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Thread: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

  1. #1
    Registered User Strabo's Avatar
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    Default Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    I'm a mandolin player who is learning to play fiddle. I have heard and read many times that I will need weekly lessons and multiple years of practice before I can produce an acceptable noise. Of course I'm dealing with the twin challenges of intonation and bowing, both of which require discipline and practice. But my experience has been quite positive and fun. My progress is obvious, and sometimes I sound pretty good!

    It is often said that the only way that mando helps with learning fiddle is that mandolin players know where the notes are, by virtue of our logical fretboard. However, I have discovered another advantage of previous mandolin experience: We know where the double stops are. We are used to thinking in terms of more than one note at a time, and two- and three-note chords are normal fare. If we have been playing folkish music for very long we can routinely hit double stops, almost without thinking about it. After, all a double stop is just part of a chord (or chord pattern) that we already know.

    And playing double stops and against open drone strings is a simple way to sound like a better fiddle player than we really are. While double stops do not hide poor intonation, at least they provide some distraction and cover. When I try to play clean & classical, I sound like the hack that I am. But when I drop in the double stops and drones it almost sounds like I can really play!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    We just saw Ricky Skaggs a few weeks ago and he had Billy Contreras in there. That man plays with double stops like nobody I've heard. Find some youtubes and marvel at his prowess.
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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    I prefer double stops to chords and will sometimes play an entire tune with double stops. They are much more powerful than single notes and make a very full sound.
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    I’ve actually just begun learning, after ages, to play doublestops with tremolo in waltzes eg. | dududu d6 d6 |
    Last edited by Simon DS; Sep-29-2021 at 3:58pm.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    Quote Originally Posted by Strabo View Post
    and sometimes I sound pretty good!
    That is the part I was never able to accomplish.

    I always thought I should have learned violin first, because violin, IMO, is a much harder instrument to learn and to become decent on. Good on you for taking it up and really great that you are getting somewhere with it.

    One of the big disincentives for me was that by the time I thought I would try violin, I had been in the music for a while and knew what a fiddle sounded like. When I started mandolin many years earlier, I had no clue what the mandolin should be doing. I just liked learning it. It was years after I started playing that I knowingly heard any mandolin recording. So in ignorance I made my initial progress. When taking up the violin I had a constant reminder of what I was not sounding like, and it was always so disheartening.

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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    I don't use TONS of double stops in my fiddling, other than very occasional heavy 'Grassing, but when I first took up the mandolin after playing fiddle for 7 years, I found that I naturally took to liberal double stopping on the mando. For me, my foundation in the fiddle made the mandolin an easy step. A bunch of years of picking DADGAD guitar and bouzouki didn't hurt either!

  7. #7
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    Quote Originally Posted by Strabo View Post
    I'm a mandolin player who is learning to play fiddle. I have heard and read many times that I will need weekly lessons and multiple years of practice before I can produce an acceptable noise. Of course I'm dealing with the twin challenges of intonation and bowing, both of which require discipline and practice. But my experience has been quite positive and fun. My progress is obvious, and sometimes I sound pretty good!

    It is often said that the only way that mando helps with learning fiddle is that mandolin players know where the notes are, by virtue of our logical fretboard. However, I have discovered another advantage of previous mandolin experience: We know where the double stops are. We are used to thinking in terms of more than one note at a time, and two- and three-note chords are normal fare. If we have been playing folkish music for very long we can routinely hit double stops, almost without thinking about it. After, all a double stop is just part of a chord (or chord pattern) that we already know.

    And playing double stops and against open drone strings is a simple way to sound like a better fiddle player than we really are. While double stops do not hide poor intonation, at least they provide some distraction and cover. When I try to play clean & classical, I sound like the hack that I am. But when I drop in the double stops and drones it almost sounds like I can really play!
    It's been said that Charlie Daniels owed all his popularity to open strings and double stops.

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  8. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando & Fiddle: The value of double stops

    Double stops on fiddle especially with open drone strings are an excellent way to work on your intonation. Mandolin fingering will get you in the vicinity of the right notes of a double stop but on the fiddle you really need to train your ear to teach your finger muscles where the notes should be.
    Jim

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