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A New Tweak Give Booker A Taste of Honey, Busking is a Bust, and a New Jamming Partner

Posted by fiddlepogo on Monday, May 23, 2011

There has been one area on the fiddle I have not touched when it comes tweaking it, but once I got started tweaking Stinky that way, I had to try it on Booker, the Rumanian Bucharest.  Booker has a loud clear E string, which is why I bought it.... and is just plain loud anyway.  Brash and bold.  Great for leading jams.  But since I'm not leading a jam anymore, that quality isn't needed, and I've found myself neglecting Booker.  Well, I had the inspiration to do JUST A TOUCH of what I did to Stinky.  And even that little bit was a bit too much... but this tweaking method gives a pretty reliable method of pushing the sound back the other way.  So Booker now sounds a bit sweeter.  I was afraid it had lost some power, and maybe it has a little, but the activities aide at the facility with the good violin acoustics STILL thinks it's loud (she had made an unsolicited comment about how loud Booker was a couple of months ago).  Booker has never sounded as good at that facility as he did today.  I'm not going to share what the tweaking method is, because it's SCARY powerful- removing an insignificant amount of material can cause a major change... so you REALLY have to listen, and do it gradually.

Busking Saturday.  Somebody was sitting in my old standby spot, not busking just sitting and noodling on some kind of xylophone-bowl thingie as if they had just bought it and were trying it out.  So I went over besides the snack bar.

I had just barely gotten going when a musician I know asked if he and his friend from out of town. could join me in the spot.  I hesitated, but decided to do it.  The friend played clawhammer banjo, which I was glad to see.  What followed was actually a halfway decent jam session, and I had fun, BUT we only made $2.50!!!  Part of the problem is that we spent too much time talking to figure out what to play next- that's not too much of a problem jamming, but while busking, I think it's a negative, because it causes you to drop off of people's radar.   Close to constant tunes, but a variety of styles and tempos seems to be a formula that works well for me when I'm playing alone.  It's harder to vary the styles when you're playing with other people.

I had thought there was going to be a jam later... the same day as I used to hold the Old Time jam, but a different leader and a different leader.... but when I got there, the cafe was closed early because of Graduation Weekend.  And I was actually up for jamming, and was disappointed.

So I gave an intermediate fiddler I met at the Bluegrass Jam a call, and we got together.  He's about my age.  He does pretty well on slow tunes, as he had had some violin classes in college.  I showed him my tunes on this site and ezfolk, so he can work on them.  I also showed him a couple of shuffles.  He also plays flatpick guitar and mandolin.  It was fun.  I will probably share more as stuff develops.

I think I'm not tired of jamming- I just have gotten to a place where I enjoy jamming with a smaller group a lot more- a duo, a trio, or a quartet.

3 comments on “A New Tweak Give Booker A Taste of Honey, Busking is a Bust, and a New Jamming Partner”

mudbug Says:
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 @1:55:24 AM

"Xylophone bowl thingy" ? Um....steel drum?

BC Says:
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 @5:58:51 AM

A tweaking teaser! Stay tuned?

fiddlepogo Says:
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 @2:37:46 PM

No... but maybe PLAYED a bit like a steel drum- looked like an upside down wooden bowl, but with the upside down bottom cut into interlocking tongues that you beat on with mallets or whatever the xylophone beaters are called.
xylo = greek prefix for wooden.
Well, I suppose it IS a bit of a tease, but the technique gets such extreme results that it would be easy to screw up your fiddle doing it... and I'm not sure I want to help people DO that.
I almost screwed up Stinky, and I was going FAIRLY slow (but not slow enough) and have good hearing.

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