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Thread: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

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    Registered User LoneStarMandolin's Avatar
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    Default beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    read a lot about FFcP here so went to Jazzmando.com and downloaded some of that stuff. couldn't really find a "begin here" section - "do this first" then this and then this.

    did download some scales and played those today. wow - my little finger did not care for that at all!

    did I miss something over at jazzmando? is there a set of standard lessons, a progression I need to go through? is there a book?
    that ain't no part of nothin'!

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    Registered User LKN2MYIS's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    I think you did what most of us first did.

    I looked at the FFcP diagrams on-line and starting practicing them. I think they limbered up my fingering tremendously, and gave me a good understanding of the fretboard (which I am still learning).

    They are difficult at first, but really help your playing and understanding.

    I bought Ted's book "Getting Into Jazz Mandolin", and it is a treasure trove.

    Keep practicing them until they become second nature. They'll teach you how to play all over the fretboard, and also get your fingers built up.

    They're a good way to go, IMHO.
    John
    Long Island, New York

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    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    I'm with John. FFcP is a good path toward improvemnt. If you haven't already seen it, there's a thread called "My FFcP Progress Report" that you might want to take a look at. http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=47570

    Also there's an FFcP Social Group. It would be a place you could also ask questions.

    Have fun!

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    New mando fighter Mandophyte's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Here, here, two the two above!

    Take your time and pay attention to tone, see Jazzmando.com Your little finger will get used to working, remember, you've not done much with it for all of your life.

    Start off on just the "home" sections of Ionian Mandology. The second position (B) is the hardest, leave it until you get more flexiblity in your hand. Then move onto the next section, get each one pretty well before you move onto the next. Ted's book has all this in it, don't be put off by the jazz bit it's a very good place to start. The book has notation and tab.

    Don't forget to play some music for pleasure as well as excercising, and don't try to play 10 hours a day - you'll damage yourself. Plenty of info on this on this site.

    Enjoy!
    John

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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Welcome to the fun, LoneStarMondolin!

    Good advice above. I worked through the third finger position first, then the 4th finger position, then the 1st finger, and lastly the second finger patterns. Just seconding what Mandophyte said - this was best, because that last 2nd finger pattern has the longest stretch, and is therefore the hardest.

    One thing I found helpful has to do with the fact that these patterns can be moved up and down the fretboard. When I was having too much trouble with the stretch involved in a pattern, I would move it up a few frets and practice there for a bit. Frets were closer together, life was easier. Then, as my fingers got stronger and more flexible, I moved the patterns back "down" the fretboard to the base position.

    Fortunately, Ted's work has a lot of enthusiastic advocates here, so you should have no problem getting info and support. Last tip - Even though they are scales and patterns, they sound best when I try to play them as pieces of music - just a frame of mind that gets me closer to where I want to go :-)

    Have Fun!
    Follow your bliss- it knows where it's going.

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    Registered User desaljs's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Lone Star,

    It is worth it to buy the book! Good luck with the little finger.
    Jim D

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    Registered User bjc's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Just stick with it!!!
    PeacE
    Brian

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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    i haven't been over to Jazzmando for a bit, but i kinda remember them starting the on-line FFcP stuff with the hardest first, like C & F? Lower A, E, B, seem the easiest.
    I also remember somewhere reading alot of Jazz is in Bb & F. Kinda horn keys. I dunno. I still wait for a resolving phrase to catch the key, whatever it may be.
    . . . better living through Music.

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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    I began with FFcP about two years ago. The material on the web site and at Mel Bay mandolin sessions is all there was back then and that was fine for me. I well remember hardly being able to get my pinky into position let alone fret the string cleanly! As the other posters say, keep at it and you will be amazed.

    It helped for me to think of it as exercise like going to the gym. Leaving out the (excellent) musical aspects, it is a perfect "fitness routine" to strengthen and (effectively) lengthen your left hand. If you've ever followed a weight training programme you'll see what I mean -- a little bit each day, slowly adding strength, and after a number of months you are new (wo)man!

    Also, you are building muscle memory, not just strength. I believe there is strengthening of the neural connections from brain through arm and wrist to fingers -- less obvious than the strong fingers but a real effect none the less.

    I latched onto the Super FFcP because I really like the musicality: the arpeggios, 4ths, and contrary motion, as well as the 3rds we are more likely to know already. As Ted clearly says in the footnotes to the exercises (1) go as slowly as necessary (2) repeat as much as you want (3) pay attention to tone and timing -- no clunkers!! Speed and fluency comes with practice.

    To keep it interesting you can rotate exercises by day: 4 FFcP positions x 3 starting frets (1, 2, 3) for the 1st finger.

    Once I got fairly proficient I combined a low FFcP with the continuation on the upper strings, although only the 1st -> 4th gives two octaves from the root. So with the others I go down and then up. E.g. 3rd -> 2nd starts on C, say, and can reach high B (2nd FFcP starting on the C note of the A string). But, you can also descend from the low C down to A with the 1st finger. In fact that can become an FFcP exercise in the 6th scale degree i.e. Aeolian (natural minor) if you start on that low A.

