Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Fiddle Lovers Online

Late Night Experimentation- OBS Double Shuffle and Rosin Blending!

Posted by fiddlepogo on Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I have always been something of a night owl.During my intense electrical guitar phase (before getting back into fiddle).I alway did my wiring modifications and pickup swaps on my Stratocasters late at night.  I seem to be more adventurous then for some reason, and do dangerous things like handling hot soldering irons and molten rosin on a stovetop!

Anyway, last night I was feeling adventurous about FIDDLE.

Two ideas have been lingering in my mind for a long time.

1. Finally Learn Orange Blossom Special- 36 years after first starting fiddle!

2. Blend a half melted cake of Artcraft Dark and a block of no-name rosin that came in a wood tray and a white box with one of my fiddles. It seemed like decent rosin, but was so hard as to be difficult to use.

For some reason, well maybe because I've been listening to it a lot, the fiddle tune section popped into my head, and I realized, if I play it MY WAY which is Old Timey and bouncy, I like it- a lot! So I played that a while.  But I needed to find instruction on how to play the double shuffle section.

Then I did a search on Orange Blossom Special sheet music and .abc. Well, the tune apparently isn't found in ABC collections, but I found a thread on the Fiddle Forum with a suggestion of how to play it- but it was MISSING the last BEAT!

But I started in on it anyway.

(CAUTION: HEAD HURT ALERT! as per bj's opinion!)

It went:

Low High Low Low/ High Low Low High/Low Low High Low/ Low High Low ?

Then, I looked on my computer for "Orange Blossom" special, and discovered I had squirrelled away a GIF of the sheet music- but the double shuffle section looked quite different from what I'd found on the Fiddle Forum. it went:

Low Low High Low/ Low High Low Low/ High Low Low High/Low Low High Low/

Then I found an ABC file of Double Shuffle, and it had 5 strokes in the first measure! Gotta be wrong. But taking the first stroke off, it matched the first one I found, and it went:

Low High Low Low/ High Low Low High/Low Low High Low/ Low High Low High.

So I practiced that for a while.  I also experimented with substituting a hemiola passage similar to "Hell Amongst the Yearlings" for the Double Shuffles.

One of my blocks against OBS has been this:

1. The double shuffle passage is hard

2. I don't like the sound of the way most fiddlers play it! (it sounds too wild, scratchy, and sloppy, and that just doesn't do it for me)

3. If it's hard and I don't like how it sounds, why bother?

So I'm thinking if I play OBS my way, I'm going to do that passage cleaner and maybe make it even more melodic, somehow. Also, in the back of my mind was a statement Kenny Hall made about 1975: "I'd play Orange Blossom Special if I could find an Old Time version!"  So I think what I may be up to is crafting an Old Time version of OBS!  I also think I'm going to figure out the song part, since I am a singer, and like that part really well.  I figure that since everybody feels a license to do all kinds of weird things to OBS, I have a license to make it more Old Timey, which may be the weirdest thing of all!  And I think I'll skip the sideways bow scraping... yuck!


Okay, I got tired of Double Shuffle attempts,  and decided to blend the rosins. I had read something about doing it in a double boiler, which I don't have, or a toaster oven, which I don't have either.  I settled on putting the rosin in a Pyrex measuring cup in a pan of boiling water. It took a while and I had to chip and dig the rosin out of the wood tray, but I got it melted, and mixed it with a butter knife. I was going to pour in back into the wood tray, but I realized that the consistency was more like lava or taffy, not really a liquid.  So I put some aluminum foil in a metal 1/3 cup measuring cup, and poured and scraped the rosin in. While it was still soft, I squeezed the sides together so it's almost peanut shaped for a grip, and I also left some of the aluminum around it, to protect it from finger grease.  I put it in the fridge for a couple minutes to cool. It didn't feel that spectacular when I tried it, but today I am rather liking it- it's grippy like the Artcraft Dark, but maybe not quite as much.

Works great on my light bow that always seems to need more traction.

Now I just have to get the rosin residue off of the Pyrex cup measure and knife- I think boiling hot water in it will do the trick- I noticed when I dropped some chunks of rosin in the water accidentally that melted rosin floats on water like oil.

Also today I work some more on the Double Shuffle. I'm going with:

Low Low High Low/ Low High Low Low/ High Low Low High/Low Low High Low/

for now, but it seems some people chop off the first group, start with the second group, than add a Low High Low High group at the end.

For now I'm going to get the pattern working cleanly on two strings, and then after that's second nature, learn to do it between the double stops.




3 comments on “Late Night Experimentation- OBS Double Shuffle and Rosin Blending!”

bj Says:
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @5:56:28 PM

LOL! This article should have had "Head Hurt Alert!" in the title!

It'll be interesting to see how you do with OBS.

OTJunky Says:
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 @6:28:05 PM

Yeah - good luck with that double shuffle and keep us posted.

I've been working on the double shuffle ever since last November's Fiddle Hell where Dave Reiner ripped off a fine version of "Back Up and Push" at the request of a Bluegrass banjo player who'd somehow penetrated the hotel's defenses - probably bribed the bartender with something.

Anyhow after about 11 months at it, I still can't do it smoothly at speed - though I do keep getting better at it and think it'll come one day.

But more that one person's remarked that it only took them a month or two to master it. So, I hope you keep at it so we can compare notes. Continually trying to do it has certainly improved my wrist action though so I suppose there's some good it it.

If you do get it in a couple of months, maybe you can explain what I'm doing wrong - other than just not practicing enough.


Susanne Says:
Friday, October 17, 2008 @3:15:53 PM

Oh! You're going to learn OBS!! Cool cool cool! It's a cool tune, even if I know it is the ppelbo gnglt of the states. (the tune that every fiddler has to know and that every fiddler hates to play)
Thanks for stopping by. I'm amazed that my hangout friends always reply to my blog. Is it possible to subscribe or something? I haven't posted anything for months and I get comments as soon as I do!! Anyway regarding that "the grass is greener on the other side" I think it was more a matter of "the great need to do something else for a while". It was good, because I've always wanted to go back to Ireland, and now definitely I don't (more than for holidays) :):)

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.

More posts from fiddlepogo

Newest Posts

More >  

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!