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So you're not ready to play with others

Posted by FiddlerFaddler on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I have a suggestion for those of you who are either novices, or are just flat intimidated and/or otherwise not ready to jam with others.

I had the same problem when I was only a year into the fiddle.  I apprenticed myself to an old-time, barn dance band, and there was no way I could play the tunes at barn dance speeds.  My solution was to clamp on a heavy practice mute so that no one could hear my mistakes.  That's also pretty handy when you want to noodle around with a new-to-you tune, even if you are not otherwise so technically challenged.

Check out my pictures for example of fiddle mutes.

4 comments on “So you're not ready to play with others”

bj Says:
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 @8:12:17 AM

I'm just getting out and playing with others. My one friend is very understanding, and it's usually just the two of us, so no problem. But I will be venturing out into the wider world toward the end of this summer. I have a feeling my wooden clothespins will be coming with me! Thanks for the suggestion. I'm still awful at times, though I do have inspired moments when it all sounds right. Not enough of them though!

bsed55 Says:
Thursday, July 24, 2008 @8:13:44 AM

Michael, You did very well at my jam and made some important contributions. About this "mute thing", I would say that most of the time when you hit a wrong note, nobody else is going to hear it but you. If somebody else does happen to hear a sour note, they're not going to give you the 3rd degree. So the mute is mostly so you don't hear your mistakes I guess. But hitting wrong notes is not a bad thing. That's how you get better.

mojo_monk Says:
Thursday, July 24, 2008 @9:25:23 AM

I typically break out my fiddle skills after everybody's already highly intoxicated. At that point I'm just the young guy learning the old tunes and nobody gives a dang whether or not it's good!

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Thursday, July 24, 2008 @1:50:36 PM

Bruce (bsed) - you are kind.  I do play with more confidence now, and pick up new tunes more quickly.  I didn't resort to using the mute at the Goatskin Jam, but when you and Chirps were sawing a few new to me tunes, I just jumped in on the parts I figured out while noodling.


Sean (mojo_monk), you are modest - you are coming along nicely as a fiddler.  You are at least as good as I am, and you've only been playing one-sixth the time!  I guess that I'm a middle-aged guy learning the tunes, and folks cut me slack, maybe because my manic tendencies are endearing to others that are passionate about the music.

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