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I Can't Leave Well Enough Alone, Part 4

Posted by fiddlepogo on Monday, August 9, 2010

Tonight I had a practice session with the Knilling Bucharest with thinned finish, and the older K. Holtz bow.

It sounded good, but the bow still felt just a bit heavy in the tip, and it occurred to me that when I polished the bow with baking soda on a damp paper towel (ya can't hardly beat them paper towels! ;^D) I hadn't polished the TIP at all.  So I did, and it felt a little better... changed the tone a bit, not necessarily for the worse or for the better, just a bit different.

Then it occurred to me that the fiddle was ringing pretty well, like it had gotten played in after the finish thinning tweaks, and it occurred to me to try the carbon-fiber LaSalle, the previous favorite bow, while it was in this played in condition, and the hissy sound seem to have disappeared, or is at least mostly surrounded by good tone so you don't notice it... it has a bit more definition compared to the sweeter K. Holtz, but not nearly the contrast it was last week.  And I was reminded why I like the LaSalle carbon fiber- definitely a nimbler bow that makes fast fiddle tunes and hornpipes a breeze in comparison with the K. Holtz.

And a thought occurred to me... some people switch fiddles for waltzes- maybe I ought to be switching bows- the K. Holtz kind of slows me down, sounds sweet... that sounds like a good recipe for a waltz bow... and the LaSalle carbon fiber is nimble and has more definition... good for making shuffles pop out!

Yeah, that sounds like a plan!!!

Another thought occurred to me:

Perhaps what is REALLY happening as a fiddle "opens up" is that it is getting used to responding to a particular bow.  You might buy a bow because the fiddle responds well to it, but maybe there are areas that are on the verge of responding to the frequency the bow vibrates at, but not quite... and if you play the fiddle enough with that bow, then those frequencies kick in.  I also have a theory that it might be a good thing for a fiddle to get played with at least a couple different bows with a different sonic signature... that it would help the fiddle open up in a more complete way, and that even though it responds differently with different bows, some of the effect of the previous bow would still be there, perhaps as richer overtones.

Another change took place today.

There is a young singer-guitarist who has been showing up at quite a few of the local jams. He has an excellent sense of rhythm, a good singing voice for country-folk material, and a preliminary practice went well, so I invited him to join me at a nursing home that I volunteer at on Monday.  They have been a VERY enthusiastic audience.

And it worked out well- we did some fiddle and guitar, some banjo and guitar, and some with two guitars, two singers, and one of us singing harmony.  So there was a lot more variety in the texture of the sound, and they definitely want him to come back!!!

It was also enjoyable for me to feel like I wasn't in the lead role all the time... I actually enjoy the role of "sideman" as much or more than being the center of attention.

And he did a couple of songs that somehow just aren't "me", but he pulled them off well, and I enjoyed playing along on guitar or fiddle.

5 comments on “I Can't Leave Well Enough Alone, Part 4”

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 @12:21:26 AM

yeah, playing "sideman" and putting in just the right instrumental or harmony part is very satisfying. Congrats!

BC Says:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 @6:18:59 AM

Thanks Pogo, another great read! As far as "Can't leave well enough alone" it's a guy thing . Can't be helped, can't be stopped.

bj Says:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 @7:14:03 AM

Guy thing = testosterone poisoning

Actually that can be helped and stopped, but most guys won't go for it. ;-)

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 @1:37:04 PM

Poisoning? You might want to see a councelor to work out your issues. ;-)

fiddlepogo Says:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 @8:19:06 PM

Yeah, I'm sure our guy ancestors survived by continually tweaking and adjusting their bows & arrows, fishing gear, farm equipment, etc.

Yes, there is something in testosterone that promotes risk taking, among other things.
The plus and minus of estrogen is that it is there for a while, then not.
The plus and minus of testosterone is that in most cases, it is with us for our whole lives
after puberty. So we are never unaffected by it, but probably do develop ways of compensating for it or controlling its effects- in some cases.

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