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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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April 21, 2012 | Ten years of FFcP

A year before the JazzMando website first came out in 2003, a new way of looking at the mandolin fretboard had been conceptualized and put into notation and TAB. In it's early stages, it didn't even have a name. Credit goes to Dion Dolamon for coming up with this acronym FFcP, "Four Finger closed Position."

FFcPlogo.gifThe idea was relatively simple. Because of the symmetry of 5ths tuning, the mandolin fretboard could be unraveled, reduced as variations on only four fingerings, not the traditional 12 keys. Thinking in note relationships rather than the notes of the scales themselves, both mental and physical framework could be fast-tracked for anyone wanting to be able to play up, down, and across the fingerboard.

We've had fun over the years expanding the concept in drills and exercises introducing major and minor modes, chord progression arpeggios, intervals, and even pentatonics. The concept became the cornerstone of the Getting Into Jazz Mandolin book.

Initially, the goal was to make the so called "horn keys" less intimidating--an Ab was simply an A scale one fret down. An Eb was one fret up from a D scale. What we found though was that putting more responsibility on the 4th finger also helped develop fret dexterity as well as player endurance. The drills were as much calisthenic as mental prescience.

Make no mistake, the FFcP is just as beneficial to the folk/bluegrass musician as the jazz or classical. What goes on in the lower frets is easily duplicated in the upper stratosphere, no need to fear the "no money" zone above the 7th fret. It's tremendous for 3rd and 4th finger "character," too.

Celebrate with us the ten years we've been able to launch many mandolinists into a new level of skill!

Check out our most recent Tips and Tricks article FFcP vs Closed Fingerings Scales.
Download the full complement of complimentary PDF FFcP Studies

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Posted by Ted at April 21, 2012 5:35 AM

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