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Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice

Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 01:31 PM
Cruiser 07 Aug 06 - 02:28 PM
Sorcha 07 Aug 06 - 02:28 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 02:33 PM
Sorcha 07 Aug 06 - 02:42 PM
Artful Codger 07 Aug 06 - 04:05 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Russ 07 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Russ 07 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 04:40 PM
Sorcha 07 Aug 06 - 04:54 PM
Cruiser 07 Aug 06 - 05:15 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 05:16 PM
Cruiser 07 Aug 06 - 05:20 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 06 - 05:26 PM
Zhenya 07 Aug 06 - 05:34 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 05:35 PM
Cruiser 07 Aug 06 - 05:40 PM
Artful Codger 07 Aug 06 - 05:42 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Aug 06 - 05:51 PM
Pauline L 08 Aug 06 - 03:46 AM
Grab 08 Aug 06 - 06:04 AM
Sorcha 08 Aug 06 - 10:05 AM
Grab 08 Aug 06 - 11:54 AM
Clinton Hammond 08 Aug 06 - 11:56 AM
Cruiser 08 Aug 06 - 12:16 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Aug 06 - 12:23 PM
Sorcha 08 Aug 06 - 12:31 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Aug 06 - 12:35 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Aug 06 - 12:38 PM
Cruiser 08 Aug 06 - 12:53 PM
Kaleea 08 Aug 06 - 01:40 PM
Sorcha 08 Aug 06 - 02:21 PM
Sorcha 08 Aug 06 - 04:33 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Aug 06 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Russ 09 Aug 06 - 08:19 AM
s&r 09 Aug 06 - 09:10 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Aug 06 - 12:45 AM
Sorcha 10 Aug 06 - 09:37 AM
Clinton Hammond 10 Aug 06 - 09:59 AM
Sorcha 10 Aug 06 - 11:19 AM
Clinton Hammond 10 Aug 06 - 11:20 AM
Clinton Hammond 17 Aug 06 - 01:42 PM
ella_tall 17 Aug 06 - 03:11 PM
Sorcha 17 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM
GUEST 17 Aug 06 - 05:24 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Aug 06 - 07:12 PM
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Subject: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 01:31 PM

Well, I have an electric fiddle on extended loan to me, and I wanna learn a little bit about how to play it.... (Though I have little desire at this point to play 'fiddle chunes'... that might change however)

I did pick it up last night and in a few moments found the first few 'notes' of the melody for Northwest Passage.... Having played it on mandolin helped with 'placement'....

But any advice for someone who wants to saw away a bit would be appreciated.... I don't want this to end up another Tenor Guitar experience.... where every 3 months I take it out of the case, play for 5 minutes, and never progress past that....

I guess first I gotta get a "chin rest" thingy.... The bit that goes between the fiddle and your shoulder


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Cruiser
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:28 PM

Clint:

That would be a violin shoulder rest.

You are in for a lot of fun and frustration. Having played the mandolin will help tremendously.

I will post more later.
Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:28 PM

I tink you better PM me......and if supersearch is working there is quite a lot on this. Good luck.....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:33 PM

Oh... wait... lemme back peddle half a step.... I've noodled around on mando... and for a whikle my tenor guitar was in mando tuning, so I'm half passing familliar with the 'lay out' a bit......

I'd never however claim to have ever been a 'mando player!"

LOL

Ya... shoulder rest... that's what I ment....

heh


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 02:42 PM

Posture, posture and posture......proper is mandantory for pain free and intonation free problems...get a good book at the library and study the pics......start by holding it properly, and draw the bow in a STRAIGHT line across each string. Lift right elbow (or lower...) to change strings. When you get a smooth tone, add the left hand. Bow should not slide toward fingerboard....straight down to the floor.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:05 PM

Don't forget to put cotton in the dog's ears. The Patriot Act doesn't extend to wonton torture of animals.

The violin appears to have been invented by the same warped soul who dreamed up golf. Nothing about it is designed for ease of playing. The posture is best suited to someone twisted by multiple sclerosis, and the bow is as amenable to control as a mule with paranoid delusions. You need the skill of a brain surgeon - plus a good dose of luck - to exact proper intonation, and as soon as your fingers find the golden spot, the damn thing slips off your shoulder. It is no wonder violinists tend to fits of temperament; it IS a wonder more violins don't end up as kindling. They must put something narcotic in the resin.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:09 PM

"Don't forget to put cotton in the dog's ears"

It's electric.... no body to speak of, so unless it's plugged in, it doesn't make much noise at all....

