Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

  1. #1

    Default best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    hello everyone, I hope all are safe.
    I started playing last year and learned to play some basic tunes. this march I started with FFcP and ingrained the initial 4 positions on my left hands. I have benifitted from the free material and baught the book in april.

    Since then I have been learning a few new tunes, but mostly working on exercises in the GIJM book. currently I am learning the dominant 7th arpeggios. I am giving more and more time to arpeggios as I feel they are helping in subconscious playing where I do not know how, but my random noodling is more musical/harmonious.. also the author calls for making these pathways ingrained and that takes time, which I am giving them.

    anyways, playing arpeggios gets boring and I wanted to keep my playing fun. I took advantage of the 30% off on mel bay and recently baught complete works of jethro burns. Started the book and learned to play the first tune - "old joe clark" which I am able to play with decent speed with accurate note playing..

    currently I am confused wrt how to approach my practise. My goal is to learn music and be able to play tunes that I like melodiously. they can be classical, bluegrass, jazz or something that i hear in my mind. and I want to do that on the mandolin. hence I chose to invest in mandolin focussed and jazz focussed books where music theory and mandolin specific practise are married organically.

    given that is the case, and that the jethro books are actually 3 books combined into 1. I would like any insights in planning my practise using the jethro book and GIJM book.

    I enjoy my playing but in the last couple of weeks I am feeling that there is lack of direction in my practise which I want work on.

    any help is appreciated,
    thanks in advance!

  2. The following members say thank you to Bhiyao for this post:


  3. #2
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lower alabama
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Sounds to me like you already have a good plan. I guess, use the JB books to learn tunes. Devote a portion of your practice to learning and memorizing new tunes, and another portion to honing them to performance level. I think. Maybe.

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to lowtone2 For This Useful Post:


  5. #3

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    My online instructor had this recent advice to me that has been helpful. I break my practices into basically three parts. First part is technical practice (e.g., metronome exercises, scales, etc.) Second part is learning new repertoire. Third part is playing through repertoire I already know, improvising with backing tracks, etc.

  6. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Adam Wagschal For This Useful Post:


  7. #4
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,317

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Remember any system is one of several you can use. FFCP is one of the very best but like all of them itís a means to an end not an end.

    Try finding links between jethro work and Tedís work. Also see whatís different. Then see if you can integrate the differences. Hal Leonardís ro road maps is good too.

    The trick is to keep learning.

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to David Lewis For This Useful Post:


  9. #5

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Wagschal View Post
    My online instructor had this recent advice to me that has been helpful. I break my practices into basically three parts. First part is technical practice (e.g., metronome exercises, scales, etc.) Second part is learning new repertoire. Third part is playing through repertoire I already know, improvising with backing tracks, etc.
    Ok this is good advice and in parts what I have been doing so far. but here are some observations regarding that.
    Part 3 is the easiest and the most fun - we are playing and integrating tunes that we have already learned. sounds good. and little use of focussed attention. rather happens mostly subconsciously after playing a tune many times.

    Part 2 is fun as we are learning tunes bar by bar or passage by passage, but requires focused mental attention in the learning process. some phrases are difficult and take time, but overall fun process. the good part is we know exactly what we are doing - learning a tune.

    Part 1 is where things get tricky. you are not only applying focussed attention to improving technique, it often so happens that I get lost in practise without understanding why I am doing it. for example, I am grinding through dominant 7 arpeggios in GIJM and they are moderately challenging to play for me right now. I am learning them bar by bar as independent exercises as suggested by the author, but do not have any intellectual understanding of what a dominant 7 chord is and how it is going to help me..I googled and got some explainations regarding it resolving more strongly to I and I understanding that...but overall, technique and theory exercises are something that give me a feeling of being lost/ not feeling excited about playing etc. while those are the building blocks that ultimately help in overall improvement also...
    anyways, playing arpeggios and exercises of GIJM has opened the fretboard for me no doubt. my pinky is stronger and the subconscious noodling is more harmonic.
    tunes have introduced me to different types of music and randomly introduced double stops so that is cool..

    overall I would just prefer a beter intellectual understanding of why I am doing what I am doing rather than slaving through exercises. for the time being I have faith in the two books I have, specially GIJM and will try to remain a loyal student to the exercises provided.


    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    Remember any system is one of several you can use. FFCP is one of the very best but like all of them itís a means to an end not an end.

    Try finding links between jethro work and Tedís work. Also see whatís different. Then see if you can integrate the differences. Hal Leonardís ro road maps is good too.

