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Nothing I fiddle comes out right today . . . and tonight is Jam Night.

Posted by bj on Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I swear, it's one of those (luckily getting much rarer) days when I can NOT play a single note right, it sounds like both fiddles are out of tune and they're NOT, the bow jumps all over the place, my rhythm is off every which way to Sunday, the left hand and the right hand feel like they belong to two different people and will NOT cooperate, and sheesh, I even SQUEAKED on the E string!

I even tried all three bows I own, hoping I could blame at least part of it on the equipment, but NO, that's not it. I sounded equally bad with any bow I picked up.

I just hope that getting going at the jam tonight snaps me out of it! I have a hard enough time leading tunes since the minute the attention is on me I fall apart even on a GOOD fiddle day. Now I'm afraid I'll really bomb . . .

Have you ever had a bad fiddle day?

17 comments on “Nothing I fiddle comes out right today . . . and tonight is Jam Night.”

Rene Says:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 @1:08:43 PM

a bad fiddle day???? ha ha. I rarely have a good fiddle day. The harder you try the more uptight you get....back off a few hours, have a cup of tea/coffee or whatever and wait until the jam to pick it back up. You'll do fine.

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 @3:27:01 PM

BJ, Arn't you still recovering from that nasty spill you took? I would assume that the fiddle, which is all about subtle movements, needs the focus of a healed body. Don't be too hard on yourself, give it time. Even Zorba the Greek had to put aside his zither when the muse wasn't there. There's some things you can't bull your way through.

Cyndy Says:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 @3:30:55 PM

I had an AWFUL day a few weeks ago and it happened to be lesson day. I couldn't play; I couldn't read (one of my strong points); and when my teacher said play a "D" I looked at him blankly even though I know how to do that double-stop on the top two strings as well as I know my own name. The happy ending? Next day I think I played better than usual.

Looking back I was very, very stressed that week and I didn't realize how much that would affect my fiddling. Not that I'm suggesting you're stressed, except maybe because your fiddling doesn't seem to be working today . . .

I'll bet Jam Night will work out okay . . . It's fun and relaxing and something you love, right? Just what you need to treat yourself to after a hard practice day . . .

bj Says:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 @3:44:43 PM

Rene, you always help me put things in focus. You too, mudbug-- though I have been feeling better the last couple days, I'm sure all that healing that was going on took some of the starch outta me. And ajisai, that "doh!" moment of yours put a smile on my face. Been there, done that, wore out the teeshirt! And as mudbug pointed out, the stress has been physical more than mental, but yes, there's been stress.

I'll let y'all know how it goes. I did get smart and put my tunelist on my little teeny mp3 player. Just the AABB of each tune, one runthrough. And each is in its own file so I can jump from one to the next. Should make it easier to keep things on track.

bj Says:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 @9:23:16 PM

Well, I did fall apart spectacularly a couple times, which was glaringly obvious since this was the lightest turnout we've had, and I was the ONLY fiddle. But the rest of the time I managed better than I did during the day today. And the mp3 tunelist worked okay. It'll be better when I get more used to using it. And I hate those stinking ear buds. They don't stay in.

brya31 Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @2:22:02 AM

Well you survived a fiddle rebelion and you will live to fight another day. I think each time you are able to overcome these moments it helps build confidence and will only make you better!

Cyndy Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @3:59:30 AM

The only fiddle. WOW. That's a workout on a lot of levels. Glad to hear things worked out! We KNEW you could do it!

bj Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @5:52:44 AM

Yeah, being the only fiddle was a trip and a half. I felt like whenever my fingers fumbled bigtime, it could be heard so easily I cringed inwardly, while soldiering on. I had to. None of these guys knew the tunes well enough to call one or lead, so I led on all but a handful of tunes. But the other four guys, one of whom was new to this jam, didn't go running out of the building, so I couldn't have been TOO awful!

And though I wish there'd been a more experienced fiddler to balance things out, I kinda liked the circle smaller for a change, but I wouldn't want to see it that small every jam.

Ozarkian DL Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @6:14:59 AM

Hey, diddle diddle.....BJ, what'cha
need is some JD, JB, or WT. That's Jack Daniels, Jim Beam or Wild Turkey ta smooth out them squeeks, squalks, & squelch's. Jus a nip tween tunes
& u'll be smooooooth as satin.

bj Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @6:32:03 AM

Oz, I am a real lightweight where spirits are concerned. One beer and I'm already into the giggly stage. Two and I'm on my butt. Bourbon? I don't even wanna think about what that would do to me!

robinja Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @8:47:22 AM

The only 5 years in, that still makes me extremely nervous unless I am playing with my closest jam buddies. Congrats on making it through. And, yes, I have those days myself. You just have to power through them as best you can, or come back and try later as Rene suggested.

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @12:02:17 PM

I don't have as many bad days as I used to, but I do know what you are talking about. There are sweet spots to hit with fiddle, and on days when your nervous system seems to be challenged, having those sweet spots be as big as possible and as close to normal as possible is a big help.
This is why I find consistent tuning, consistent bow tension (figger out a way of being REALLY precise) and forgiving strings and rosin are a big help- which is why I really like my Precision Light strings and Kaplan Premium Light rosin! ;^)

It may not have started the slump I blogged about, but that string breaking helped continue it somewhat- I had been using a Light E on my main fiddle, but when it broke I needed to go to a Medium E.
And the bow I had been using lots was just too light to make that E feel right, it was always on the verge of squeaking.
I switched to the heavier bow, and the problem went away, just that I have to practice consistently with that bow so I'm used to it.
It's easier for me to switch from a heavy bow to a light one than from a light one to a heavy one.

bj Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @12:10:44 PM

Well, in thinking back, part of the problem was a lack of sleep the night before. Briggsy and I appear to have acquired a new housemate, and hopefully this one's a keeper, but the damn cat decided to have a housewrecking party at 3AM. And again at 4AM. And again at 5AM. So I was not well rested yesterday.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @2:48:40 PM

A bad day on the fiddle is better than a good day on the computer.

A number of times I have been the only fiddler at the start of a jam. The problem with that is that I won't be able to play the bass on a number of tunes that need a fiddle, since the other bassist has not been coming.

> the damn cat decided to have a housewrecking party

That could have resulted in a cat-wrecking party. It's not safe for creatures to disturb my rest. It has resulted in bad ends for them. As a youth a fly decided to insistently buzz me after I had closed a restaurant at a late hour, causing me to develop lethal chemical warfare techniques. A double-barrel shot of any cleaning solution and/or aerosol and they drop like, well, flies, permitting to squash them like a bug.

ChickenMan Says:
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 @9:53:53 PM

Weird. Today was a bad day for me too, and I have the dream gig of playing for an honest to goodness square dance on sunday!

bj Says:
Thursday, May 28, 2009 @4:55:57 AM

Synchronicity . . .

playmorebluegrass Says:
Friday, May 29, 2009 @1:19:01 PM

take a deep breath girl. try it again.....☺

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