The cheapy version of this


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM

Get a teacher. A FIDDLE teacher.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM

Sign up for Augusta Old Time Week.
www.augustaheritage.com


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:40 PM

"Get a teacher"

Why? Nobody taught me how to sing, or how to play guitar, and I get PAID to do both!

LOL


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 04:54 PM

Honestly, fiddle really is a bit diff.....but if you have an Ear, which I know you do, you can do this. POSTURE first!!!!!! Tone second, intonation 3rd. And since you can sorta speak Mando you should be OK


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Cruiser
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:15 PM

Now Clint, don't think I am being condescending here but one of the best ways, even for older people, is to follow the Suzuki Method. There are delightful songs to learn and you will be playing "Humoresque" before you know it…after you master "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" first!

Hey, don't think it is beneath you old man. Just learn those tunes in the privacy of your own home and I would not advise you playing those for your Mudcat colleagues, except for one of my favorites, "Humoresque"

You can also put tape on the correct "intonation points" to simulate frets on a fretted instrument to get you started. However, take those off before you jam with your adult accompanists, if you can find any! If you do find them consider them to be true blue friends if they continue to play with a beginning fiddler.

Happy "scratching" for the first year or so…

Crusier


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:16 PM

Who's "Clint"?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Cruiser
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:20 PM

Sorry Clinton...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:26 PM

prickly sorta character, ain't he ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Zhenya
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:34 PM

What style(s) in particular are you interested in? There are lots of differences in technique from style to style, although of course getting the basics down will be similar in all of them. Here are a few general links that might help:



Beginning Fiddle Technique Info



Fiddler Magazine

(Check the links page for lots more information)



Fiddle Players' Discussion List


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:35 PM

Ya... I got a LONG way to go before I even think in terms of 'style' and other such tosser concepts....

,-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Cruiser
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:40 PM

In the U.S. most men named Clinton go by Clint. Similarly, most named Clayton go by Clay. I had a good friend named Clint and another named Clay while in high school.   

I wanted to name our son Clinton Clayton, but my wife said no way in heck...

So, Clinton it shall be!

(Ever heard of Clinton Eastwood?)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:42 PM

Let's hope he never needs surgery!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 05:51 PM

" So, Clinton it shall be!"
Thank you, Cruiser.... ,-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Pauline L
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 03:46 AM

I can't say this often enough: Get a teacher! Almost anyone can teach himself how to pick out tunes on the piano, guitar, banjo, etc., even if they're tone deaf, but fiddle is very different. It is very technical, physically technical, bodily technical. The human arms, hands, wrists, fingers, and shoulders are capable of an astounding variety of movements which differ from each other in very, very small ways, and the ones that are crucial for fiddle playing are not used in every day life. It is technically very difficult even to figure out how to play Twinkle on the fiddle, especially if you aspire to use the bow. the bow is where the real artistry and fine motor control come in. A fiddle teacher is like a physical therapist teaching new muscle skills. You can't learn to play fiddle by watching a video and then watching yourself in a mirror. BTW, after you learn to play Twinkle and a few fiddle tunes, if you want to make it sound like music and not just a bunch of notes, then you REALLY need a teacher. (Read what I said about the bow.) I guarantee you that you will get frustrated and not stick with the fiddle if you don't get a teacher -- a supportive, encouraging teacher, at that. If you want to learn to play an instrument without a teacher, go back to your tenor guitar. It's much easier.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Grab
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 06:04 AM

Sorcha can obviously tell you more about it than I ever could. But the big problem with violin/fiddle is the bowing, as Pauline says. It's almost inevitable that people who haven't had teaching will get that wrong, because it's difficult to see it what you're doing. Maybe you could skip the teacher if you could set up a video camera pointing at you from the right, and hook it up to a TV in front of you - then you can see what the bow and your arm are actually doing. Otherwise it's going to be pretty tough.

The problem comes with the mechanics of how to get a straight-line bowing action from an arm which consists of three different bits that move in curves. A lot of untaught people just keep their elbow fixed in one place and swing their hand from the elbow. Result - the bow swings round in a big arc, instead of a straight line. This is bad, because you're hitting different positions up the string, which means your tone is all over the place. And a lot of them don't realise they're doing it - because the arc has them at the centre of it, they can't see it happening. To keep the bow going in a dead straight line across the strings requires not just movement from the elbow, but also slight movement of your upper arm to more your elbow in/out to compensate for that arc, and large movements of your wrist to point the bow in the right direction as the angle of your forearm changes. The wrist action is very much like the Karate Kid "paint-the-fence", except going sideways instead of up and down.