    Finally, I agree that moving up the neck can be a nice relief. Ted has one version (on Mel Bay I think) from the 3rd fret -- as he says, a real "sweet" part of the fingerboard.

    No matter what your style, the finger strength, stretch and muscle memory will really help your playing!!

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    Needs Improvement Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    did download some scales and played those today. wow - my little finger did not care for that at all!
    Hey, that's the point! Keep doing it until your pinky agrees with you!

    I find it hard to just sit and play scales or FFcP stuff for very long. It bores me to tears. But it's important stuff, and it has helped me a lot (although I readily admit I have a looooong way to go). If you stick with it, you will start seeing real results in a week or two. You'll suddenly notice that it's much easier to play them and they will sound cleaner. That will give you the motivation to stick with it. I know it has for me. Sometimes I can hardly wipe the stupid grin off my face after realizing that I am indeed improving.

    To keep it interesting you can rotate exercises by day: 4 FFcP positions x 3 starting frets (1, 2, 3) for the 1st finger.
    That's what I've been doing. Each day I work on a different starting position and focus solely on that one for that day, instead of trying to do them all. Plus, I mix up the FFcP practice with some 3-octave scales and arpeggio exercises from another source (Chris Thile's DVD, which he says he got from an old violin practice book). I think it's important to stay diverse and not get locked into one single regimen. Mix it up, but not so much that you're scattered too much. Make sure the different exercises all tie together and allow you to focus on one thing each day. The net result will be improvement, but it only comes with hard work.

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    Registered User JonZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    You wouldn't go wrong to just set a goal of being able to play the "Super FFcP" warm up perfectly at a moderate speed within a year. Just learn it bit by bit. It gets easier after you learn one of the positions because your ear will know what it should be hearing as you learn the next ones, and your pinky will become more cooperative. I got to where I could play the warm up pretty decently all the way through and now I have backed off again to make sure I can play each of the sections perfectly. I went back over the four major scales and now I am working on the thirds again. I'll work through them all until they all sound great (even the fourths!) and then go back to the Super FFcP warmup as just a warm up again.

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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    You wouldn't go wrong to just set a goal of being able to play the "Super FFcP" warm up perfectly at a moderate speed within a year.
    Exactly right!! That's the mentality you have to develop. For almost all of us it is a slow process, but no need or benefit in rushing. Like the weight training I mentioned before, or marathon running... you can't just say "I'll bench press X pounds next week [like the biggest guy in the gym = Chris Thile or Ronnie McCoury] or run a 3-hour marathon next weekend", you have to work up S-L-O-W-L-Y. The process (training) should be fun in itself. And you will be amazed what you can do effortlessly after a year. Or two (for the 2nd FFcP).

    I forgot to emphasize what Ted also says: if your fingers start hurting (tendons, wrist...) STOP!! for the day. Never ever play through pain.

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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    1920 Gibson F2

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    Mandolin Apprentice joni24's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    I'm resurrecting this old thread because it already has a lot of valuable information in it. My question is dealing with the basic "Ionian Mandology" exercises. For those of us who will be focusing primarily on bluegrass music and fiddle tunes, as opposed to jazz/standards music, I'm thinking that it would be better to learn the dominant 7th (flatted seventh) arpeggio in our introductory studies, rather than the 1 Maj7 that is in these exercises. I'm sure that over time this major 7 will also be of value, but for starters I can see many more uses for the flat 7 chords and arpeggios, even if it's just as a transition to go from the I to the IV chord. Comments?
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    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    I had the same thoughts as you, especially after Sharon Gilchrist, at Kaufman Mandolin camp, suggested we learn dom7 arpeggios in all permutations up the neck. I decided, however, to work the Ionian exercise in GiJM as written. My thinking was swayed by a desire to drill exactly where that 7 note will be, depending on what finger is on the 1 note. This helps me not put the 7 note in, when playing over the I and IV and vi chords, and it helps me know exactly where the 7 is when I need it over the V chord (5-7-2-4). I worried that I would tend to play the 7 note as a flatted 7 note in the V chord (the 7 note is the V chord's "3" note). Since I did it that way, I can't say whether your idea is better or not.

    My thinking was also based on looking ahead, as I'm sure you have. You're going to get to dom7 arpeggios soon in the book, anyway. Now, I use Ted's "Super" ffcp exercise in differing keys for a warmup on most days, and I don't much revisit the original Ionion mandology exercises. But I have grown to appreciate the IMaj7, vi7, ii7, V7 pattern. I have recorded this chord pattern in various keys, and I play this part of the Ionian Mandology exercise over those progressions, using every ffcp pattern I can find. This is very good for fingerboard geography on the quick. Also, you will soon realize how helpful this exercise is in "getting" the harmonized scale. (So are the dorian patterns exercise).

