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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Changing the tuning on someone else’s fiddle. Okay with that?


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Snafu - Posted - 04/13/2021:  10:05:58


So I had been playing my fiddle for about an hour on my front porch and had a visitor stop by. This was a new acquaintance but I knew that he was quite musical and plays guitar and mandolin and other instruments in various folk bands. I had no knowledge if he played violin. So we were chatting and he asked me to show him my fiddle.

The first thing he did after inspecting it front and back was to pluck the strings and then went right to the tuning pegs and began turning them, completely changing the tuning. Then he took the bow and bowed the fiddle for maybe 10 seconds and handed it back to me and asked me to play something. I declined in a friendly way but was slightly miffed and maybe offended.

I had tuned the fiddle to perfect 5ths against a violin tuner just before I began playing and was quite happy with the sound. I was a bit taken back because he hadn’t done anything more than plucking the strings. Is this something experienced musicians do? Assume any instrument handed them needs to be tuned?

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/13/2021:  10:33:50


When he "played" on it, did it look like he knew what he was doing?

That might be something an arrogant musician might do, but to do it then not even show that he could play tells me he's not worth the time. I probably would have made a point of retuning when he handed it back, and then played something like "Three Blind Mice"/"Hot Cross Buns." But I can be a real smart ass sometimes.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/13/2021:  10:55:13


If the player was a serious player, it would be standard practice for the player to tune the instrument. If you had it tuned in an alternate tuning, it would be polite to ask before switching to standard pitch. No one should be expected to play an instrument out of tune if they feel that’s the case.

If the strings were exactly tuned to a tuner, a player would need to adjust to make the fifths truly in tune. Tuning should only take a matter of seconds anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

When I get violins ready for customers after repairs or adjustments or before a sales appointment, I always tune them so they’re ready to play without any adjustments necessary. Nonetheless, almost everyone picks them up and immediately retunes them. Sometimes they spend a couple minutes struggling to get them in tune and end up handing them to me to (re)tune again. It happens multiple times a day, but I don’t mind. I never assume a violin is in tune either.

doryman - Posted - 04/13/2021:  11:07:56


quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

If the player was a serious player, it would be standard practice for the player to tune the instrument. If you had it tuned in an alternate tuning, it would be polite to ask before switching to standard pitch. No one should be expected to play an instrument out of tune if they feel that’s the case.

 






This.  Did he, in fact, tune it to an alternate tuning?  That would be presumptuous, in my opinion. 

DougBrock - Posted - 04/13/2021:  11:22:04


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

So I had been playing my fiddle for about an hour on my front porch and had a visitor stop by. This was a new acquaintance but I knew that he was quite musical and plays guitar and mandolin and other instruments in various folk bands. I had no knowledge if he played violin. So we were chatting and he asked me to show him my fiddle.



The first thing he did after inspecting it front and back was to pluck the strings and then went right to the tuning pegs and began turning them, completely changing the tuning. Then he took the bow and bowed the fiddle for maybe 10 seconds and handed it back to me and asked me to play something. I declined in a friendly way but was slightly miffed and maybe offended.



I had tuned the fiddle to perfect 5ths against a violin tuner just before I began playing and was quite happy with the sound. I was a bit taken back because he hadn’t done anything more than plucking the strings. Is this something experienced musicians do? Assume any instrument handed them needs to be tuned?






Wow! I would say his tuning your violin was totally rude, insulting and unacceptable! I just can't imagine doing that to another person's instrument. (Unless it was a teacher/student relationship, or if they asked for help tuning.) If he were very knowledgeable about violins, then he would know there are some tuning preferences, and his preference might not be your preference.


Edited by - DougBrock on 04/13/2021 11:26:03

Snafu - Posted - 04/13/2021:  11:44:34


To clarify my post, the fiddle was tuned in standard GDAE mode and had been tuned to a tuner designed to perfect fifths. Moreover, I had been playing it for a while and it was ringing true sympathetic vibrations. It was in tune.

He did say later that he was a mandolin player so I thought maybe that was it. Mandolins maybe are not tuned in perfect fifths? Not sure. But why change it, not play anything and then hand it back asking me to play it?

As an aside, it has Wittner geared pegs on it and he was really freaked out by the smooth action. I was freaked out by his aggressive turning of the pegs. I was glad for the 9:1 reduction gear action since he gave one peg a good quarter turn before he checked the tone. It could have snapped a string. Later, he said he played violin as a kid for a few years and owns one but never plays it.

