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Thread: Picked up a fiddle recently..

  1. #26
    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Thanks to everyone for the good advice. I'll be signing on the dotted line with a teacher this afternoon. Looking forward to starting in January. Fortunately the only ones to hear my initial shrieks will be my very patient dogs.

    Joe Bartl

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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I also play both the challenge with the fiddle is your bow hand. If you take some time away your technique can go away pretty quick and you are back to sound like some stepped on a cat.
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  4. #28

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I picked up a fiddle too. A $20,000 fiddle. Took it out of its case, admired it, then gave it back to my daughter who plays it professionally.

    Not enough life left to start that journey, and lest you think I’m a wuss, I started mandolin at age 65.

    If I thought my hands could take it, I’d get me a doghouse bass though.
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  5. #29

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by twilson View Post
    I’ve been playing the fiddle about 40 years; the mandolin for about 45. My mandolin playing came along, but my fiddle playing.....I had about 6 months of classical violin lessons early on to try to avoid bad habits. Some of that training stuck with me. But mostly I am self taught. I’d ask fiddle players about bowing and tried to incorporate what they said. I’d put the durn thing down in disgust for a year at a time, but always came back. I played some fiddle in bands but knew I wasn’t a fiddle player. I’d play in front of a mirror to see if my right hand looked like a fiddle player’s. But over the last 5 years or so things started falling in place. Everything got better. So, out of all this here’s some meagre advice. I don’t try to play the fiddle like I do the mandolin. On the mandolin I tend to cram as many eighth notes in as possible. Take advantage of the fiddle’s sustain and give yourself a break on the bowing by taking out some of the notes you might play on mando. Knowing that I was never going to be a cracker-jack fiddler, I tried to concentrate on intonation, vibrato and bowing. If I couldn’t be a hot fiddler, maybe I could have good tone with well chosen notes. Similarly, if there was a vexing lick I couldn’t pull off, i’d turn to something I could play. I tried to stop beating my head against the wall trying to play something Kenny Baker did. I found I could come up with something perfectly fine, that I could play.

    Hope this helps.
    This is totally me. But I also find it hard to put every little eighth note in on the mandolin as well, and there are some maneuvers on the mandolin I just can't do. So I fake it. Just jiggle the pick and it sounds close enough to having put in all the eight notes, and find other ways around the tricky bits I just can't do. I don't find it easier to stick all the eighth notes in on the fiddle, mind you. I just have limitations. I make a simpler version of something if I can instead of trying to play the most complicated version. Better to play a tune with some lift and clarity than a muddled mess of mistakes.

  6. #30

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    My sister-in-law has a fiddle. Now that I can play a bit of mandolin, I'm excited to try it out. I'm sure I'll be terrible at it.

    I actually had a dream that I did try it. In the dream I picked up the fiddle, tried playing a tune, and the thing fell apart in my hands. The neck broke off, and the body broke into four pieces.

    What does it mean?
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  7. #31
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    ...
    Not enough life left to start that journey, and lest you think I’m a wuss, I started mandolin at age 65.

    If I thought my hands could take it, I’d get me a doghouse bass though.
    If I were even under 40, I'd definitely want to start learning to fiddle. At this point, it's too late. No one will want to hear a mediocre fiddle player who's 95 years old, which would be my age by the time I'd be willing to play in public.

    Br1ck: I started upright bass playing in my 60s because we needed one in my jam group. It's fun. I'm no whiz, but I can plunk out 1-5s all night long and seem to be appreciated. I sure can't do all those walks and solos that the real bass players do. Downside is that it's a pain to transport that bulky thing.
    Phil

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  8. #32

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    If I were even under 40, I'd definitely want to start learning to fiddle. At this point, it's too late. No one will want to hear a mediocre fiddle player who's 95 years old, which would be my age by the time I'd be willing to play in public.

    Br1ck: I started upright bass playing in my 60s because we needed one in my jam group. It's fun. I'm no whiz, but I can plunk out 1-5s all night long and seem to be appreciated. I sure can't do all those walks and solos that the real bass players do. Downside is that it's a pain to transport that bulky thing.
    I started three years ago, and well over the age of 40. I play as good, if not better than the folks that I have met at fiddle gatherings who have been playing several decades. So, it's not about age. It's about desire to be good at something, and working at it. It took me a while to get up the confidence to play in public, but I got there. I'd encourage anyone who wants to learn to play fiddle to go out and do it, but remember, it's not like picking up a guitar and learning to strum. It takes a bit of effort to learn how to control the bow (and not let it control you).
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  10. #33

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    If I were even under 40, I'd definitely want to start learning to fiddle. At this point, it's too late. No one will want to hear a mediocre fiddle player who's 95 years old, which would be my age by the time I'd be willing to play in public.

    Br1ck: I started upright bass playing in my 60s because we needed one in my jam group. It's fun. I'm no whiz, but I can plunk out 1-5s all night long and seem to be appreciated. I sure can't do all those walks and solos that the real bass players do. Downside is that it's a pain to transport that bulky thing.
    I'm impressed by the upright bass. Maybe you think it is easy, but everybody is pretty used to bad fiddling and have long ago learned how to not even hear it. If you were bad at the bass, playing the wrong chords or lacking rhythm, everybody will hear it and they will get angry. You were brave to give it a go and you must be good enough since people are happy to have you.

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