    The trick is to keep learning.
    Currently I am at a point where learning tunes from jethro's books or exercises from GIJM is just imitation for me. I just work on technique to be able to play what is tabulated in the books. I would like to get to the point where I can improvise. make the tune my own. I have seen some videos online which talk about what notes sound good with what chords as the basic route to improvisation. I have not been able to get that into practise so far. it is intimidating. at times the chord changed I wind online are too fast.. I do not feel I understand music enough to be able to imrovise and express myself on the instrument. currently I am a humble imitator of sheet music. learning to play the mandolin with grace as I practise exercises..

    I am yet to see a clear path to understanding music enough to be able to consciously/subbconsciously do something of my own over a basic chord structure of songs..
    I struggle to imitate difficult pieces and my chord work is very primitive, mostly focussing on solotunes and exercises...

    looking at the index of the two books, I guess if i keep grinding my way with exercises and learning tunes to keep it all fun, I will progress to better theoretical understanding and to a point of improvisations... currently perhaps I am wanting too much too soon and getting overwhelmed...but who doesn't want to play like all the cool gals and boys we listen online.. putting in the work is a grind at times..

    I am putting my faith in you ted eschliman. those arpeggios get boring!!!

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bhiyao For This Useful Post:


  11. #6
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,317

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Keep doing those exercises but now itís time to train your ear. Sing a melody to those tunes youíre learning. Try and play it. Youíll find that some of those patterns will work. Some may need adjusting. And youíll be doing your own stuff.

    Weíre not heart surgeons. Mistakes mean nothing. And may improve things. As Ted himself said jazz is the tension between intent snd mistake.
    Last edited by David Lewis; Jul-03-2021 at 6:17am. Reason: Typo

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to David Lewis For This Useful Post:


  13. #7

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    Keep doing those exercises but now it’s time to train your ear. Sing a melody to those tunes you’re learning. Try and play it. You’ll find that some of those patterns will work. Some may need adjusting. And you’ll be doing your own stuff.

    We’re not heart surgeons. Mistakes mean nothing. And may improve things. As Ted himself said jazz is the tension between intent snd mistake.
    sounds really cool way to practise! just to confirm that I got it right - I should try to sing to the tunes I am playing...lyrics can be my own..but matching the tune..and as I sing, I might wander off or find some parts of what I am singing is melodious but not matching to the tune...then I should try to play what I am singing and that would be something that is my own built out of the tune ?
    If this is the case, it opens up a nice portal into creative writing on a given tune!

  14. The following members say thank you to Bhiyao for this post:


  15. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chicago, IL,USA
    Posts
    586

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    general tips that might move things along:

    No matter what you're working on(scales/arppegios, melodies, transcriptions, chords, chord-melodies) try to keep track of how it sounds, how it feels, and how it looks on the fretboard. We are loading data into our system, and all of those things are involved--sound, touch, graphic representation or visualization. Oh and adding verbal descriptions and or singing what you're playing helps a great deal also, for instance calling out the note names in a scale or mode, calling out tonalities while playing cadences or chord-changing exercises. Whatever it is, listen for how it sounds, remember how it feels, see in your mind's eye how it looks or might be diagrammed...

    You are exactly right to activate faith and trust: the data you are loading in will come out in your playing, but most likely when you least expect it, or on it's own timetable. Another way to put that: as we practice we sometimes think that at the end of a practice session we should be able to put the practiced materials to use immediately. In actuality we have to be good to ourselves and understand that ideas are getting in there and in due time they will come back out and/or be readily accessible for repeated usage. I have a story about that that I'll put farther down, first a couple more ideas:

    Keep it fun. Avoid programming frustration, as in "now I'm going to practice those damn scales for 5 hours" or "I should know this already" or "this is intimidating" etc. I can assure you that the people who write the books have aspired to present clear and even easy routes to concepts and sounds. Keep it fun. In the grunt work phase(repetitive exercises, mando-calisthenics, memorizations, etc.) it's ok to have another focus, especially when the emphasis is on the physical part of playing. Have another focus? I like to watch the Cubs game, for instance, while running 4-note arppegios (arpeggia?), harmonized scales, improvise sounds over a m7b5 chord, etc. Keep it fun.