DougBrock - Posted - 04/13/2021:  11:55:50


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

To clarify my post, the fiddle was tuned in standard GDAE mode and had been tuned to a tuner designed to perfect fifths. Moreover, I had been playing it for a while and it was ringing true sympathetic vibrations. It was in tune.



He did say later that he was a mandolin player so I thought maybe that was it. Mandolins maybe are not tuned in perfect fifths? Not sure. But why change it, not play anything and then hand it back asking me to play it?



As an aside, it has Wittner geared pegs on it and he was really freaked out by the smooth action. I was freaked out by his aggressive turning of the pegs. I was glad for the 9:1 reduction gear action since he gave one peg a good quarter turn before he checked the tone. It could have snapped a string. Later, he said he played violin as a kid for a few years and owns one but never plays it.






Mandolins are tuned GDAE, just like violins.



The rest of your story make his actions seem even more rude!

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/13/2021:  12:21:40


It does sound like he didn’t really play the instrument much, but tuning it was a completely reasonable thing.



Any time you hand your instrument over, you take on a certain amount of risk, and that risk is exponentially greater if you’re handing it to someone you don’t believe to know how to play. You can always show a violin without letting go of it.



I’m glad no damage was done, and it seems that at least the person in question knew enough not to do something dangerous.



Napoleon Bonaparte demanded to play the Duport Strad cello after listening to it in concert, even though he didn’t know how to play. He fumbled around with it for a while and then handed it back. To this day, the cello bears scars made by his boots. That player didn’t have a choice, but he paid the price. Thankfully, you can typically avoid this kind of situation.


Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 04/13/2021 12:27:41

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 04/13/2021:  13:39:00


It happened to me more often in my old rock-and-roll days. It didn't help that, more often than not I found the compulsive re-tuners to have both terrible touch and tin ears. On the other hand, I, too, have been guilty of tweaking tuning a few times when handed an instrument, but I always ask permission first.

doryman - Posted - 04/13/2021:  13:52:28


I have an upright bass at home. Once, someone asked if they could sit in at bass during one of our living room jams. I had no problem with that at all since we often take turns at bass anyway during a jam. Anyway, this fellow then proceeds to change the action on the bass (which one can do if you have that kind of bridge). I thought that was kind of rude. Messing around with a man's pegs is one thing, but messing around with his bridge is quite another.

coryobert - Posted - 04/13/2021:  13:52:29


Yeah, I wouldn't have been into that. My pulse rate goes up if anyone asks to see my fiddle, and I don't take my eyes off em'. Thankfully it rarely happens.

On the other end of the spectrum, I once asked Vassar Clements about all of the mysterious writing on his fiddle, and he just nodded towards his case and said "you're welcome to check it out". I was shocked. I did pick it up and look at it but you better believe that's all I did.


Edited by - coryobert on 04/13/2021 13:56:01

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/13/2021:  15:59:26


Mandos ARE tuned to the same notes as a fiddle but not usually perfect fifths which has some slight differences. He was out of line, but that moment has passed. Best say "I'd rather not" if he asks again. Suggest he go get a guitar instead.



As a very seasoned guitar player with a better than average ear, I will admit that I've been known to tune a guitar when it's been handed to me (I never ask, not my nature). Truth is, in my experience, most often it is ever so slightly out of tune because most folks these days rely on the tuner and not their ears. 


Edited by - ChickenMan on 04/13/2021 16:00:05

luthier65 - Posted - 04/13/2021:  16:06:31


Many, many years ago, I lived in Raleigh, NC. There was a music "festival" at the Mordecai House, one of the oldest structures in town. Joe and Odell Thompson were playing there. Later in the day, I was allowed to join a jam with Laughlin Shaw and Joe. Joe asked for my fiddle, plucked the strings, retuned it to a cross tuning that he was in (don't recall which at the moment), then gave it back to me and said, "There son, now you can play with us!"

I wasn't upset. I was pleased. Someone walking up to my porch and doing that, probably not so pleased. Ask first.

buckhenry - Posted - 04/13/2021:  17:09:15


I handed my fiddle to some one who asked to try it, and I paid the price. He pressed so hard that his finger nail broke the G string winding. Since then, when any one asks I just change the subject.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/13/2021:  18:16:14


If somebody did that to my fiddle...they would never touch my instrument, that one or any of mine, ever, ever again.

farmerjones - Posted - 04/13/2021:  19:52:56


Naw. My buddies that play, no problem. If I haven't seen you play, you can maybe hold it. Grab a peg and you'll get the woah. You gotta live and learn, I guess.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/13/2021:  19:55:07


This is reminding me of the old viola joke:

Violist: Mr. Conductor, I can’t play my viola!

