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Thread: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

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    Registered User Jeff Budz's Avatar
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    Default Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Does anyone double on Mandolin and Fiddle in a bluegrass band? Does anyone do it on the same song? I'm kind of envisioning playing backup and a break on the mandolin, then slinging it behind my back and doing a fiddle break. I guess the most important thing to figure out would be a really good straplock system for the mandolin.

    I'm not sure if this will work logistically, or if I should just stick to one instrument per song.

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    Groucho Marxist Geordie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Hey, if you can figure it out then go for it! Audiences love that kind of stuff!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I think the novelty of doing it might be impressive on a song, maybe 2, throughout a night - and the listeners would be forgiving and less critical. But any more than that and I expect the novelty would loose its "magic" and the eye and ear of judgement from the listeners would kick in. There will always be the tendency to judge how well you play one against the other by the folks listening. And once you have lost the magic - the damage that is done by a poor performance on one is going to drag down any good impression that might have been made playing on the other. So, if you don't sparkle and shine on both... they will remember.

    My opinion.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    What i did for awhile was a fiddle break, verse, then a mandolin break, then a verse. Gave me time to switch. Eventually i thought it was too hot-doggy. Better me to think it before somebody else. Now, i've got some mandolin break tunes, but i mostly fiddle break/backup. Quite simply, easier for me to get over my head with a mandolin in my hands. Ricky, Rhonda, Stew Duncan, Red Knuckles, and a few others can play either or both, rediculously well. It can be done.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    double post, how did that happen
    Last edited by JeffD; Jan-10-2012 at 12:18pm.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Tell you the truth its not my cup of tea.

    Turns a concert from a musical performance into an awesome show of manual dexterity. Like juggling - you go OMG oh wow. Its fun to watch.

    I am in it for the music.

    But music is entertainment. A venue owner friend of mine said something (to get my goat) like this: A slow mournful emotionally rich fiddle tune is music. Have him do that on a unicycle - now that's entertainment.

    Just my opinion.
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Logistically, instead of a stand for a mandolin & one for a fiddle, i have a 5 gallon chore pale with a towel as a liner, held in place by a bungee. The goofier the label the better. My current bucket had cherry pie filling in it. Can you imagine 5 gallons of cherry pie filling?

    Just remember not to kick the bucket.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjones View Post
    Logistically, instead of a stand for a mandolin & one for a fiddle, i have a 5 gallon chore pale with a towel as a liner, held in place by a bungee. The goofier the label the better. My current bucket had cherry pie filling in it. Can you imagine 5 gallons of cherry pie filling?
    love it
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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I wish I could play fiddle. To me it's the ultimate stringed instrument and always commands my respect. As others have pointed out, it would be interesting to see the switch for a song, maybe two; but after that it might seem like more of a trick.

    Reminds me of a hair-metal band I saw back in the 80's. I think I was fourteen at the time. The singer would play a blazing guitar solo right handed; then he'd play the next song with a blazing solo left handed. Just seemed like showing off after a while. In hindsight it makes the entire show and image presented even sillier.
    ...

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    Registered User Jeff Budz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I agree, not something to do on every song, maybe once or twice. I'll probably just stick to fiddle for a whole song cause yeah, it is kinda metal to sling the mandolin behind the back. Like when Slash slings the Les Paul behind the back and walks up to an acoustic on a floor stand.

    Hey, where can I find a floor stand that can hold the fiddle in playing position?

  12. #11

    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Budz View Post
    Does anyone double on Mandolin and Fiddle in a bluegrass band? Does anyone do it on the same song? I'm kind of envisioning playing backup and a break on the mandolin, then slinging it behind my back and doing a fiddle break.
    You had me up to the slinging it behind my back part. I play both and have played the same song on both. But in different performances.

  13. #12
    Registered User OlderThanWillie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Both Matt Thompson & Lisa Fugle in the band Monroe Crossing double on fiddle & mandolin in their live performances.

