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Starting out with my Grandads fiddle

Posted by stevebigel on Monday, February 17, 2020

Well here goes.

I inherited my Grandad’s fiddle when he passed away about thirty years ago and she has been languishing in her case under my bed ever since, but recently I have been feeling the urge to learn to play, or at least scratch a tune out of the old girl!

i am a big fan of Country Rock and love bands like Zac Brown and Old Dominion to name but a few and always listen to the wonderful fiddle licks with wonder, so this January I took my fiddle to a guitar shop I know and had her refurbished. New pegs, strings, bridge, fine tuners and a new bow, along with a damn good nourishing polish, something that has seemed to bring her back to life.

I have joined this site with a view to beginning to understand just how approach fiddle playing, from under standing the instrument ( I can’t  even tune her at the moment) to beginning to play tunes that don’t sound like I am slowly killing cats!

I’ll keep you all posted with my progress, thanks for havin me!

Steve the big El



3 comments on “Starting out with my Grandads fiddle”

mackeagan Says:
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 @6:33:58 PM

Welcome to the Hangout. One place to start is getting a tuner app for your phone(or get a clip-on tuner such as D'Addario), and learning to work friction pegs to get the old fiddle in tune. Use the pegs to get the strings into the general vicinity of the notes, then screw the fine tuner screws (aka "string adjusters") in or out to sharpen or flatten the pitch. Draw the bow smoothly/slowly across each string to produce a consistent note as you tune. Probably the strings may take a day or two to settle, so you'll have plenty of tuning practice. Next step, go for easy scales in G, D, and A. If you get bored, try to fake easy tunes like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. If you have a good ear, maybe try Tennessee Waltz, Amazing grace, or anything you can hum. Bob Wills tunes like Ida Red, Dance All Night, anything. Just don't expect it to happen overnight, unless you're one of those lucky people that has "the knack". If you want to go whole hog, get a beginners book like Essential Elements for Violin, which breaks down reading music (specifically as it applies to the violin) and start to work. Have fun!

rosinhead Says:
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 @5:34:31 AM

Welcome, Steve. As mentioned in the previous comment tuning is important. You should make sure the instrument is in tune before playing each time and this is because getting your notes correct is difficult enough without frets...and you want to learn the correct location of the notes. Taking a few lessons from someone versed in the style of music you wish to play would also be an excellent choice. I didn't go this route and used youtube videos and such to make my way, but I feel I could have progressed faster if I would have had a teacher. I played other instruments before the fiddle and it by far is the toughest to learn. If you play daily and keep at it you will learn though. Just keep in mind that it takes most people three to five years of practice to get to a point where you can really play. Another thing I would like to mention is that a good bow is just as important. The bow with the fiddle may already be a great bow, but you may want to check with a luthier to see if it needs re-haired after sitting in a case that long.
The fiddle is a very rewarding instrument to learn to play. Just realize it will take time and some discipline (regular practice) and you will get there.

martynspeck Says:
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 @7:30:55 AM

Sweet. Have fun. My fiddle was my Great Grandfather's.

There's nothing quite like playing on the family heirloom.

And don't forget, it's playing.

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