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The latest fiddley this and that...

Posted by fiddlepogo on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I had experimented with adding weight in different ways- the latest way is using a twist tie around the frog!

I figure it's the ultimate in quick removability, plus they really add very little weight, and distributing the weight around the frog like that seems to act differently than adding it all at one point.

Strangely, all three of my bows seem to have benefitted from it equally well- and I've taken all the adhesive copper dots off now.

One thing that helps is that all 3 bows seem to have a similar balance point now, so it's easier to switch from one to the other.

Each seems to have a different purpose-

Brazilwood bow for a big sound

K. Holtz FG for jamming- not as loud, not as heavy (don't tire as quickly) but feels really good for my "normal" bowing- it also makes a good "warm up" bow before switching to the Brazilwood.

Glasser- (not the cheapest one with the plastic frog and the rubber grip, the next one up)  This seems to work really well on "balanced" bowings like Nashville Shuffle and Offset Nashville.

The experimental rosin mixture is not THAT spectacular- I don't like it as well as the Kaplan Premium Light- but it's kind of nice mixed WITH it!

The economic downturn seems to be affecting busking-  I made less Saturday at the Farmer's Market than I had in a LONG time.

I played at a neighbor's birthday party Sunday night, and it went well,and I had fun!

I just took delivery on a Heil PR-35 microphone.  It has a wider pickup pattern which should be good for both my fiddle and voice.  Since I sing with my fiddle, I really didn't want to do the condensor mic mounted on the tailpiece routine, and I didn't want to buy separate mics for both voice and fiddle either.

Here's hoping it works out- I'll let you know...

I'm actually playing a lot of electric guitar lately, too.  Something about fall seems to make me feel bluesy!

10 comments on “The latest fiddley this and that...”

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 @6:40:01 PM

Why an electric when you too can be an acoustic music snob? When I got rid of my two electric guitars and my electric bass, I had the most exhilarating feeling of smugness. It was comparable to the rush I get when I finally can play a tune really well.

bj Says:
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @5:37:57 AM

I now have a brazilwood bow as well as the Tabary Prism CF, and I've been surprised at the differences between them. The CF is definitely the faster bow in every way, both in speed of play and response, and the brazilwood feels like trying to bow with a baseball bat in comparison. I can pull good tone with either. But the warmth of the tone and the resonance of the sound with the brazilwood bow is very nice, though it seems to bubble out a millisecond slower with each note, compared to the CF, which takes some getting used to. So I concur with your comments about the bigness of the sound with a wood bow (or at least the right wood bow!) I'm trying to get more used to playing with it. And I hope I find a lighter wood bow that pulls similar tone and has a similar balance point, but gives me at least a bit of the speed that the CF does.

I'm blessed in that both my current bows are balanced very close to the same, despite the weight difference. I choke up just a very slight bit on the wood bow to compensate for the slight difference and the heaviness. Which I guess has some analogy to your weight experiments.

I've been happy with the Andrea Paganini rosin, though I do notice I have to rosin a lot more often since the heat came on in the house. I suspect it's fiddling off faster now that it's drier in here. I was considering whether to try a different rosin for the winter. Why is it we're always looking for excuses to waste dough on fiddle stuff? ;-) Well, I'm not as bad as you. I'm a smug green acoustic snob, like FiddlerFaddler.

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @11:28:11 AM

Heh, heh... yeah, I know I'm leaving myself WIDE open even mentioning
electric guitar on a site such as this, but
A. it's the truth
B. it's good music if you keep the volume down
C. the low wattage amps probably don't use as much juice
as a computer (I use 5 and 15 watt amps).
If we use computers etc, and electric P.A. systems, what's the diff?
D. Acoustic snobbery? Been there, done that- back in college daze.
I'm gettin' too old to compartmentalize myself artificially.
Besides- (bj) Steve plays in a band with an ELECTRIC GUITAR!!! ;^)
I like what I like.
E. If you look carefully, some of the other good fiddlers play blues too.
Look and the current video by David Bragger- that amp on the left behind him... and isn't that a Fender Telecaster headstock I see?
I think on his website he flatout says he plays blues.
Of course, he's a fellow Californian- maybe it's a California thing! ;^D

bj Says:
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @5:49:33 PM

LOL! Yeah, Steve's amplified himself, but all his instruments are acoustic (and he's totally wireless and has a habit of walking out into the audience to play with the kids, literally and musically.) Funny, he just made some dough with some Japanese recording company buying rights to re-record one of his songs from his heavy metal punk attitude days.

Personally I've never cared for any of the electric trappings. It isn't really snobbishness, just strong preference.

I don't play amplified anymore, unless it's by accident or spur of the moment invitation. Like at the Quiet Valley Harvest Festival, when the bluegrass guys invited me onstage to play with them.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @9:54:34 PM

Hey, Michael. I used to play a lot of electric guitar, but my ears started ringing too much. I played with a fine jazz rock group centered around this awesome sax player--I'd put harmonies to his sax lines--but finally I had to quit. Yet I've transferred much of that guitar sensibility to my fiddle, for better or worse. Yet you like the blues? I grew up hearing almost nothing but the blues, everywhere and at every jam session we'd have, yet it's the other stuff which grabs me, the folk, classical, bluegrass, Irish, etc. Interesting. But you've found old time to your liking too. Interesting, because all of my old "mates" who always--I mean always--played the blues, they still play the blues. No old timey for them.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Friday, October 31, 2008 @7:48:24 PM

Hey, I was just a-funnin' with you, Michael. But I really do feel smug. Really! It comes natural for a Midwesterner, I suppose.