Conductor: Why is that?

Violist: One of the horn players reached around and twisted one of my pegs and now I’m out of tune.

Conductor: Why can’t you retune it?

Violist: Because I can’t figure out which one he twisted!

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 04/13/2021:  20:22:48


quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

This is reminding me of the old viola joke:



Violist: Mr. Conductor, I can’t play my viola!



Conductor: Why is that?



Violist: One of the horn players reached around and twisted one of my pegs and now I’m out of tune.



Conductor: Why can’t you retune it?



Violist: Because I can’t figure out which one he twisted!






Rich, you ought to clarify, just for posterity, the gist of viola jokes--I know there's a bunch of them...they are kinda on the same level as banjo jokes, from what I understand.  As you're a luthier with viola clients, I trust you won't incriminate yourself.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 04/13/2021:  20:38:31


I'm not steeped much in customs between musicians and so forth. Most folks I play with don't ask to hold my instruments, and I don't ask them to. I just ask questions about them. Similarly, I would never ask to hold a newborn unless the proud parent held the baby out to me, and even then I would be nervous.



The only thing I can think of when it comes to unspoken customs is when someone presents a firearm for you to look at. Without prompting, you are expected to manipulate the action to ensure it's cleared and safe, even if the presenter just cleared it in your view. After that, you are expected to ask if you can dry-fire it or anything else that involves the action. Failing to ask is not necessarily unsafe, but considered rude and nonchalant about potential damage.


Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 04/13/2021 20:46:47

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/14/2021:  00:06:39


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

So I had been playing my fiddle for about an hour on my front porch and had a visitor stop by. This was a new acquaintance but I knew that he was quite musical and plays guitar and mandolin and other instruments in various folk bands. I had no knowledge if he played violin. So we were chatting and he asked me to show him my fiddle.



The first thing he did after inspecting it front and back was to pluck the strings and then went right to the tuning pegs and began turning them, completely changing the tuning. Then he took the bow and bowed the fiddle for maybe 10 seconds and handed it back to me and asked me to play something. I declined in a friendly way but was slightly miffed and maybe offended.



I had tuned the fiddle to perfect 5ths against a violin tuner just before I began playing and was quite happy with the sound. I was a bit taken back because he hadn’t done anything more than plucking the strings. Is this something experienced musicians do? Assume any instrument handed them needs to be tuned?






None of what that described seems unusual; nor unexpected... certainly with experienced musicians, when handed any string instrument they are going to play, fine tuning adjustment is normal part of process. Nor is fine tuning a big deal, what tuners are for. Doesn't cause harm, damage, significant change to an instrument, and can be easily readjusted back.



You might have misinterpreted some things.



Assume any instrument handed them needs to be tuned?



Common there is neither assumption instrument is either in tune or needs tuned. It is not unusual, unexpected to start with listening; some tuning check. Of course, hearing another playing, might notice it didn't sound in tune.



The first thing he did after inspecting it front and back was to pluck the strings and then went right to the tuning pegs and began turning them,



Plucking strings first is thus not assuming, but way to listen.  Fairly normal process. Pluck, listen, if it sounds out of tune, then next would be go right to the tuning pegs to adjust fine tuning. 



As an aside, it has Wittner geared pegs on it and he was really freaked out by the smooth action.



Not sure what really freaked out means... but doesn't seem odd that if expecting friction pegs, they would take notice or be surprised.



he gave one peg a good quarter turn before he checked the tone



A fairly common way folks tune string instruments is to first significantly lower the pitch; then gradually bring it up to pitch.



----



I had tuned the fiddle to perfect 5ths against a violin tuner just before I began playing and was quite happy with the sound



That is essentially irrelevant. (although might indicate another issue). Here are some aspects to consider.



1. After a period of playing... not unusual the instrument tuning changed.



2. Electronic tuners (esp inexpensive clip-ons); readout (and user interpretation) are not necessarily very precise (as say strobe tuner would be). Some peoples ears are better for fine tuning.



