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Serendipitous String Change and a Fun Bluegrass Jam

Posted by fiddlepogo on Sunday, September 26, 2010

I've had a second Knilling ("Stinky") for a while now that has had problems.... the sound post dropped for the second... or was it third time.... and I'm just leaving it until I can get it to a luthier, and have a new one cut, and maybe a new bridge at the same time.

Anyway, I had put on Prims before the post dropped the last time, and they were almost new, sitting on a fiddle I wasn't using.  So I decided to try them on the Eastman ("Odie"- ANOTHER smelly fiddle!!!) and put them on after my wife's bedtime on Friday night, so I tried them the following morning, and lo and behold,  they WORK on the Eastman!!!  They make it feel and sound just a tad more fiddly, and just a tad more like my main fiddle (Booker, the Knilling Bucharest 4KF I bought new in 2006.) So it doesn't feel as strange as it used to. But it's still way mellower than Booker.

So I decided to take it to the Bluegrass jam Saturday... and it was a good jam, and I think I played pretty well considering I'm not really a full-blown bluegrass fiddler.  I think when I'm not playing a fiddle tune and I'm giving it my best shot on a break, I think I sound more like a jug band fiddler.  And I think the Eastman's mellow tone and the new strings both helped me get a little more daring than usual.  And I have lots of fun when I push the envelope like that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                


Sunday afternoon I went to a jam at a friend's house, and toward the end they wanted to play Old Joe Clark.  But the banjo players were in G.... and they wanted me to sing it... and I knew if I played it in A like I normally do, I couldn't sing it.  So I retuned Booker (the Knilling Bucharest) to GDGD.... and it worked great... in fact, I don't know if I've ever played a fiddle that sounded so perfect in GDGD.  When I went to warm up for the volunteer gig today, I realized I hadn't tuned Booker back to standard GDAE... and it was sounding so good in GDGD that I decided to leave it there and use it for a few tunes, and then switch fiddles to Odie the Eastman with the Prims.  And it worked great, they both sounded really good in their respective roles.

I may do that more often, since it make sense to me to do the most archaic material first from a historical perspective, plus it makes a lot of sense from a performance standpoint to do the least familiar material first, and then reward the audience with the delight of recognizing their favorite chestnuts towards the end!

2 comments on “Serendipitous String Change and a Fun Bluegrass Jam”

bj Says:
Monday, September 27, 2010 @3:20:57 PM

Prims don't work on every fiddle, but the ones they do work on they work on REALLY well!

fiddlepogo Says:
Monday, September 27, 2010 @9:55:41 PM

Yeah, I'm seeing that... maybe not the best choice for a fiddle that has too much bite to start with,
but if you want to take a sweet violinny sounding instrument, and give it a bit of attitude, they seem to be just the thing.

Actually, I'm seeing that what you're saying is true for almost ANY set of strings...
I love the Thomastik Precision Lights on Booker, but they didn't work on Stinky or Odie.
I tend to think I loathe the sound of Super Sensitives, but I think that German fiddle I should have bought for $175 a while
back had them on, and it didn't seem to hurt it none.

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