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Thread: Picked up a fiddle recently..

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    Default Picked up a fiddle recently..

    One great thing about the fiddle, it sure is making me play my mandolin more!
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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I should tell you about my foray into the fiddle, but my ego was so damaged, I abandoned it only about 2 months in! I may pick it up again some day, but, to paraphrase Aragorn, "not this day."
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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Gary, not you too!

    I was briefly infected with a desire to fiddle, it lasted 3 days then sat in the case for a year until I traded it on a mando.

    Thankfully it was completely over-run by the terminal case of MAS I seem to have picked up at some cafe somewhere...

    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  6. #4

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I did about 3 months... I think it was mainly posture problems that put an end to it.

  7. #5

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Three years in, still going. Find a good teacher. Buy a good bow, and have your fiddle set up by a professional.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Agreed Mandobar …. a good bow and setup make a world of difference in playability..... I started sawing on the strings when my youngest went off to college in 01'. I can actually play one these days. Glad I stuck with it. Mandolin is still a joy but playing a fiddle is something I can move over to when there are enough mandolins at a gathering. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I’ve got about twenty years on the mandolin, ten years on the fiddle. I love them both. I play mandolin, and practice fiddle.
    I used to learn the tune on the mandolin first, and then go to the fiddle, but I go the other way around now.
    Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
    When time is broke and no proportion kept!
    --William Shakespeare

  10. #8

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I started out on fiddle and gave up for several years. Then I went back to it. I found that I had actually improved a little bit as far as being able to play in tune. I decided to cheat and bought one of those stick on fiddle fret boards. I played like that for a year and that helped me be more consistently in tune. Then I removed it and put on tape like little kids only instead of different colors I cut strips of black chalkboard tape, whatever the heck chalkboard tape is. It was my little secret because nobody else could see. That helped even more than the fretboard thing. Eventually I was able to go without the tape and I had a lot more confidence. The bowing has been difficult but I work on it. I try to do different things to see if I can make a new sound I like better. I decided to just embrace not being all that terribly good but I'm no longer so awful that I can't play with others. Little-by-little I improve. Meanwhile, I still play my mandolin. I can play either. It's good for mental dexterity and some tunes are just more fun on fiddle while others are more fun on mandolin.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I took up fiddle and mandolin at exaxtly the same time. Been playing both for over 45 years. Both are fun but I can get around better in more genres on the mandolin. However, I play fiddle more often in groups, especially for old time music.

    I agree with Mandobar: get a good teacher and some folks to play with. Also get a large barrel of patience for yourself.
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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    I should tell you about my foray into the fiddle, but my ego was so damaged, I abandoned it only about 2 months in!
    I can completely identify with my fellow citizen of Connecticut. About 15 years ago I bought an inexpensive violin and thought to myself; 'How hard can this be, the fingering is exactly the same as a mandolin.' Wat a fool I was! To say the least, I became the instant poster child for 'torturing a cat' or 'fingernails on a chalkboard'.

    Kudos to all of you who can play a fiddle or a violin - I tip my hat to you!

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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I got here the other way. I started violin at age ten, and didn't know what a mandolin was until I was in my mid twenties. I remember being scolded by my instructor for holding my violin like a "ukulele ", and that was a terrible thing to do. I would do that while plucking through tough sections of music I was learning. I was an upper level player through school and got a partial scholarship to got to Montana State studying classical performance. I burnt out by age 21. Put my violin under the bed and took a break. I then discovered folk/Americana then Bluegrass. Then discovered the mandolin....I was angry that I'd never noticed it before and it seemed as though it had been intentionally kept from me by classical music snobs! About 20 years ago I bought my first mandolin, a gold tone...soon after starting fiddling in a beginning band with a buddy (The Dave n Matthew's Band), and I'd played about 10% mandolin. That band ended in 2004. I then started a new band, that had a great mandolin player for the first 4 yrs, so I only fiddled for 400 gigs or so. Then he moved away.
    Ya da ya da , now I mainly play mando in my band now and seldom fiddle, primarily due to comfort in my neck and shoulder. My band is at the 15.5 yr mark and +1600 gigs.
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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I recently had my grandpa's fiddle, unplayed for decades, refurbished so I could play with it ... and bought a carbon fiber bow for this purpose. I can't really afford lessons ... at least not long term. Should I put out the money for, say, a month of lessons to get me started? Or should I look for Youtube videos? Or should I look for lessons online? Is there a site for fiddles/violins similar to Mandolin Cafe?

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Joe Bartl

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    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    I recently had my grandpa's fiddle, unplayed for decades, refurbished so I could play with it ... and bought a carbon fiber bow for this purpose. I can't really afford lessons ... at least not long term. Should I put out the money for, say, a month of lessons to get me started? Or should I look for Youtube videos? Or should I look for lessons online? Is there a site for fiddles/violins similar to Mandolin Cafe?

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Joe Bartl
    I recommend bluegrassdaddy.com, it's a great educational site and quite reasonably priced.