I think that the clincher for me is beauty of tone. I know that electric instruments can be made to sound interesting (yes, I did some of that in my college days), but real, inherent beauty of tone is acoustic to the bone. I offer my electric cello as an example (yes, I really have one - it makes for a great practice instrument after everyone else has gone to sleep). I originally purchased it as a travel instrument (pre-9/11), and while it does not sound bad, it completely lacks a beautiful tone. Therefore, I would never play it in public, however...

I discovered an interesting use for my electric cello: if I remove the highest string (an A), move the lowest three strings up one, and add the heaviest gauge possible low string tuned down a fifth, I have a bass instrument that goes down to a low F, just a half step above the low E of a double bass. If in the studio I hide the electric cello behind my acoustic one, they sound like a string orchestra - no kidding! That taught me that it is the basses that makes a string orchestra sound like what it is, instead of sounding like a string quartet or ensemble. Of course I now do own a double bass. So now I pine for the ability to do multi-track recording (I have only done multi-track recording in my friend's home studio).

Boy have I rambled far afield. I had better quit while I'm behind.

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, November 1, 2008 @10:03:27 AM


Interesting bit about the basses in the orchestra!

As far as go, I agree with you about electric vs. acoustic instruments.
But there are some exceptions.
I really like some electric organ and electric piano sounds-
Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes, mostly.
But I especially like electric guitar.
I like acoustic guitar okay, but for some reason it doesn't thrill me.
A steel string is too edgy and too prone to string noise,
and a nylon string is the opposite- too muted and not enough
Electric guitar, though has such a shapeable, customizable sound
that if you know how to do it, you can really get some wonderful sounds. One of my favorites is the Stratocaster neck pickup sound through a tube amp- most Strats need a little customizing to get it how I like it. My Strat has slightly hotter pickups than normal, a different capacitor, and a custom trem block, and I love how it sounds... then I swapped out the tubes in my Fender Pro Junior to
ones I really like... and it really gets this fat throbby tone on the neck pickup- however, it has more snap and bite than a humbucker guitar on the neck pickup. The Strat blend pickups sounds are also a unique sound that is very versatile. All in all, a Stratocaster's sounds are reminiscent to me of a clawhammer banjo, but more versatile.
Also, an amp is half of an electric guitar's sound, and you can make or break the sound with the amp choice. One unusual thing I did once was to try my Strats through an acoustic guitar amp-
it doesn't work with ALL acoustic guitar amps, but with one (I wish I had written down which one!), it sounded excellent, a really unique guitar sound combining some of the best of acoustic and electric guitar, possibly suitable for jazz, but definitely not the traditional jazz guitar sound of a neck humbucker into a clean electric guitar amp.

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, November 1, 2008 @10:12:41 AM

Oh yeah- I forgot...
I admit freely that electric guitar is similar to fiddle in that both, in the wrong hands, are capable of some of the ugliest noises known to man!

Also, I think my taste in acoustic instruments has shaped my taste in electric guitar sounds- when I use overdrive, I prefer a smoother violin-like sound to the hard-edged metallic distortion most rockers favor, and like I said, the clean sounds are reminiscent of clawhammer banjo.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Saturday, November 1, 2008 @11:34:11 AM

In acoustic instruments I prefer the more mellow sound of nylon strings to the edgy sounds of steel. This is true of both guitars and banjos. It wasn't until last year that I finally heard steel-string guitars that sound really nice on the bottom end. Of course I can't afford to buy one at this time! Maybe in a few years.

Back to the subject of bows: last month I tried a Coda bow that someone new to a jam I attend regularly brought with her. I really liked it. I like a really nice wooden bow as much as anyone else, but I have been tremendously pleased with the fiberglass and carbon fiber ones that I have tried. I like how the synthetic ones don't warp to one side or the other. When next I buy a bow of any kind it will likely be carbon fiber or fiberglass, depending on how much cash I'll have on hand.

ladymuse Says:
Saturday, November 15, 2008 @2:55:22 PM

Me, I am prefering my deering goodtime. I am so rabidly addicted to clawhammer - When I was a kid, I was DO against electric instruments - (like spawn of the devil) Rock was fine on electric - but
any "real" instrument - (fiddle, mando, etc) HAD to be acoustic or I wouldn't play with it. LOL! (yeah, I was 13ish)

Interesting comment about the basses, Mike and Mike, but What would we not expect when you got the whole overtone scale ringing!
Sorry to hear the busking was down - but cheer up - the holidays are coming, and when the economy continues strangled - people will begin to realize by taking a walk to get their minds off things throwing a dollar or what all for sweet music and a simpler time remembered, might work to your benefit!

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