    I have learned that, for me, Ted's book can't be rushed, although I certainly tried to power through it. Also, I have learned that it isn't everything I need. For bluegrass, as a separate thing from GiJM, I have learned dom 7 arpeggios, practicing starting the next chord's dom7 arpeggio from wherever I am on the fretboard. I found it really helpful to do this over recorded chord progressions too. In some ways, I can't say I was really ready for big "head" doses of GiJm (as opposed to "finger" doses) until I was fluent in open positions and had gotten pretty good at regular ol' arpeggios.

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    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    I see all the FFcP stuff, including "advanced," "chromatic mastering," "dorian/minor," etc..., but do you have a link to the "Super" exercise? (Or are you just using that word as a generic descriptor, and not an actual name of something?)

    Or maybe it's in his book.

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    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    It's a real exercise that was titled, "Super FFcP," if I recall correctly. I can't remember exactly where I got it. I thought it was a link from the Cafe to JazzMando. I remember some instruction with it that ended with something like, "now do this every day for the rest of your life." Maybe Ted will help us out. (If there's no link, I'll look thru my layers of paper, and try to find it to send.)

    It's not in the book.

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    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please


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    Mandolin Apprentice joni24's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Quote Originally Posted by pickloser View Post
    I decided, however, to work the Ionian exercise in GiJM as written. My thinking was swayed by a desire to drill exactly where that 7 note will be, depending on what finger is on the 1 note. This helps me not put the 7 note in, when playing over the I and IV and vi chords, and it helps me know exactly where the 7 is when I need it over the V chord (5-7-2-4). I worried that I would tend to play the 7 note as a flatted 7 note in the V chord (the 7 note is the V chord's "3" note).
    OK, that makes sense and is reason enough to learn the M7 version of the arpeggios.

    On another topic, Pickloser, I love love love your Guide to Double Stops and Repeating Patterns! I just found it yesterday, read half the document last night, and already I feel a door opening into the magical world of double stops. This may sound weird, but when I couldn't sleep last night I found myself going over TINY, UPTENT, DOWNTENT, TWO-SPACER, BAR and STRETCHY. So much easier to remember when they each have their own name! Have you looked into publishing this little gem of knowledge? For those not familiar, the document is found in this thread:http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...t=double+stops
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    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Thanks a bunch! I don't think there would be much use in publishing something I've posted on the web, but I truly appreciate your thinking it is publishable. You'll have doublestops at your beck and call in a couple weeks, I think. They aren't hard--once they aren't hard. Doublestops serve me well even when I'm not using them. For example, I think of all the ring/3rd finger ffcp info as the "two-spacer" scales. And arpeggios are double stops with extra notes. I have discovered that I learn mandolin/music with much less brain strain, if I have a "filing system" for my head that makes sense to me. I realize that other's don't need this or need something different to assimilate what they learn (insert Borg jokes here), but "an approach" surely helps me.

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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    More variations here, including Moving Up the Fretboard and Pentatonics: FFcP Studies.
    Also 7th Chord Arpeggios.
    Ted Eschliman
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    Mandolin Apprentice joni24's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Ted, thank you so much for sharing this wealth of knowledge! Right now I'm just a beginner on this journey, trying to wrap my mind around each concept, each exercise. As folks have already stated, it'll probably take months/years to get motor memory in my fingers and muscles. But I'm enjoying the journey, and that's what counts most.
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Ted you have freely given away the core of your "Getting into Jazz Mandolin" book that I have to say thanks for being so generous even though I bought it. The old saying "Why buy the cow when the milk is free" come to mind but there are parts of the book you haven't given away, yet. Thanks, again.

    The FFcP Key of A exercise was the first one I learned before I bought the book. It was so useful and was all I played for 6 months. For a bluegrass jam using that pentatonic scale I could play any key and keep up. Granted I was just banging away at the notes and not composing a deliberate phrase but it was passable and a whole lot of fun during a fast jam. I got the book because the freebies were so useful I wanted to give back and learn more. Good job, Ted.
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    Registered User Justus True Waldron's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    Pardon my naivety, but I've kept hearing about this ffcp thing so I just looked it up... given that I'm at work with no mandolin to try this on I'm probably missing something here, but what separates ffcp from just learning closed scale patterns and arpeggios? I've certainly still got plenty to learn, but I already do closed scales up and down the fretboard using my pinky (playing cello really helps this too...) what is the concept that separates ffcp from that?
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    Mandolin Apprentice joni24's Avatar
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    Default Re: beginning FFcP - need a little help please

    OK, let me take a stab at this from a newbie perspective. The beauty of ffcp is that you learn closed scales in 4 different positions: where the root of the scale starts from each of your 4 left hand fingers. Thus, no matter what chord you are playing or where you are on the fingerboard, you can find the scale tones for that chord without changing hand positions. Ted & others already embracing ffcp, please chime in with additions/corrections...

    Ps. It's a very good question. I waited several months before I dug deeper into ffcp for the same reasons.
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