3. Tuning scheme. It is not unusual for folks to have different opinions of what sounds better. Common for violin... perfect fifths vs equal tempered fifths. Default for tuners is ET. Regardless, of how you tuned it, others might have different preference or opinion of what sounds better.



4. Some people are more sensitive to fine tuning.



Not necessarily that their fine tuning is better... but again, causes no harm and easy enough to change back.



Fine tuning is normal, expected part of playing a string instrument. So IMO, if okay with handing someone an instrument to play... then not sure why wouldn't be okay with them tuning it.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/14/2021 00:24:36

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/14/2021:  04:49:24


To me it seems very rude to fiddle with someone's tuning. The only exception, ever, would be if the person had handed you their instrument and asked for your help with their tuning. Other than that...it's their instrument, they tuned it or can tune it if it's slipped out...ain't your business to fiddle with their tuners. You're way outta line if you do that.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 04/14/2021:  06:11:36


When I was a beginner and often played out of tune... this one very experienced fiddler asked if he could try my fiddle.. He play a few notes and then started getting it correctly in tune.. He glanced over to me, Winked, smiled and said, "Don't you just hate it when people do this!?"... He was actually doing me a favor and the fiddle DID sound really better when he handed it back......In that case, I wasn't offended.. He made a point and it was memorable.

Earworm - Posted - 04/14/2021:  06:14:19


At the very least he should have asked you first.

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 04/14/2021:  06:57:03


Well .... I don't hand my instruments to but a very few, as in count on one hand, people. if anyone picks up an instrument of mine I ask them to put it back in the case. If they say I'm just going to tune it I ask then to put it back in the case. If they continue to handle my instrument I TELL them to put MY instrument back in it's case. That if I wanted their help I would have asked for it.
Musicians , as a whole, generally "fiddle " with the tuning of an instrument when they pick it up. It's a "thing " they do. Is it ear , ego or just .. IDK It is one of the many reasons I keep my case closed and latched / zipped if it is out of arms reach.
Yes I have trust issues. But I view my instruments as my dear friends. Passing them around ..... no.

Snafu - Posted - 04/14/2021:  07:17:21


Thanks for all the responses. I guess the thing that irks me was that I was happily sight read playing (Rieding op 35 concerto in B minor, first movement if it matters. I will play anything that sounds nice) when he walked by, said it sounds good and came up for a visit and a beer. I told him my story about how I got into violin/fiddling because I’m drawn to playing melody and bought my fiddle almost on a whim one snowy afternoon. That fiddle is my avatar. He asked to see it then changed my tuning and gave it back saying nice fiddle or something like that. It was in his hands maybe 60 seconds total.

It wasn’t a jam situation where we needed to align our tuning to one standard. It was just me and my fiddle at my house, he didn’t have an instrument with him. I kind of took it as a passive-aggressive way to diss my playing ability. But I said nothing.

Maybe it was the beer acting up, it was my first one but maybe not his first one...

DougD - Posted - 04/14/2021:  07:54:50


It really depends on the situation and the people involved. If you give your instrument to someone, expecting them to play it, then you also expect them to tune it. What is odd about this situation is that he didn't play anything, and probably couldn't. Sounds like he's just a "clueless pilgrim," to put it charitably, and you should learn your lesson and move on. After years of interacting with the general public if someone I don't know asks to see my instrument, I just hold it up and let them have a look. On the other hand, I've loaned and borrowed instruments to and from people I hardly know, but the situation was right. I've also shared instruments in theater productions when needed, and I'm talking Collings mandolins and original herringbone Martins.
I'm glad Lee retold his story so I didn't have to! That's a special situation, and here's a version from my experience: I was sitting next to Don Reno in a festival workshop and someone asked him to play a tune on the guitar, so I handed him my D-28, since he had only his banjo. He checked the tuning and proceeded to tune the first string and said "Sounds like that string's been a-drinkin'. It's a little high!"
I've had some other funny experiences with tuning, but I don't want to hijack your thread. One started out badly, but resulted in a little session of some of the most amazing music I've ever heard, played on two borrowed instruments by complete strangers. So you never know!

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/14/2021:  09:26:04


Yup, it depends. I rarely find myself playing someone else's fiddle - but I think if it had fine tuners, I would tweak the tuning if it were out to my ear, if I were going to play a tune or three - it's just what you do - but if I had to start messing with pegs, I would hand the instrument back, 'cause you never how that's going to go.

