Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
Tips & Tricks Mel Bay Mandolin Sessions








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."

Super FFcP
A Thorough Warm-up Routine

A truly great daily practice regimen of warming and stretching fingers balances the thorough with the succinct. The best approach to getting the fingers going not only includes the short term "supple," but incorporates a longterm, systematic advance toward mastering a penetratingly tactile familiarity with entire fretboard, multiple combinations of scales, arpeggios, and ear training.

We've introduced the magic of the FFcP system for attacking familiar and less familiar keys, but now that you've got them into your fingers, the next step is to continue to grow daily in their mastery, but include the entire variety of combinations in as short a time as possible. These are great chopbuilders, but the secret is to consistently devote 8 to 10 minutes EVERY day as a warm-up, so you can move on to other aspects of your playing, including chords, other relevant patterns, and of course literature.

We've developed a systematic drill that uses each of the FFcP patterns, starting on the lower two courses, for a thorough (but practical!) total of eight positions. There is a variety, but at the same time, an efficient order to the eight pages. When you unravel the logic for yourself, you'll be able to do the drill for the rest of your life from memory, and better, move it up the fretboard. For now, just getting it under the lower eight frets will give you maximum stretch benefit.

    Clues to the Pattern:
  • Alternates the FFcP base from G to D string.
  • Covers all four FFcP in as brief a time as possible
  • Moves the base position consecutively from 1st through 4th

Click link for 8-page PDF file: Super FFcP


Exercise intended for personal use only, all rights reserved. For permission to duplicate or distribute, please contact us.

  • Don't do this exercise until you are already comfortable with all four FFcP patterns. It will be too overwhelming until then; go back and review!
  • This isn't a speed drill. Aim for smooth, consistent finger pressure, connecting notes even when crossing strings.
  • Think "whole" section rather than units. Learning "sentences" rather than "words" by incorporating these patterns into your improvisation will allow your fingers to create music, in addition to your brain.
  • Today, start in on Ab. Tomorrow, move everything up a fret and start on A.
  • Make this brief, but DAILY... For the rest of your life

Review Introduction to FFcP

Read MandolinCafe article and exercise moving the FFcP up the fretboard:

Moving on Up

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