Left-hand fingering is another matter. Sorcha can disagree with me here, but I don't think that's anything a teacher can help you with. You're learning the position that corresponds to a particular note, which involves hearing the note and micro-adjusting to get it right. As long as you've got good relative pitch then it's just a matter of building up the muscle memory.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 10:05 AM

Well, the left hand is all posture too...how many ways will your wrist move??? Then you get to add all 5 digits....even tho the thumb isn't actually on a string....you still have a left elbow under there somewhere.....you won't get vibrato, 3rd position (assuming you want it) or a 4th finger stretch for sharps unless the left hand is in correct position.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Grab
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 11:54 AM

Fair do's, although Clinton's a guitarist so he should be able to suss out a lot of it.

Re the vibrato, my teacher when I was a kid never managed to teach me vibrato. It was the major reason I gave up in the end - I couldn't take my Grade 6 without it, and after months of trying, I was still no closer to being able to to it than I was at the start. My body simply wouldn't do it. Sure, I could move my arm backwards and forwards, but it simply wouldn't do vibrato-style small movement and speed. If I want vibrato now, I fake it by moving my finger like I do for rock-guitar vibrato.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 11:56 AM

I'm not gonna get far without a shoulder rest.....

Too damn hard to hold.... and this thing is SO light, even though I KNOW it's strong, I feel like I'm gonna break it.....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Cruiser
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 12:16 PM

Clinton,

You can use a large sponge and some rubber bands to secure it on your fiddle. That works okay as a temporary shoulder rest until you purchase one.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 12:23 PM

That's what the girl who long-term-loaned me this fiddle said.... but I've cast about the place and it appears that my last large sponge got used and tossed.....

*shrug*

Oh well.... I'll go buy one.... and that way when she eventually askes for this back, she'll have a shoulder rest to go with it.....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 12:31 PM

Kun adjustable.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 12:35 PM

???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 12:38 PM

They'll be kinda one-size-fits-all-'full'-sized-fiddles right?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Cruiser
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 12:53 PM

Shoulder rests I have:

Nonadjustible for 4/4 violin : Resonans 1 or 2

Adjustible for 4/4 or 3/4 violin: Wolf FORTE-SECONDO

There are many options, but the adjustable ones are the best and more expensive.

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Kaleea
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 01:40 PM

played flute in Orchestra as a kid, so I had only messed with a friends' fiddle a little after school or when we had a substitute teacher-but that was ?0 years ago. While I've taught Music lessons for many years, I thought I might try it on my own, as I have learned many traditional instruments that way. I fiddled around a little, but I knew enough about strings to know that Violin is different.
Youngsters can be terrific teachers, so when I inherited a nice German 3/4 student fiddle (which fits my short stubby arms & fingers), I had a neighbor kid show me how to hold my fiddle & bow. On occasion, when I went to a big jam or a Music fest, I might take my fiddle & have the teens taking violin lessons help me with properly holding it & with bowing. It was tremendously helpful. While I have a very good ear for intonation, played a little Mandolin, & remembered "Twinkle" from college, I knew that holding the fiddle & bow correctly would help to eliminate troubles with painful & cramping hands, fingers etc. Kids are used to being helpful to others & not judgmental, so it was not embarrassing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 02:21 PM

RE:??? Kun is a brand of shoulder rest....my pref. Shoulder rests come in non adjustable, and adjustable. You need one that the 'feet clamps' will thread up and down to the the right height for you. My Kun adjusts sideways to fit a 4/4 violin or up to a 16" (full size) viola. Handy, that.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 04:33 PM

PS---Get a good beginner teaching book with pics...and DO NOT trust Miles Krassen!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Aug 06 - 07:28 PM

A competent guitarist should be aware that plucking the string at different distances from the end will change the tone, same as for bowing a violin/fiddle. Also, that depending on what frets up the neck you are playing, the effect moves slightly, the higher up the neck, the closer to the end for the same effect. The physics is fairly simple.

As the violin string is shorter, the effect is more noticeable, and demands higher precision.

Many players not 'formally taught by a good teacher' are not aware of this, and do not realise that there are 'channels of intonation' for bowing each fingered note position on a string for each different subtlety of intonation.

If you have a good ear for finding the correct pitched fingering points, then just keep listening as you bow, and you will find the correct channels.

