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  #1  
Old 11-21-2017, 09:18 AM
jdmulli jdmulli is offline
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Default Mando Milestone

August of this year I bought a mandolin. Well, actually I traded some pedals for one, but I digress.

Anyways, this is what I got:
http://www.gretschguitars.com/gear/b...color-sunburst

I've was working on chords and progressing quite rapidly until I hit the brick wall known as the "4 Finger Chop Chord". I've been playing guitar for nearly 15 years and I've never experienced anything as difficult and painful. My pinkie just would not make the necessary stretch. I decided that 4FCC should be a four letter word! I moved on to open position scales.

Two weeks ago, as I perused some online mandolin tutorials, I stumbled across a thread lamenting the dreaded 4FCC. One picker advised that they held the chord shape while they were watching TV to develop the muscle memory. I figured they must be a glutton for punishment, but I decided to give it a try.

It was painful, but not as bad because I was distracted by whatever movie I was watching. A funny thing happened. My fingers and wrist began to subconsciously shift into various angles and to employ different string contact points. I would hold the chord for a while and then practice something else, absentmindedly. Eventually, it didn't hurt that much.

I did this for a couple of nights. I sat down one evening after work, picked up my mandolin, and (after a bit of warmup) smoothly made the 4FCC.

There it is! My mandolin milestone!
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2017, 09:59 AM
Jim_G Jim_G is offline
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Congratulations! Took me a year, although I didn't put alot of effort into it for a while. And now that I have them both down (the equally dreaded D is just as tough), I rarely use them.
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:16 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Here's a tip. In most cases, you don't need to finger all 4 notes in the chord to get the "chop" effect. Notes on the high E can often be dropped without a problem, just chop the 3 lower strings. You can actually get a decent chop sound on just the two lower strings. Continue to practice the full 4 finger chord but let it be a brick wall.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:59 PM
cu4life7 cu4life7 is offline
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I gave up on it for a while, finally got it, and then broke my pinkie metacarpal and had to literally start all over and relearn it. But, good advice sticking with it and simply working to the muscle memory and stretch. Proper form for the left hand helps greatly.
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Old 12-31-2017, 04:54 PM
varmonter varmonter is offline
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just like guitar it's all about muscle memory
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Old 01-01-2018, 07:10 PM
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815C 815C is offline
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I've been playing mandolin for around 40 years, but don't recall coming across an "4FCC" chord. What exactly is that chord?

** EDIT **

Doh! 4FCC = 4 finger chop chord. OK, yes - I play those. My advise is to lay your fingers GENTLY on the strings with your hand, wrist, and arm TOTALLY RELAXED. Try moving the universal joint of your wrist, fingers, hand, elbow, and shoulder while your fingers lay GENTLY on the strings (not pressing down at all) until you find the position which allows you to fret the chord as naturally as possible. Also while doing this, try moving the position of your mandolin neck (e.g. try pointing a bit up towards the ceiling) to find the optimal position of both the MANDOLIN and your ARM/HANDS/FINGERS.

Last edited by 815C; 01-01-2018 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 01-01-2018, 07:13 PM
HHP HHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 815C View Post
I've been playing mandolin for around 40 years, but don't recall coming across an "4FCC" chord. What exactly is that chord?
I'm betting on "4 finger chop chord"
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:13 AM
smokinop smokinop is offline
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Here's a link to a podcast by Bradley Laird that's geared toward bluegrass. I enjoy all of his podcast but this one really speaks to the OP success at the chop chord and how small little steps can continue the journey of being a better player. Hope you enjoy.

http://www.bradleylaird.com/podcast/...how-notes.html
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:09 PM
varmonter varmonter is offline
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although the 4fcc is a bar to reach it is certainly not
a necessity. like any chord it is all about muscle
memory. but a g chop can be done with the
thumb on the g string second fret. chops are
so muted and A is part of a g scale.
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:01 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Those chop chords are to mandolin what the F chord is to guitar. Yep, they’re both painful at first, but they have to be conquered so that further progress can be made.


whm
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:17 PM
HHP HHP is offline
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Worth mentioning that there is a wealth of mandolin music that does not use chop chords.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:49 PM
Owen David Owen David is offline
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Must say I love the mandolin sound...it has had a great place in popular music on tracks like Maggie May and I have heard some 18th century classical stuff that sound so vibrant. I need to do some research to understand what the discussion here relates to! But the instrument itself is fantastic and I think has been underused in relation to the acoustic guitar...it's a kind of stringed piccolo in relation to the standard guitar range I feel.
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:47 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
Worth mentioning that there is a wealth of mandolin music that does not use chop chords.
That's true. I should have written that the chop chord has to be mastered if you're going to play bluegrass music or bluegrass-inspired music, which is what most mandolinists in the US end up playing, almost by default, it seems.


whm
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:57 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen David View Post
Must say I love the mandolin sound...it has had a great place in popular music on tracks like Maggie May and I have heard some 18th century classical stuff that sound so vibrant. I need to do some research to understand what the discussion here relates to! But the instrument itself is fantastic and I think has been underused in relation to the acoustic guitar...it's a kind of stringed piccolo in relation to the standard guitar range I feel.
The North American perspective on mandolin is hugely influenced by the musical legacy of Bill Monroe, who invented bluegrass music as we know it by melding elements of old time country music, Appalachian folk music and blues, and perfecting a turbo-drive combination of those elements that has come to be called bluegrass. The name of that musical style derived from his band's name: Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys, sometimes billed as Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys.

This isn't to say that some similar type of music wouldn't have come together without his influence, but he was a mandolin player, and his style and even his choice of instrument model (the Gibson F-5) have dominated mandolin playing in the US ever since.



Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass boys

While I strayed away from bluegrass orthodoxy in my own mandolin playing many years ago now, it still had a profound impact on me musically, especially when I first started playing mandolin. So for a lot of us, Bill Monroe's influence is pretty inescapable.


whm
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:22 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 815C View Post
I've been playing mandolin for around 40 years, but don't recall coming across an "4FCC" chord. What exactly is that chord?

** EDIT **

Doh! 4FCC = 4 finger chop chord. OK, yes - I play those. My advise is to lay your fingers GENTLY on the strings with your hand, wrist, and arm TOTALLY RELAXED. Try moving the universal joint of your wrist, fingers, hand, elbow, and shoulder while your fingers lay GENTLY on the strings (not pressing down at all) until you find the position which allows you to fret the chord as naturally as possible. Also while doing this, try moving the position of your mandolin neck (e.g. try pointing a bit up towards the ceiling) to find the optimal position of both the MANDOLIN and your ARM/HANDS/FINGERS.
Thanks for explaing tat , I've played mando on and off for yours but never heard of a 4FCC before!

OK, here's the thing. Like on 12 strings - the full chord is rarely necessary if playing percussively (i.e. .... the chop)

Frinstance - the G chord from E string to G string the full chord will be G,B, octave g, and D on 7th fret on "bass" G string. That is a loooong stretch and I've never been able to do it,

BUT (revelation time )

A partial G (power chord if you like) can be either the G on the D strings and the B on the G string or

A partial chord - as the original by play the G,B,oct G as original and either play the G string open , or better use pinky to damp the lot making you chop chord even more staccato.

Remember, it is courses not strings so a two note chord is still effectively four notes.

hope that helps,

One other thought - I used to play a four string chord as G,B,G,B Huhuh!
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