The only times I can recall anyone asking to see/play my fiddle - both were 'violinists'; each just played a few phrases and handed it back, with their judgements ("it has a warm sound" and "it's a good violin for folk music, but not for Classical").

bsed - Posted - 04/14/2021:  12:25:57


Rude!

old cowboy - Posted - 04/14/2021:  13:42:10


I agree with everything Peggy says.

gapbob - Posted - 04/15/2021:  12:48:18


Pretty much this is my rule of thumb, gotten from something I read.

When you borrow someone's fiddle, first play a tune, then after you might consider tuning it, if it is truly out of tune—the implication being that you played it and made it go out of tune, thereby not insulting the owner.

Snafu - Posted - 04/15/2021:  12:48:37


So I’m reading that most thought this was wrong, boorish behavior like I did, but a few experienced fiddlers thought this would be ok in a jam situation. I’m not in that camp.

My take-away lesson is that I need to be as possessive with my fiddle as I am with my guitars. I don’t lend out my guitars because I have seen some aggressive strummers who like to show off and prove that a lesser brand guitar can’t project like their good ol’Martin can. The mine is bigger than yours mentality. Fiddlers don’t seem to be like that I have noticed and I’m glad for that.

But for those who would be ok with what happened here what are the limits? If another fiddler asked to see your bow, would you give it to them? Would it be ok if they applied their own rosin and took it to town on their fiddle? Maybe they broke a couple of hairs and said you should really look into a rehair? That okay? Or perhaps they wipe the strings/fingerboard of rosin before they played your fiddle.

I’m of the “hold it like it was a newborn, admire it or see whatever you wanted to see and hand it back the way you got it” camp. Then again I’m mostly a front porch kind of fiddler...

TuneWeaver - Posted - 04/15/2021:  13:02:26


Ok, so I've been thinking.. At our regular weekly jams (2).. now that we are back on track, it is not uncommon for any of us to borrow another musicians, fiddle, banjo, or guitar.... we swap around and it happens every week... We are all ok with that.. BECAUSE.. we are friends and know each other well and have shown over the years that to borrow someone's instrument for a tune is a compliment..Context ...is Everything.......If I grab a friend's banjo and it is out of tune.. I'll just put it down and they will tune it when the time comes.. If someone wants to use my banjo or fiddle, I give a polite.. "OK, but you May want to check the tuning first!!"...Works every time..


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 04/15/2021 13:04:15

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/15/2021:  15:26:23


I have borrowed or lended out instruments for friends before...in that case, say you have their instrument for a few days, weeks, etc. Of course it's ok to tune it because you are borrowing it and it has to be in tune to use. But if you planned to go into some wacky tuning, it would be rude to do that to their instrument without asking them about that first.



Handing off a guitar in a jam isn't the same as handing off a fiddle. Fiddles are a little more uniquely set up to the player...bow, rosin, bridge, tuners, tunING, chin rest or shoulder rest or whatever...if you did let a friend borrow your fiddle or vice versa, for a few weeks...they would have to respect your setup and have your permission if they put it into some other tuning. I wouldn't ever handoff my fiddle in a jam...if somebody did get their hands on it and started fiddling with the tuning, the bow, different rosin, or whatever, it would really shock me and upset me.  That's just my groundhog take on etiquette with instruments...lol.  If someone asked to see my fiddle in some jam situation, I would hold it up (with a pretty tight grip on it) for them to look at...and if they came to close, I'd hug it back so they couldn't touch it...lol.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 04/15/2021 15:29:36

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 04/15/2021:  18:02:38


Oddly, I'd be less peeved if a new ding or scratch found its way onto one of my fiddles than onto one of my guitars. Except for my old German trade fiddle, I bought my other fiddles new. But, of course, just like practically every other fiddle I've ever come across, the fiddles were artfully antiqued by the makers. Supposedly, my 120 year old German trade fiddle came from the factory dutifully antiqued, as well. The guitars, meantime (except for my thoroughly relic-ed Fender Strat), came into my hands as fresh as daisies. I agonize over every scratch that me or another player has ever been put into 'em.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/15/2021:  20:40:32


As a player I would never hand an instrument or bow over to a stranger. I would always be happy to show either to anyone who asked, but they wouldn’t leave my hands.

As an orchestral musician, it would be standard procedure for the concert master of an orchestra to hand over their violin to a soloist during a concert if the soloist’s violin had a problem. It doesn’t happen too often, but it does happen.

