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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: playing second fiddle

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old cowboy - Posted - 09/08/2020:  15:07:24

I am trying to play along with other players. I am fond of Doc Watson and am playing some of his tunes on you tube and trying to play along with them. Is this a good way to learn second fiddling?

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/08/2020:  15:24:47

Do you mean "seconding", ie, playing fills and support? Or, playing harmony with another fiddle? I assume since you mentioned Doc Watson, it's the first.

old cowboy - Posted - 09/08/2020:  17:50:45

we always called it second fiddle. When you are not playing the lead. As far as I' m concerned, its both. Fills and support or harmony with another fiddle.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/08/2020:  18:29:22

If you don't have live bodies, playing along with a recording is good ear and "chops" practice--you have to figure out the key on your own, and the chord structure. Thinking on the fly. And it helps you learn patterns. I recall you are a guitar man--same idea. Hank, Sr, is a good place to start.

I have to use CDs, though, because no high-speed internet in the backwoods yet. Shoot, we're still new to this electrical power thing...

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/08/2020:  18:31:29

BTW, if you really are an old cowboy, I might need to call on you for occasional advice in the cattle business...

ChickenMan - Posted - 09/08/2020:  19:04:09

Like what these guys are doing?


Or this? 

Spencer and Rains

As opposed to this? 

twin fiddling

Or are you thinking of just general backup fiddling, like bluegrass or old school country band? 


alaskafiddler - Posted - 09/08/2020:  19:59:09

I think of "seconding" as more like backup guitar/mando playing... mostly chord and rhythm groove,  (might use some riffs);  backup to support the lead melody, as in fiddle or vocal.

As opposed to pure harmony; or licks, fills between vocal melody; or improvised breaks.

Either case playing along with recordings can be good practice, help to learn some things; to a point.

But be forewarned... it is easy to deceive yourself. the "others" are not listening to your playing, so you won't throw them off, they will still be tight. You can be a bit sloppy, miss things, catch up; and in the moment seem to keep up, be with them, sound okay. Make sure  you really listen to yourself with the others. (perhaps record it). One thing especially to listen for is that you are not competing with, or stepping over the others lead/melody.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/08/2020 20:00:48

old cowboy - Posted - 09/09/2020:  03:06:37

Thanks for the suggestion of Ole Hank. Right away your cheatin heart comes to mind. Being a guitar man does help with figuring the right key. I am indeed a cattleman. Started out with my Dad and two brothers. We fattened off between 4 and 5000 head a yr. not big by outwest standards but big for Ohio in the 50's and 60's . Lived on a 5500 acre farm Believe it or not started out with sheep. Switched to cattle in the late 50's. Started with Herefords and in the 70's switched to Black Angus. We had cattle buyers from 4 or 5 states around coming in just to buy our cattle. Dressed out at 90 to 95% Prime.!

old cowboy - Posted - 09/09/2020:  03:18:26

Thanks for the advice. I never was much good at playing lead guitar but did a fair job at playing second or back up. Playing second guitar in my opinion has always been under rated. It can do a lot to enhance the lead player. My little brother always played lead with me as back up. We used Reno and Smiley records for practice. Still love playing with little brother! Last time I was at his house he said, "Why don't you get rid of that fiddle thing and go get your guitar!"

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/09/2020:  06:23:36


Originally posted by old cowboy

Dressed out at 90 to 95% Prime.!

For those who may not know, and at the risk of a little thread drift, I'll point out that this achievement is like being the Mark O'Connor of the beef business.

I think they just throw mine in the hopper for McDonald's.  I'll shut up about cows now.

buckhenry - Posted - 09/09/2020:  17:30:59


Originally posted by old cowboy

Is this a good way to learn second fiddling?

 Second only to actually jamming live with some one or playing in a band, but there are also 'backing tracks'. 

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 09/09/2020:  18:44:00

Speaking of Hank...I think just about the most beautiful fiddling I've ever heard was his fiddler...don't know his real name, but I think they called him "knothead" or something like That was some sweet fiddling, right there.

To me, one of the best fiddle breaks ever starts at 57 or so.;index=3

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 09/09/2020 18:50:44

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/09/2020:  19:18:07

Awesome break, and super easy--key of C index/middle pinch form on the D/A strings. I don't know anyone who dislikes this song.

Good grief, who would turn down crawfish pie and a fruit jar full of "white mule"?

buckhenry - Posted - 09/09/2020:  19:47:31


Originally posted by groundhogpeggy


To me, one of the best fiddle breaks ever starts at 57 or so.


And the lap steel  is playing some inspiring backing licks... 

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