    One teacher I had told me of studies of learning that indicated after a half hour or 45 minutes of focused practice, we don't really process the incoming information all that well. In other words 3 hours of practice may actually be a half hour of practice and 2 1/2 hours of something else. At the very least you want to build in a break or change of focus now and then..."ooops that's 45 minutes, I'll get a glass of water and come back for the next 45" or " I'll be darned, that was a fast half hour, I'll skip ahead a page and look at something else". Did I mention we want to keep it fun?

    OK the story behind a lot of this:
    My first lesson from Jethro was Old Joe Clark from the book. As a young person motivated and inspired I practiced voraciously--come home from high school, pick up the mandolin and often play it until falling asleep with it in my hands. At the second lesson Jethro says "Donnie how ya doin' on Old Joe Clark buddy?" I fumbled through pieces of it, a partial version. This process went on for weeks. I could not seem to get a hold of Old Joe Clark in spite of incessant practice. Plus Jethro was giving me new things to put on the stack each week. Some those I got, but there was a perceived block against Old Joe Clark. Finally 6 or 8 weeks in I set it aside, assumed I'd never to be able to play it. Some time goes by, a fair amount. I come home from school, pick up the mandolin, and without thinking play Old Joe Clark top to bottom! It was in there after all, I had loaded it in, not realizing it was going to come out as music on it's own timetable. Years later I came to believe that's how we learn...

  16. The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to Don Stiernberg For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked


  17. #9

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    thanks for your reply don! first of all I feel a little overwhelmed getting advice from you, as I was just watching a youtube video of you playing while you were probably replying to this thread.

    noticing how everything sounds and feel...registering what I play deeply is something I will try to be more conscious of from now on.

    having an alternate focus is something that do from time to time while playing tunes I know, but it is liberating to know that I can do the grunt work like this. have fun, as you say! keeping practice durations short is 1 problem that I do have right now as I keep the mandolin on my desk at home and bang out 10-15 minutes anytime I do not feel like studying, or just bored of the world wide web...! the consecrated practice that I do is daily half an hour of exercise from GIJM book by ted.

    and yes, this is a lifelong journey and I intent to keep faith in the material which has already helped me some.

    Finally, great story. I am sure you had fun times with jethro. I saw a video yesterday where you accompanied him on the guitar.
    Support from people we look up to, like this, feeds our systems about what kind of a person to become. thanks a ton again!

  18. #10

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    Sounds to me like you already have a good plan. I guess, use the JB books to learn tunes. Devote a portion of your practice to learning and memorizing new tunes, and another portion to honing them to performance level. I think. Maybe.
    thanks for the reply lowtone. a lot of your threads and replies on the forum have helped me over time . honing memorized tunes to performance level is something I am working on, and with ted's advice I aim to evolve that part of my playing time into recording the sounds, shapes, feel etc of the music into my mind more consciously. feeding the data more consciously as ted says, is helpful in the long run and also will help make the memorized tune sound better, iron out all the errors that go unnoticed when playing in automatic mode..

  19. #11
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,317

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhiyao View Post
    sounds really cool way to practise! just to confirm that I got it right - I should try to sing to the tunes I am playing...lyrics can be my own..but matching the tune..and as I sing, I might wander off or find some parts of what I am singing is melodious but not matching to the tune...then I should try to play what I am singing and that would be something that is my own built out of the tune ?
    If this is the case, it opens up a nice portal into creative writing on a given tune!
    You don’t even need lyrics, la la, dah de dum will do, but yes.
    JBovier ELS; Epiphone MM-50 VN; Epiphone MM-40L; Gretsch New Yorker G9310; Washburn M1SDLB;

    Fender Nashville Deluxe Telecaster; Squier Modified Vintage Cabronita Telecaster; Gretsch 5420T; Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat: Washburn Banjo B9; Ibanez RB 5string; Ibanez RB 4 string bass

    Pedalboard for ELS: Morley Cry baby Miniwah - Tuner - EHX Soul Food Overdrive - EHX Memory Toy analog Delay
    Fender Blues Jr Tweed; Fender Greta;

  20. The following members say thank you to David Lewis for this post:

    Bhiyao 

  21. #12

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    continuing to report some of my progress on this thread and 3 questions that have come:
    1. how fast should I be able to play a tune before I can shift to another from jethro's book ?

    the speed at which jethro plays is too advanced for me, but after practise I can play at a pace where the music sounds good coming out of my mandolin. I am a left handed person who started learning right handed in school (they only had right handed instruments) and resumed playing last year during the pandemic. So my right hand is on the less developed side of the two..I can reach 75 bpms to 85 bms on the first 4 tunes of the book at present..