As a luthier, I will gladly let a customer try out an instrument or bow, but all trials are initiated by filling out a trial contract that includes credit card information so that the customer’s card can be charged in the event of damage or failure to return. My business insurance covers any damage or loss to my instruments and bows. In some cases you just have to accept that there might be minor damage when you hand an instrument over. It’s very rare for it to happen if customers are all careful, but there is a small amount of risk that one has to take on the chin as the cost of doing business.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/16/2021:  04:57:27


My thinking is that this type of rudeness, taking someone's instrument and being the instant "expert" who will "fix it" for the dummy and hand it back...it's like an ego thing that happens in jams. "I'm gonna fix that tuning for you, you poor ol ignorant thing." Or, "I'm gonna show you what you are doing wrong while you're playing that tune," etc. These kinds of thing have happened to me in jams and it really makes a jam absolutely torture, not fun. No camaraderie, there, just them cutting you down so they can have their own ego take a happy trip at your expense. I'm not saying people shouldn't help anyone who ASKS for help...that's a friendly and nice thing. Or if you ask, "How are you doing such and such?"  It's a very generous and nice thing if they will take the time to show you.  I'm saying when they just find themselves a victim to humiliate so the musical portion of their ego is fed...that's wrong...shouldn't oughta do that. One reason I'm not crazy about the jams around here...I'm sick of that happening. Not fun. More fun to play all alone than to take somebody's ego's whippin' for them.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 04/16/2021 04:59:30

East Texas Fiddle - Posted - 04/16/2021:  07:31:06


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

So I’m reading that most thought this was wrong, boorish behavior like I did, but a few experienced fiddlers thought this would be ok in a jam situation. I’m not in that camp.






I agree with you totally. I agree it was wrong, boorish behavior, and I am not in the camp that thinks it was OK.

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/16/2021:  07:49:13


Who exactly is in "this camp that thinks it's OK"?

Swing - Posted - 04/16/2021:  08:36:05


Actually I am okay with some one changing someone else's fiddle tuning... as long as it isn't mine... I do however know a few fiddlers that I would like to take the strings off their fiddle.



Play Happy



Swing


Edited by - Swing on 04/16/2021 08:36:25

buckhenry - Posted - 04/16/2021:  15:01:11


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

Who exactly is in "this camp that thinks it's OK"?






I think you might have missed reading some of the posts.....?


Edited by - buckhenry on 04/16/2021 15:02:32

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/16/2021:  16:53:29


@buckhenry You sent me back to check - and I DID miss a couple of posts ... !

TuneWeaver - Posted - 04/16/2021:  17:09:47


Remember.. context is everything.. The guy who, when I was a beginner, retuned my fiddle was none other than Pete Sutherland.. a most gracious person... It wasn't a problem to me.. Once a guy gave ME his poor sounding fiddle to try, and like an ass.. I actually moved the base of the bridge.!!! .....Recently my friend Larry, who is learning to fiddle, was struggling with poorly lubricated pegs.. After watching him struggle for several minutes ..I finally said, "Give me that @)#$* fiddle.." and I got it tuned for him.. Anybody remember this quote from the Lord of the Rings? " One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them".. Well, there is NO one rule for every possible situation..!!! (notice...no CAPS...smiley)...

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/20/2021:  06:30:18


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

So I’m reading that most thought this was wrong, boorish behavior like I did, but a few experienced fiddlers thought this would be ok in a jam situation. I’m not in that camp.



My take-away lesson is that I need to be as possessive with my fiddle as I am with my guitars. I don’t lend out my guitars because I have seen some aggressive strummers who like to show off and prove that a lesser brand guitar can’t project like their good ol’Martin can. The mine is bigger than yours mentality. Fiddlers don’t seem to be like that I have noticed and I’m glad for that.



But for those who would be ok with what happened here what are the limits? If another fiddler asked to see your bow, would you give it to them? Would it be ok if they applied their own rosin and took it to town on their fiddle? Maybe they broke a couple of hairs and said you should really look into a rehair? That okay? Or perhaps they wipe the strings/fingerboard of rosin before they played your fiddle.



I’m of the “hold it like it was a newborn, admire it or see whatever you wanted to see and hand it back the way you got it” camp. Then again I’m mostly a front porch kind of fiddler...






Not sure who said what was okay... or camps referring to.... or perhaps about different things?



