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As the new strings settle in, the Knilling sounds better than ever at a gig!

Posted by fiddlepogo on Thursday, August 26, 2010

Okay, I admit, I DID go a little long before changing strings... I THINK the G and D went a year and a half.  But they're steel.  And I don't remember the fiddle EVER sounding THIS good with new strings... it's like there's a deep throaty quality when I dig in that wasn't there before.

I'm thinking that the finish tweaks over the purfling (see the blog a few entries back about it) opened up some lows that the old strings could only exploit a little, but the new strings are exploiting a LOT.

Anyway, I gigged with it today, didn't even warm up beforehand, which normally isn't a good thing, and I played the Eastman when I practiced yesterday, but not the Knilling.

In spite of that, the good tone I was getting from the Knilling helped me enjoy playing and play better than I would have otherwise.

The nice thing is that it makes the fiddle so versatile- it can do hoedowns and waltzes equally well now.

I've also been hatching a scheme for doing something interesting with the Eastman VL100.

I have these old Thomastik Precision <Mediums> that probably aren't too worn. But at standard pitch, they are just too taut... they feel like bicycle spokes!!! Heaviest "Medium" violin strings I know of!!!

But if I put them on the Eastman, and tuned them DOWN a half step, they wouldn't feel so taut, now would they?

Also, I tune my dreadnought guitar down a whole step when I gig.  I'd like to record some songs like I sing them, but with fiddle overdubbed... but the actual pitch is D flat, G flat, and A flat!!! NOT good fiddle keys!!!

But if I tune down a half step, just like I've done with the guitar, a piece of cake.

Also, at bluegrass and folk jams, they fairly often use the keys of B and E, which I hate.

But on a tuned-down-a-half-step fiddle, those keys would be played as C (which is easy) and F, which is fairly easy.

Also, a couple of the local gigging singer-guitarists have also started tuning the guitar down to match their aging voices like I do (without having to relearn guitar parts you've been playing the same way for decades!).  And having a down-tuned fiddle would make it really easy to play along with them, since I "read" the guitarists left hand on the fingerboard, since I play guitar myself.

I think it's an idea whose time has come- let the violinists throw a fit if they want to, see if I care!!! ;^D

4 comments on “As the new strings settle in, the Knilling sounds better than ever at a gig!”

bj Says:
Thursday, August 26, 2010 @3:40:17 AM

New strings ALWAYS make the fiddle sound better. ;-)

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, August 26, 2010 @1:28:45 PM

But never THIS much better!!!

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, August 26, 2010 @1:34:47 PM

One of the reasons why I do all my tweaks on guitars AND fiddles on DEAD strings is
that I figure if I can hear it make a noticeable difference when the strings are dead,
it'll help when they are new, too.
But new strings are so dramatic an improvement, they they would cover up any change.
Also, dead strings can be loosened and tightened without changing much, so if the instrument sounds better after a tailpiece tweak (as I did recently on the Knilling- see blog) or a bridge tweak on a guitar, then I KNOW the tweak actually did something good. But if you loosened the strings, did the tweak, then put new strings on, you wouldn't know what was the strings, and what was the tweak. Bad science- you introduced two variables to the experiment.

ChickenMan Says:
Friday, August 27, 2010 @6:37:39 PM

I have a fiddle that I've tuned UP a half step because my band plays a bunch of tunes in Bb.
Best move I could make for the way we play (sometimes bass is if-y on pitches).
I was considering how to deal with the numerous B tunes I have to play tomorrow.
Maybe a half step down and playing in C IS the way to go.
Or, I suppose I could just limp along in B (and E as it turns out after rechecking the set list).

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