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First jam on the foddle

Posted by FiddlerFaddler on Monday, February 2, 2009

Because I practiced some new tunes with the Suzuki kids at church on Sunday (somebody has to teach them some fiddle tunes!), and then had to pick up my sister at the airport, there was no time to go home and get my foeddle (bass) for the jam I attend on the first and third Sundays of the month.  Therefore, I showed up with a fiddle, a faddle (viola) and a foddle (violoncello).  Since four other fiddlers showed up, there was no need to take the fiddle out of its case.  I never got to the faddle either.

One of the hosts saw the foddle (he kept calling it a cello) and asked, Are you going to play that thing?  I said, Sure, why not?  So I did.

I pulled my chair back out of the circle just enough so that I wouldn't hit anyone with my bow, put a music bag on the floor against a banjoist's chair, and proceded to use the banjoist and a music bag on the floor as my foddle stop.  Never having jammed with my foddle, at first I was at a loss for what to do, but I got the notion to start with some bass note progressions (arpeggios and bass runs), then I went on to noodle the melody and extemporize harmonies.  A few times the banjoist or guitarist next to me had song sheets with dots on them, and I could read the dots to play the melody without having to noodle it out first.  This being a mixed jam, we do even old-time tunes bluegrass style with breaks, and I even got a few breaks!

I got a request for Will the Circle Be Unbroken, so I when it was my turn to call a tune I called that one.  It being in G I could play the whole thing in double stops, so that made for a good break, and it was easy to play harmony for it.

The next tune I called was Colored Aristocracy, just because I thought I could do it (never having played it before on the foddle) - and I did, by reading the dots in the Fiddle Fakebook.

The most surprising achievement of the afternoon was Back Up and Push.  I can play it on the fiddle (not spectacularly, mind you), but I had no earthly idea what I was going to do for it on the foddle.  Well I knew what the chords were for it, so I decided to harmonize on the A part, and that turned out well.  For the B part I normally shuffle on the fiddle for it, so I got the notion to do that on the foddle.  That was remarkably easy to do, even a four-string F chord (third position, I think, but I'm not sure because the so-called positions on the fiddle and foddle have never made sense to me).

My foddle stop banjoist declared, You sound good on that!  Well I'll be hornswoggled - I have achieved my goal of playing the foddle at a jam!  I think that next time I'll pass out sheets with dots and chords for Snake River Reel, and Dog Treed a Possum Up a White Oak Tree, and the Peekaboo Waltz.  That way I'll be prepared to take the lead and strut my stuff!

9 comments on “First jam on the foddle”

bj Says:
Monday, February 2, 2009 @8:20:52 PM

Sounds like FUN!


Humbled by this instrument Says:
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 @7:35:07 PM

So you noodled some melodies and extemporized the harmonies? Hmmmm. I've extemporized some noodles (I think that means "boiled") whilst harmonizing with various melodies.

You took some breaks on your...foddle without having ever jammed on it before? I salute you, sir! And "Back up and Push" is tough, (I think), so more kudos to you. Thanks for sharing your experience, Michael,


FiddlerFaddler Says:
Friday, February 13, 2009 @9:53:52 AM

Thanks for the salute and kudos, Humbled. Yes, Back Up and Push is tough to do well. That is why I didn't even THINK about taking the lead on it, but it was a blast to harmonize on the A part and shuffle on the B part. I am still amazed at how well that went.

brynmawr Says:
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 @4:40:03 AM

That sounds really cool... and like a lot of fun.

I hope you are continuing to fiddle, faddle, foeddle, etc..... You sound like a bit of an instrument junkie... (I can relate....)

Susanne Says:
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 @9:30:33 AM

Coooool!!! Back up and push is a lovely tune. Thanks for visiting. I'll have to look for your birthday greeting on that other forum. I haven't visited the other fiddle forums for ages.

playmorebluegrass Says:
Thursday, March 26, 2009 @8:38:57 PM

how cool is that!!!! you just play anything...and i like your names for the instruments too. i could never get away with something like that. lol...have fun! btw thanks for sending me those pieces. i will def. work on them. we should have exchanged songs waaaay before march. then i would have been prepared. good idea.

Genevieve Says:
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 @9:16:09 PM

Nice work! And thanks for the shout-out on the New Mules cd :o)

ViolaFiddler Says:
Saturday, May 23, 2009 @9:32:27 AM

Love to here your foddle fiddlin'! I'd love to hear the tunes you played that you mentioned on your blog about foddle jammin'.
I'm a faddle jammer!

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Saturday, May 23, 2009 @8:33:35 PM

I'll try to record myself on foddle when I get a chance. I've been too busy!

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