Some my comments were referring to normal context of handing instrument to experienced player because reason of wanting that specific individual to play music on it. Which (for me) is pretty limited only to those I want; presumes I am sufficiently comfortable with them, respect them, know how to play the instrument; by default knows how to handle to tune it in a normal sense; and I want them to be comfortable and enjoy playing music on it. As mentioned, I consider tuning normal part of playing, whether my instrument or theirs; it's not complex (for me).



 



As far as what happened on your porch, seems to be about different things. To be honest I didn't really grasp what you were doing, process, communicated, said and not said, implied. Not sure what your goals are or what were you expecting to benefit? Simply why you wanted that specific individual to "look" at your fiddle?



Was your goal for admiration, praise, feedback, opinion? You have your reason, but I don't think I can't think of much I would find beneficial to me in that context.



The "look" concept seems ambiguous to me, unaware so what or if unspoken universal, normal, protocols or parameters?  As DougD joked... just literal visual; all the way to like a music store... handling and playing. Recipe of potential misunderstanding. I offer no judgment of wrong, boorish, rude, or being okay with your actions or wanted in that person to "look"... kind of seems social interaction between the 2 individuals what they communicate and agree to... or fail to.



----------

But for those who would be ok with what happened here what are the limits? If another fiddler asked to see your bow, would you give it to them? Would it be ok if they applied their own rosin and took it to town on their fiddle? Maybe they broke a couple of hairs and said you should really look into a rehair? That okay? Or perhaps they wipe the strings/fingerboard of rosin before they played your fiddle.



 



Not sure who you are  referring to....  hypothetical random strangers is I have no reason for them to have my bow, so wouldn't be apply rosin, nor breaking hairs. Nor why I would let them wipe the strings. 



 



Ask me about specific individual... and context... well tell me about them, who, the reason/purpose, do we have a relationship, and what is it? what are they like, music experience, jam experiences, view of music, demeanor; fun to hang out with, Is someone who knows something I want to know, give good pointers?; are they snobby elite, just talk about themselves, seem competitive, seem more concerned with objects/possessions than social interactions, or person that seems to talk about other musicians negative, whine, complain, judges others being rude, boorish... or do they talk about how others are positively? Do they demonstrate responsibility, take responsibility for their actions and words, or blame others...Do they acknowledge their part contribution t  mistakes or misunderstandings? These are some aspects to start... that give clues; might need more info. The more I know about that specific person, the more I could give an answer yes or no.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/20/2021 06:44:17

Snafu - Posted - 04/20/2021:  10:56:55


Hi Alaska,





''As far as what happened on your porch, seems to be about different things. To be honest I didn't really grasp what you were doing, process, communicated, said and not said, implied. Not sure what your goals are or what were you expecting to benefit? Simply why you wanted that specific individual to "look" at your fiddle?



Was your goal for admiration, praise, feedback, opinion?" 



I appreciate your well intended thoughts and questions but it kind of leaves me speechless on how to reply. You have analyzed this for my intentions and are looking for a deeper meaning for this interaction way beyond what it was: A new acquaintance walked by my house then up on my front porch as I was outside playing. I put the fiddle down and he sat down. I offered him a beer. Small talk for 5 minutes. He said I heard your playing and it sounded good. I said thanks. ‘Do you mind showing me your fiddle” he asked. ‘Sure go ahead and take a look” I said. He went and picked it up from the stand I keep it on. Thirty seconds later it’s back where he picked it up from but he had decided to change the tuning from what I had. He never played it. He said it’s a nice fiddle. I said I like it too. More small talk then he left. That’s it.



Not a complicated social interaction to my way of thinking. I was not looking for confirmation, praise, playing advice, condemnation, goal advice, how to benefit, lessons, assistance, or really anything. Just me being friendly with a neighbor and letting him handle my personal violin because I know from a mutual friend that he plays mandolin and guitar, and has for many years, in a band and felt he could be trusted to handle it carefully. He did exactly that, handled it with with care, but he did change the tuning by turning the pegs which I still think was very odd.



He is still a really nice guy and I hope to be playing and jamming along with him this summer. I’ll just keep an eye on my fiddle and store it in its case when he is around. Learned my lesson without any harm done which is a good thing.


Edited by - Snafu on 04/20/2021 11:11:59

TuneWeaver - Posted - 04/20/2021:  11:40:31


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

Hi Alaska,





''As far as what happened on your porch, seems to be about different things. To be honest I didn't really grasp what you were doing, process, communicated, said and not said, implied. Not sure what your goals are or what were you expecting to benefit? Simply why you wanted that specific individual to "look" at your fiddle?