Violinists learn how to control all these little technicalities to generate desired intonations on demand - fiddlers just saw away, with the bow floating up and down the string, even on s single note... :-)

When I had been learning piano for a while, I tried to impress my dad by showing how fast I could play. My dad, who played 'second lead' (he sits next to, and turns the pages for the orchestra leader - this is a sort of 'apprentice leader') as a teenager in orchestras prior to WWII, just took out his violin, and then did a very slow note on a single draw of the bow in each direction, with a clear unwavering tone of constant soft (ppp) volume and intonation (keeping the bow travel straight!) and said

"Any fool can play loud and fast, it takes practice, training AND talent to play slow and soft!".

I will never forget that, as long as Alzheimer's doesn't get me!


I hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 08:19 AM

Foolestroupe,

With all due respect to you and your father, fiddling is NOT bad violin playing.

Donna Hebert says it best in
The Reel Deal: Twelve Questions Violinists Ask about Fiddling
http://www.dhebert.com/12questions.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: s&r
Date: 09 Aug 06 - 09:10 AM

Here

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 12:45 AM

I was of course giving a flippant reply to the old battle between violinists & fiddlers - naive and cloth eared violinists are just as much a bane to their long suffering teachers and listeners as naive and cloth eared fiddlers!

My father had to play for some Amateur (Broadway) Musical Productions next to a guy (the 'leader' of the orchestra) who had been extremely keen to learn violin as a youngster - he had even saved up all year every year in a country town to travel to the big smoke to take as many lessons as he could get during his 2 week annual vacation. Because of a lack of any useful local teacher, he had learned MANY bad habits.

His bowing technique was, to put it politely, random, (and such a MASTER of the 'slide') and his intonation was such that dad claimed humorously that he had never met any violinist OR fiddler yet who had mastered the art of sliding the pitch on an open string!

My dad, who was properly trained in orchestral techniques - which involves all the bows in a string sub-section moving in the same direction at the same time, not only for looks, but also for a consistent sound, said it was almost impossible to follow the guy's bowing technique, cause he never played the same passage with the same bowing twice! I watched and heard the performances.

I have sat & watched (and tolerated the sound of) some amateur 'fiddlers' saw away in much the same way, with the bow floating all over the place too! Couple that with a cavalier attitude to tempo and phrasing...

I have previously talked here about a certain guy who 'learned' to play whistle in such a 'style' from such 'sessions'...

But I have also been privileged to watch some local fiddlers who have true mastery of the technique of their instruments too!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 09:37 AM

So, hows it going?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 09:59 AM

Hardly.... ain't got a sponge... ain't had opprotunity to get a shoulder rest.....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 11:19 AM

Ah.....get thee to Southwest Strings web site.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 11:20 AM

Just gotta find time to get to a physical music store, when they are open


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 01:42 PM

Ya.... This whole sponge thing (I finally found the one I was looking for) isn't working out very well.... or maybe it's that I'm just doing something new and it's not going as quickly as I'd like it to....

Twinkle Twinkle is actually starting to SOUND like *Gasp* "Twinkle Twinkle".... I even noodled around with "Michael Row The Boat Ashore" and got SOME of the notes right!

I haven't played that on any instrument since recorder class back in elementary school....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: ella_tall
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 03:11 PM

Woah... shoulder rests... an insistence on formal teaching???

This might cause irritation / disbelief, but I picked up my first violin and could play it immediately. I tried a shoulder rest, but the violin wasn't designed with those in mind, and they're fiddly, and tend to fall off at completely the wrong moment... anyway, nothing beats the hard patch you get on your neck after a while.

I got my piano teacher to give me a lesson (he did violin as well) but it was pretty pointless. I have grade six violin (distinction), for which I studied less than six hours. I'm annoying like that.

I think fiddle-playing's a personal thing. I've grown up around some terrific violin players. The best one can't read music, but has played violin with an orchestra, and likes to irritate everyone with the Flight of the Bumblebees. I personally find that players who learn their technique from written music are less likely to want to deviate or experiment with 'accepted' techniques, which I think is a great shame. Music is for fun, after all.

All I ever keep in my acoustic fiddle case is a spare set of strings, a spare bow, and some rosin. Oh, and if you need a tuner for when you're not near a melodian player, here's one.

Sorry to swim so strongly against an overwhelming tide.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM

Ella, that IS annoying!!!! Smile.....but, what works, works.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 05:24 PM

ella tall"

No Pat Whistler found so far on Mudcat. You might want to ask your father what his name is again, in case you forgot....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Starting 'Fiddle' Advice
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 07:12 PM

My dad's instrument had an old fashioned fixed level rest - he used to use a cloth pad. When I got it serviced, I had it 'fitted' to me with the rest recommended by the expert player shop owner.

Now all I got to do is find a teacher,and start practising....


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