                 1  2  4

Here is an ascending 4-octave "run" with what (to me at the moment) seems to be the easiest and most efficient fingering for Eb minor pentatonic.

1st position: Eb Gb Ab Bb
fingers:      1  2  3  4

b7th position: Db Eb Gb Bb
fingers:       1  2  3  4

5th position: Bb Db Eb Gb
fingers:      1  2  3  4

4th position: Ab Bb Db Eb
fingers:      1  2  3  4

b3rd position: Gb Ab Bb Db Eb
fingers:       1  2  3  4  5


While this isn't a tidy repeating pattern, as long as you have the visualization down pat, it can be easily executed at a very fast tempo with a minimum of practice.

To descend simply reverse.


* * * * * * *

When doing straight up runs, I typically add an extra note into the 6 note Blues scale ( 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 ) and that note is the nat7.

This turns it into a 7-note scale with a 4-finger position and a 3-finger position.


In the case of Am Blues I finger it like this:

4-finger position: A C D Eb
                  
1 2 3 4

3-finger position: E G G#
                  
1 2 3


In the case of Ebm Blues, the two possible positions are:

4-finger position: D  Eb Gb Ab
                  
1  2  3  4

3-finger position: A  Bb Db
                  
1  2  3


A three-octave run using this system and beginning on the root would therefore be fingered:

4fp:       3fp:       4fp:         3fp:
4Eb Gb Ab   A Bb 5Db   D Eb Gb Ab   A Bb 6Db
  2  3  4    1 2   3    1 2  3  4    1 2   3

4fp:        3fp:       4fp:
D Eb Gb Ab   A Bb 7Db   D Eb
1 2  3  4    1 2   3    1 2


Similarly for the Bb Blues the two fingering positions would be:

4-finger position: A Bb Db Eb
                  
1 2  3  4

3-finger position: E F Ab
                  
1 2 3


The above only relates to straight runs. When actually soloing in these keys I am most likely to twiddle using the following positions:


Eb Blues:

1st position: Eb Gb Ab A
fingers:      1  2  3  4

b7th position: Db Eb Gb
fingers:       1  2  4

5th position: Bb Db Eb
fingers:      1  2  3


Bb Blues

1st position: Bb Db Eb E
fingers:      1  2  3  4

b7th position: Ab Bb Db
fingers:       1  2  4

5th position: F Ab Bb
fingers:      1 2  3


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