Was your goal for admiration, praise, feedback, opinion?" 



I appreciate your well intended thoughts and questions but it kind of leaves me speechless on how to reply. You have analyzed this for my intentions and are looking for a deeper meaning for this interaction way beyond what it was: A new acquaintance walked by my house then up on my front porch as I was outside playing. I put the fiddle down and he sat down. I offered him a beer. Small talk for 5 minutes. He said I heard your playing and it sounded good. I said thanks. ‘Do you mind showing me your fiddle” he asked. ‘Sure go ahead and take a look” I said. He went and picked it up from the stand I keep it on. Thirty seconds later it’s back where he picked it up from but he had decided to change the tuning from what I had. He never played it. He said it’s a nice fiddle. I said I like it too. More small talk then he left. That’s it.



Not a complicated social interaction to my way of thinking. I was not looking for confirmation, praise, playing advice, condemnation, goal advice, how to benefit, lessons, assistance, or really anything. Just me being friendly with a neighbor and letting him handle my personal violin because I know from a mutual friend that he plays mandolin and guitar, and has for many years, in a band and felt he could be trusted to handle it carefully. He did exactly that, handled it with with care, but he did change the tuning by turning the pegs which I still think was very odd.



He is still a really nice guy and I hope to be playing and jamming along with him this summer. I’ll just keep an eye on my fiddle and store it in its case when he is around. Learned my lesson without any harm done which is a good thing.






I'm probably wrong but I viewed Alaska's comments a more of a General overview  of possibilities.. You obviously have a very Specific case with that guy, and I agree that he was out of line  . Seems that Generalities and Specifics don't usually mix well in a conversation.. For every generality, there is a Specific case that seems to counter the generality, and for every Specific there seems to be a generality  that counters the specific.. Yikes.. laugh



 

bwright - Posted - 04/23/2021:  22:38:16


Nope, even when I played with friends and we would let each other play the others guitar, we always asked if we could tune it, even if it was out of tune. I don't know of anyone who would be ok with someone else tuning or changing the tuning of their instrument without asking first.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/24/2021:  08:19:12


quote:

Originally posted by bwright

I don't know of anyone who would be ok with someone else tuning or changing the tuning of their instrument without asking first.






I am perfectly happy to let a player retune any of my violins. I only hand instruments that belong to me over players if I trust them. If they broke strings, I might ask that they reimburse me.



I can easily tune a violin in a matter of seconds, so retuning doesn't scare me. Any accomplished player knows that instruments have to be retuned frequently with normal playing anyway. 

Snafu - Posted - 04/24/2021:  09:38:35


Rich,

I get your point and agree if the fiddle had been sitting around a showroom store or was just taken from its case. This is different in my opinion. I was actively playing it when he walked onto the porch and sat down. I wasn’t offering it to him to play it or consider buying it. I put it down on the stand to say a few friendly words and go get a couple of beers.

It’s like you get a new car and you let a friend sit in it but not drive it, and while sitting there they change the radio preset stations or move all the mirrors to settings they like. Then they get out and say nice car. Who does that?

Also it’s presumptive to assume that retuning is a trivial thing. I guess I’m still in the novice stage and use a violin tuner to help me tune to perfect fifths. I don’t apologize for that shortcoming, working on it but not there yet.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/24/2021:  13:51:14


I can tune my own instruments when they go out, or if somebody else tuned them without my permission...but that's not really the issue I'm seeing here... it just would aggravate me if somebody had the audacity to do such a thing. I mean, what if they got onto your computer and set all the settings different? Or set your ringtones different on your phone? What if you were eating a sandwich, they took it and put pickles on it and gave it back to you? I mean...that's just not respectful. People just shouldn't mess with a person's stuff, unless the person asked them for help or gave them permission.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 04/24/2021:  14:26:48


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I can tune my own instruments when they go out, or if somebody else tuned them without my permission...but that's not really the issue I'm seeing here... it just would aggravate me if somebody had the audacity to do such a thing. I mean, what if they got onto your computer and set all the settings different? Or set your ringtones different on your phone? What if you were eating a sandwich, they took it and put pickles on it and gave it back to you? I mean...that's just not respectful. People just shouldn't mess with a person's stuff, unless the person asked them for help or gave them permission.






Sandwich?  Did you say Sandwich? What kind of sandwich??laugh (sorry, almost suppertime)

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