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    Studies dead guys. Mandoviol's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I play both, but I usually don't play them during the same number. Too much going on! But it's nice to have the variety going on.
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    Groucho Marxist Geordie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Budz View Post
    ...yeah, it is kinda metal to sling the mandolin behind the back.
    Now hold on... What's wrong with being kinda metal?!?

  16. #15

    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I play both, but I like the idea of two players who both double better. It's nice to have BOTH instruments together, and both players can get to do something different. Switching mid-number also sounds less appealing to me. Especially since one of the wonderful things about the fiddle is the character of harmony backing it can provide.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I am no super player but I play both , in a duo, not much bluegrass, so I can change in songs while he does harmonica and guitar, or I am doing harmony.
    I don't know if its any set number, and don't feel like its hot doggin, it if the instrument fits. some songs the mood changes to a mellow slow feel , there I use the fiddle. when I want rhythm then the mando. Also while doing harmonies I don't always play so its just voice, so that makes an opening . we do some medley's which works out very well switching back and forth.
    I have a stand with both instruments on it. and both wireless so that makes it easier.
    the challenging part is making the transition smooth so it is seamless and it works, sometimes it try it and it doesn't work so log that in as a no-go song for that.

  18. #17

    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I’m not sure I wouldn’t miss hearing one while the other is played, more than enjoy the one being played.
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I would only do this for a bet.

  20. #19
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I am trying to add a few entertainment things to my playing out. I am working on getting my feet "into the act" by "dancing" while sitting and playing mandolin. (I always play sitting, always). I am inspired by the band La Bottine Souriante, which if you haven't listened to you just haven't heard them.

    Secondly, I am working up some chord and backup things to play while I tell tall tales. I love tall tales, (Mart Twain, Ambrose Bierce, a few moderns as well), and I am trying to make this into some kind of a show. Some of Norm MacDonald's jokes are more kind of tall tales with a punch line. For example I think I could back up this tall tale with some mandolin: https://www.reddit.com/r/Jokes/comme...trists_office/



    But throwing instruments around, or playing two at a time, or I'll finger yours and you bow mine, well they are fun to watch, and tricky, IMO they cross a certain line, where sharing the music is no longer the main point.
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    I play both in the duo and band I play in, on some songs I'll do both, but it's a very easy swap as I don't need a strap to play,
    so I just put down the one I'm on and pick up the other. If I'm using the instrument mics I need to remember to hit the A/B switch.
    Mostly I have a hyper-cardoid mic pointing in from top right with the side null towards the floor monitors, so I just step in and out of the 'spotlight' to adjust volume.
    I don't think I would do it in a full on BG band rather than ours which plays maybe 3 proper BG numbers in a night.
    Maybe to be the 2nd fiddle in a tune or two that benefit more from that, but then the chops are gone while I'd end up going from solo to solo, which wouldn't feel very bluegrass to me.
    There would be either a big mandolin shaped hole or a fiddle shaped hole in the tune.
    If I wanted a good BG band I'd go looking for another mandolinist or fiddler & work them up to speed.
    Eoin



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  22. #21
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    What you need is a fiddolin (this came up on Mandolin Cafe before). Watch closely when Wayne switches at 1:31, and you'll see that he has only one instrument. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "WAYNE JERROLDS ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ASYn8y_Rzg

    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.

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    Default Re: Doubling on Mandolin and Fiddle

    Ok, play a break on a given tune with a mandolin. Now, observe the finger divots from the strings on your fretboard hand. Now play a break on the fiddle, same tune. Notice how the single string of the fiddle sort of lands in the same spot on your finger. If you can endure the back and forth, my fingertip calluses never could get used to it. One or two tunes per night, are okay, but not three or four hours straight. At the time, i had at least two or three acceptional mandolin players by me most of the time. This and a few other factors, told me to make the fiddle a priority.

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