    2. Should I (and if yes how) learn the chords to the jethro tunes that are provided ?

    I have read on a thread on this forum that learning chord structure of a song is essential part of actually knowing the song. while I am able to play the tunes after some practice, chords rarely sound good and my chord work is primitive at best. also it is easier to listen to the recorded tunes and emulate the melody but chords I don't really know if I am playing right.. or what is the right sound.. how to approach learning chords of a tune from jethro's book does the melody play in my head ?..

    3. I am thinking of buying this e-book to do some right hand work as it was somewhere recommended on this forum and the e book is affordable..is it a good idea at this point? is there some better book ? can I get any discount being a student living with my parents (shamelessly asking for all kind of help here, hope someday I can give back but it is what it is rn.)?

    I have had exams coming and so work on GIJM has not made much progress but I play closed positioned to keep my fingers ready.. mostly been playing the tunes I have learned so far across the internet and jethro book between study sessions to relax and think..

    having the instrument right on the desk is how I am able to keep playing everyday..it is a long term project

  22. The following members say thank you to Bhiyao for this post:


  23. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chicago, IL,USA
    Posts
    586

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    hello again Bhiyao,
    Yes go for the chords. Here's a couple tips that may help:
    The challenge in chordal rhythmic accompaniment is not the formation of a new chord--we look at a chord diagram, place our fingers, and off we go..(Jethro recommended arpeggiating any new chord to make sure all the notes are clear sounding)..anyway the challenge is CHANGING the chords, especially in time,at tempo as it were. My recommendation here is to take smaller pieces-rather than try to slog through an entire song's chord progression, just take one change and run it repetitively until it is comfortable. So say your song has D, G, and A7, just run D-A7 back and forth until it feels dialed in, then similarly treat the D to G change, and so on. Another thing that helps here is have the goal of landing all of your fingers simultaneously on each chord. Most of us, no, all of us, lose time and accuracy by dropping down a finger at a time. Let's say A7...rather than look and think let's see, it has C# on the 6th fret, then oh yeah G is on the 5th fret of the D string etc., have a vision of the chord diagram in your mind's eye, then go for placing all the fingers at once.
    In the pick hand, for playing swing rhythm we have two basic strokes. First is just quarter notes. Use down strokes wherein you strike the group of strings as if it were one big string. When the pick passes the last string you want to sound, release the pressure from your left hand and sort of catch the strings there so as to stop the vibrations, thus making a staccato sound..chunk, chunk, chunk chunk as it were. the other common stroke I call Morse Code rhythm as it makes a Da-Dit Da-Dit sound, or Long-Short Long-Short. If I were to attempt a musical description I suppose it would be quarter note on 1, eighth note on 2 quarter on 3, eighth on 4. What you're going for is an emulation of the pattern a swing drummer plays on the hi-hat cymbals.
    Jethro said "wanna play fast? practice slow!" His point I think was that clarity and cleanliness of notes has to be established first, and that in single note playing clean notes at a slightly slower tempo sound "faster" than rough sounding notes at the higher tempo. Always go for tone and clean articulation, the tempo you want will come in due time.
    You may want to experiment with recording the melodies you've got at your tempo, then practice the chords along with that. When making the changes gets comfy go back to the Jethro recording and tempo and try that you may be pleasantly surprised and find everything is right there.
    As always keep it fun. I can assure you Jethro himself would have it no other way.

  24. The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to Don Stiernberg For This Useful Post:


  25. #14

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Thanks for the reply Don
    I am trying to keep it fun. every once in a while I get excited about a tune I hear somewhere and then learn and play it to my hearts satisfaction!
    changing chords is something I have not payed much attention to and it shows in my chord work. I will keep the pointers you mentioned in mind.
    and recording melodies to play along at my pace is a great idea. will do that with the ones I know, once my chord changes are a little respectable in my mind.
    The pick hand tires faster and often struggles with triplets etc when otherwise playing a tune on comfortable tempo, but i guess playing it slow and clear is the best way to go as you you write (and jethro recommended!)

    more than anything I want to let you know how much i appreciate your replies. it makes me feel privileged and motivated to keep working on..! thanks for this

  26. #15
    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Adamstown, MD
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: best use of GIJM and Jethro books

    Bhiyao, playing like Jethro or Don is so far outside reality for me that I can't even call it a pipe dream, but I want to say that I appreciate your well defined questions (been there, done th ... um, still there) and am grateful that the likes of Mr. Stiernberg is willing to share instead of shrug. Thanks to both of you!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •