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


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/55087/2

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groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/24/2021:  18:13:32


Lol...bad example when it's so close to eatin' time...you want pickles on that sandwich, Lee????

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/24/2021:  18:30:12


I can understand if you’re still learning to tune that it might be frustrating to have someone else change the tuning after you’ve spent time to get it the way you want it. That’s a reason to avoid handing it over to someone else, though.

The issue is that it’s not reasonable to expect someone to play a violin without checking the tuning first. A violin has to be in tune to be played, so it’s necessary to tune, and a player should never assume a violin to be in tune when picking it up.

When you get into a car, you adjust the seat, the mirrors,
and the steering wheel so that it’s ready to drive, and it’s reasonable to also adjust the air and the radio. Every time I take my car in to a service station, I get it back with all those things changed. If I loaned a car to someone, I would want them to adjust things to be comfortable for them so they’d be safer drivers. I do try to put things back to the way I left them when I borrow a car, but I don’t expect others to do it.

As a luthier, you learn very quickly that some tools can be lent to co-workers, but some should never be handed over, no matter how much you trust them.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/24/2021:  20:31:51


Well one might expect a luthier to mess with it if s/he is working on it...I don't know, though...I just find the idea rude. People have done stuff like that to me at jams and it just ruins all the fun...seems rude to just grab up somebody's instrument and then start fiddling around with it unless you ask them if it's ok to do this and that first. Otherwise, it just seems like something you shouldn't do.  I'll just say it's something i wouldn't do and something I don't like for anyone to do to me.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 04/24/2021 20:33:06

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/25/2021:  09:11:52


Trouble is, we're all talking about different things. I think everyone agrees that the behaviour as described in the OP was out of line - note: "as described". After that, people talk about offering their fiddle to a respected friend who tweaks the tuning, and others respond with a stranger snatching their fiddle and messing it up. And vice versa. Completely different situations.

But I do wonder if some people have more ego invested in their tuning or if they are just more concerned about the fragility of their instruments than others? Believe it or not, I don't mean that as a jab, I am genuinely curious about the defensiveness about tuning. I just figure if I've been playing my instrument for a couple of hours, it's quite possible that's it's gradually gone a shade out of tune without my being aware, and a pair of fresh ears will hear it ... ?

DougD - Posted - 04/25/2021:  09:33:04


I've also noticed that some posters who seem most offended and defensive about others handling their instruments are people who don't actually play with others very often, so its not likely to happen anyway. Maybe the two are related?
As you said, I think everyone agrees that this guy's behavior was odd, to say the least. I'm less astonished or offended than some, but in fact people don't often ask to play my instruments, and I've rarely needed or wanted to play somone else's fiddle. Sitting around talking about tunes, someone might hand me their instrument to demonstrate something (Like, "see, this tune is easier in C than D") and in jam sessions or performance situations sometimes it makes sense to trade or share. At the 2003 Smithsonian festival, Bob Carlin and I were accompanying Joe Thompson and usually Bob played banjo and I played guitar, but there was one tune that Bob thought needed him on guitar, so we swapped. No big deal.

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/25/2021:  09:34:37


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

Trouble is, we're all talking about different things. I think everyone agrees that the behaviour as described in the OP was out of line - note: "as described". After that, people talk about offering their fiddle to a respected friend who tweaks the tuning, and others respond with a stranger snatching their fiddle and messing it up. And vice versa. Completely different situations.



But I do wonder if some people have more ego invested in their tuning or if they are just more concerned about the fragility of their instruments than others? Believe it or not, I don't mean that as a jab, I am genuinely curious about the defensiveness about tuning. I just figure if I've been playing my instrument for a couple of hours, it's quite possible that's it's gradually gone a shade out of tune without my being aware, and a pair of fresh ears will hear it ... ?






Agreed. I'm not sure the op was about this, but if someone wants to play my instrument and they are any kind of decent, I'd at least expect them to check the tuning before playing. 


Edited by - ChickenMan on 04/25/2021 09:35:07

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/25/2021:  10:48:08


Ah, come on...you guys are just too nice...lol. Givin' everybody a break like that...lol.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 04/25/2021 10:48:26

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 04/25/2021:  13:59:43


I totally love playing other people's fiddles. If it sounds good under another person's chin I will politely ask if I can try it. I will never do anything like re-tune standard to cross, but if the fiddle has fine tuners I might twist them a little. I just want to increase my knowledge and experience when it comes to what different axes deliver. Will I fall in love? Will I like the chin rest? Will I tell the other person that he/she makes it sound better than I ever could? I'm also almost completely open to letting another player try my fiddle. What does my fiddle sound like from several feet away?

But yeah, I've found fiddlers to be amazingly possessive with their instruments. It's got to be at least partly because you put your mouth and nose right up against 'em. Even before Covid hit, it's generally not good to take chances with germs. By comparison, guitar players seem mellow & easy.

doryman - Posted - 04/25/2021:  17:22:47


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

I totally love playing other people's fiddles. If it sounds good under another person's chin I will politely ask if I can try it. I will never do anything like re-tune standard to cross, but if the fiddle has fine tuners I might twist them a little. I just want to increase my knowledge and experience when it comes to what different axes deliver. Will I fall in love? Will I like the chin rest? Will I tell the other person that he/she makes it sound better than I ever could? I'm also almost completely open to letting another player try my fiddle. What does my fiddle sound like from several feet away?



But yeah, I've found fiddlers to be amazingly possessive with their instruments. It's got to be at least partly because you put your mouth and nose right up against 'em. Even before Covid hit, it's generally not good to take chances with germs. By comparison, guitar players seem mellow & easy.






I always keep a few harmonicas in my case for when an especially bluesy number comes up.  I love to play harp, but I'm definitely in the "less is more" camp, so they mostly stay in my case.*  I've had people, strangers,  see the harps in my case and ask if they could use one to join the jam.  H E to the double L, no!



* Except for a few, rare occasions when I've had one too many beers, usually associated with late-night festival jamming.  

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/26/2021:  04:34:44


Eeeyw, I definitely wouldn't share a harmonica.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/26/2021:  04:47:07


Aw, come on...it's probably just dog spit.

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/26/2021:  07:41:22


Funny how you change - you meaning me .... When I was a teenager, it was still common to pass harmonicas back and forth, drink from the same bottle, etc. Seems to me it was the AIDS crisis that changed all that - people meaning me started getting pretty finicky about 'sharing'. Don't know if we'll ever get back to 'normal' interactions once this dampenic moves on ....

doryman - Posted - 04/26/2021:  08:22:49


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

Funny how you change - you meaning me .... When I was a teenager, it was still common to pass harmonicas back and forth, drink from the same bottle, etc. Seems to me it was the AIDS crisis that changed all that - people meaning me started getting pretty finicky about 'sharing'. Don't know if we'll ever get back to 'normal' interactions once this dampenic moves on ....






I recall doing the same back in the day.  It was probably never a great idea in the first place!  

brya31 - Posted - 04/26/2021:  08:47:11



I think I would have flipped my lid unless he took it and wowed me with a tune 






 

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/26/2021:  08:54:43


Generally, I believe the crowd that doesn't "believe in" viruses is happier, at least happy-go-luckier, than the crowd that knows anything at all about them...even just knowing a little bitty bit is enough to ruin your day...lol.

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/26/2021:  09:29:28


Happier? They're the ones that are seething with anger around here!

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/27/2021:  04:14:05


Oh yeah...you're right. They might be happier to think there's no bad microbes, but they seem pretty ticked off about everything else...lol.

old cowboy - Posted - 04/27/2021:  05:00:05


I can still remember the water bucket sitting on the kitchen counter with the tin dipper hanging on the side that everybody drank from!

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/27/2021:  08:18:18


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Generally, I believe the crowd that doesn't "believe in" viruses is happier, at least happy-go-luckier, than the crowd that knows anything at all about them...even just knowing a little bitty bit is enough to ruin your day...lol.






You know the saying - ignorance is bliss.



But willful ignorance is just plain foolish. 


Edited by - ChickenMan on 04/27/2021 08:18:56

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/27/2021:  08:36:11


"I can still remember the water bucket sitting on the kitchen counter with the tin dipper hanging on the side that everybody drank from!"

One of the early 20th century public health steps was to have kids in schools assigned individual cups to dip into the water bucket.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/27/2021:  08:45:51


As long as they stop after the first cup of water...lol.

doryman - Posted - 04/27/2021:  12:59:28


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

"I can still remember the water bucket sitting on the kitchen counter with the tin dipper hanging on the side that everybody drank from!"



One of the early 20th century public health steps was to have kids in schools assigned individual cups to dip into the water bucket.






The quickest way to change the average life expectancy in any given country from 45 to 75 is to provide access to clean drinking water. 

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/27/2021:  14:30:55


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

Trouble is, we're all talking about different things. I think everyone agrees that the behaviour as described in the OP was out of line - note: "as described". After that, people talk about offering their fiddle to a respected friend who tweaks the tuning, and others respond with a stranger snatching their fiddle and messing it up. And vice versa. Completely different situations.

 






I agree folks talking about different things.



My response (perhaps others), wasn't trying to do investigation, blame, jury, whether right/wrong.  Rather it was focused more about (given you agreed to hand the person the instrument in the first place) - if any of what happened was within the range of unexpected; might anticipate how another might interpret situation, implicit permission; what they might do. Based on my personal experience of diversity; as a generality, it wouldn't have been shocking, nor perhaps seem particularly unusual... I've seen similar many, many times and learned to assess and anticipate. As well, in general probably wouldn't have bothered me (but depends on specific).



My guess is Rich's experience similarly has learned to anticipate the diversity and range of what one might expect when handing over an instrument; and who; as such might see it in the range of fairly normal; or at least not unexpected. As well that aspects more or less in his control, so generally not problematic for him?



There is an aspect of friend/stranger (which has wide in between), but more in learning to size up the person, vetting, might have different levels of caution based on value; or environment. Perhaps different topic.



Of course those with more limited experience of diversity, reading people, communication, assumptions based on limited experience; less defined boundaries/lines or goals; understandably might be shocked at what occurs sometimes.



Just to be clear, not defining any universal rule; or what another individual is okay with or not. (if that was the OP question).  Boils down to it's your instrument, you set your boundaries, lines, permissions, limits; decide reason to who, what, when. Up to you how to communicate. As well as it's your decision how to react. 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/27/2021 14:36:09

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/27/2021:  15:09:43


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch



But I do wonder if some people have more ego invested in their tuning or if they are just more concerned about the fragility of their instruments than others?






More than damage or their actual tuning issue... might have to do with issues of social interactions; involving their ideas of rules, etiquette and permissions; and that might include both other folks egos, and protecting the fragility of their ego; and sense of control; perhaps intimidation. This applies to a lot of jam interactions other than tuning.



To me, these encounters are often simply about difference of how 2 people read assess and interpret situation, each other and boundaries; come from different backgrounds, perspectives, comfort zones; includes assumptions, implicit, tacit communication. Ambiguity is often factor.



------



FWIW - The so deemed offender had his reason why asked, what his goals were; what he thought that meant, boundaries; and in his assessment of the situation and other person, their boundaries; his previous experiences, community; he simply probably "thought" his actions would be no problem for the other person. I don't know him or variables, so can't answer what or why those were; but can think of a lot of possibilities. Not saying that one has to agree with or oblige.



I mentioned in previous post, the giver had different assessment, reason or goal in handing the instrument over. Though that there often is a lot of ambiguity, vagueness, assumptions and implicit goes on, including words tacit cues that are not exactly clear, might give encouragement of approval to the other to misunderstand. Beware of how others might interpret words and signs, and the old adage "give em an inch"... might give imply expanded permissions.



IMO, these are just common misreads, "faux pas" mistakes, that most everyone has been guilty of at some point. Dealt with forgive and forget, or communication that asserts your boundaries or comfort level.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/27/2021 15:21:44

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/27/2021:  21:53:31


Well, yeah - without having been there, it's hard to draw conclusions .....

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/28/2021:  05:11:33


I probably wouldn't go back to a jam where people did that. Guess what? I haven't been back to any jams around here...lol. Well they did everything BUT tune my instruments...like keep telling me I play everything wrong and then making me repeat musical passages after they show me right...ughhh...I'm sorry, that ain't fun. I think it made me feel as bad as if they had tuned my instruments.

old cowboy - Posted - 04/28/2021:  12:05:10


Gee Peggy I didn't know there was a wrong way to play a tune! There's only my way, your way, and their way! When I go to learn a tune I find a version I like and then I start trying to copy it until it sounds the way I like it!

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/28/2021:  13:28:03


Me too...can't play it wrong if it's truly a folk music type thing.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/29/2021:  12:34:51


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I probably wouldn't go back to a jam where people did that. Guess what? I haven't been back to any jams around here...lol. Well they did everything BUT tune my instruments...like keep telling me I play everything wrong and then making me repeat musical passages after they show me right...ughhh...I'm sorry, that ain't fun. I think it made me feel as bad as if they had tuned my instruments.






There are different types of jams with different ideas of jamming, different goals. As such different expectations... potential misunderstandings. Sometimes it's not necessarily about "they" did anything wrong... it's just different and perhaps not a good match.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/29/2021:  12:36:48


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

Gee Peggy I didn't know there was a wrong way to play a tune! There's only my way, your way, and their way! When I go to learn a tune I find a version I like and then I start trying to copy it until it sounds the way I like it!






There can be more than one "right" way to play a tune... nonetheless there are definitely wrong ways to play a tune in a jam. cheeky



Left out  ways folks can play tunes. Rather the competitive me vs you/them; there is "us" or "we"...  about consensus, being on same page, spirit of collaborative cooperation... sometimes involves communicating, negotiating, adapting. 



There can also be a aspect of community (both geographic and non-geographic).

 

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/29/2021:  12:40:32


Sounds pretty complicated. I miss the old days in Southeastern Ky when anybody who wanted jumped in at a potluck or whatever gathering among neighbors and friends...just played...sometimes it sounded good/sometimes it sounded awful...but we didn't care, because it was just fun and we laughed and enjoyed playing music together. It used to be that simple.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/30/2021:  01:20:53


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Sounds pretty complicated. I miss the old days in Southeastern Ky when anybody who wanted jumped in at a potluck or whatever gathering among neighbors and friends...just played...sometimes it sounded good/sometimes it sounded awful...but we didn't care, because it was just fun and we laughed and enjoyed playing music together. It used to be that simple.






Not sure what meant by complicated?



At least the jams I've been involved with haven't found overly complicated... mostly just follows like other community based social interactions of  neighbors, friends, acquaintances. Still is that simple.



Most of my experiences is with a goal of playing music "with" each other, just uses simple common sense guidelines. Overall found them wonderful experiences, very fun and enjoyable.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/30/2021 01:22:51

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/30/2021:  04:52:49


That's how ours were back in SE KY...up here in the urban areas it's all formal and specified and crowded ... and just weird. No fun. None of them appear to have a clue as to what carefree playing and relaxing and laughing with neighbors is all about. Lots of rules and regulations and people worrying about all that. Not fun.

Cyndy - Posted - 04/30/2021:  13:19:17


I wouldn't mind if someone tweaked tuning with the fine tuners before trying out my fiddle, but nothing more than that.

Years ago, I asked someone to set up a low-budget fiddle and the bridge ended up in a non-standard place as a way of getting the most out of it. I seem to remember a "helpful" soul picking up the fiddle and moving it back into position for me, and I seem to remember I was kind of furious, but I'm pretty sure I didn't say much. Apparently, I've forgotten the details, which is good! :)

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