    I originally wanted to learn fiddle, but thought it would be too hard, so I wanted to learn mandolin first, but I couldn't find a mando, so I got a fiddle and learned to play it. But I still wanted a mandolin, cuz it's so much fun, so I saved up and got one, and I'm glad I did. I play at about equal levels on both
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  19. #14

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    I recently had my grandpa's fiddle, unplayed for decades, refurbished so I could play with it ... and bought a carbon fiber bow for this purpose. I can't really afford lessons ... at least not long term. Should I put out the money for, say, a month of lessons to get me started? Or should I look for Youtube videos? Or should I look for lessons online? Is there a site for fiddles/violins similar to Mandolin Cafe?

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Joe Bartl
    That's what a friend of mine did. He took 6 months or so of lessons. He came from Irish flute, guitar and mandolin experience. I thought he did the right thing because he could play up to speed and well whereas for me, with never having had any lessons, I struggle to fix things I do wrong.

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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    One great thing about the fiddle, it sure is making me play my mandolin more!
    Imagine how much more you would play your mandolin if you had picked up a banjo!

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Bartl View Post
    I recently had my grandpa's fiddle, unplayed for decades, refurbished so I could play with it ... and bought a carbon fiber bow for this purpose. I can't really afford lessons ... at least not long term. Should I put out the money for, say, a month of lessons to get me started? Or should I look for Youtube videos? Or should I look for lessons online? Is there a site for fiddles/violins similar to Mandolin Cafe?
    I'd recommend finding a teacher instead of online info. There is a ton of useful info on violin/fiddle technique online, some of it aimed at absolute beginners. But when getting started, you really need direct feedback from a teacher who can look at how you're holding and moving the bow. It's easy to develop bad habits when you're not getting any direct feedback on what you're doing.

    If money for lessons is tight, try working out an arrangement with a local teacher where the lessons are infrequent but on a continuing basis. One or two lessons a month spread out over several months is better than cramming everything into just one month.

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  23. #17

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    My teacher is a touring musician, so lessons are spotty, but I learn more in ten minutes from her than I could learn online or on my own. She is classically trained but toured as a founding member of Solas for more than 20 years. However, we are working through classical studies, including Wolfhart and Sevcik (bow studies). Tedious but necessary to learn bow control, developing an ear, and tone.

    Find a good teacher. Work on your bowing, pay attention to your intonation, and it will come together.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Few worse violin teachers exist than the untrained self-teacher. It is a very non-intuitive machine.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I wish I had some classical training when I was a kid. I picked up fiddle took a few group lessons and some individual ones. Now I probably have to unlearn some of my bad habits. I can play relatively competently but could always improve. I still love the instrument as well as the mandolin. They are different but complementary.

    I agree wholeheartedly with those above who say get a good teacher. And I will add (once again) be patient. Also, find a few folks who are equally patient to play with you. I have a couple of friends who get together regularly and play slowly the tunes they are learning, one on fiddle and one on guitar. That helps a lot too.
    Jim

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    I'm a fiddler, and, like others above, I'd recommend that you take a few lessons with an instructor present, just to get a sense of how to hold the fiddle and how to bow. I wouldn't worry to much about bad habits. After all, you're aiming to be a fiddler, not a classical violinist (many so-called fiddlers sound more like classical musicians playing fiddle tunes). Check out Rufus Guinchard below -- a violin teacher would scream. I realize that money is an object. How many lessons you need will depend on your abilities. All the best with fiddling. (For some reason, the video isn't loading.)

    https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2657076369

    https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2657076369

    If links don't work, search YouTube for "#ThrowbackThursday: Pitching tourism in 1988".
    Last edited by Ranald; Dec-01-2019 at 7:33pm. Reason: video wasn't displayed
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  29. #21

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Most teachers do internet lessons. One person I’d love to take a few lessons from is Donna Turk. She lives in western Canada I believe, but she has the smoothest bow arm I have ever seen. She plays a great variety of styles as you can see
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Donna Turk is one sweet player and she is pals with Patty Kosturok who is another excellent fiddler from the Canadian midwest.
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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Ive thought of picking up fiddle to make my mandolin playing seem like it doesnt stink as bad.

    I figured a few shreaks on the bow of a fiddle and my wife might tell me she wouldnt mind hearing some mandolin tonight.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    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.

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  35. #25

    Default Re: Picked up a fiddle recently..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Donna Turk is one sweet player and she is pals with Patty Kosturok who is another excellent fiddler from the Canadian midwest.
    They are great friends. Patty is a great Metis fiddler. Canada is home to some great fiddle players, great camps, etc. The government actually sponsors programs. In fact Patty flies out to a group of small towns for a few days at a time to teach. Donna is also very involved in First Nation events. I wish they both came down into the States more often, but I think they have quite a lot already going on.
    Last edited by Mandobar; Dec-04-2019 at 10:11am.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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