Posted by fiddlepogo on Friday, December 13, 2013
It's been kind of out-of-kilter with fiddle for a while now.
The drum interest is part of it. I keep a practice pad near my bed so it's easy to practice paradiddles on.
Also, drums have taken up a lot of my creative tweaking energy, leaving less for the fiddles. And the tweaking is really what I do to keep the fiddles sounding good while waiting too long in between string changes! So the fiddles haven't been sounding good, so when I play, I'm not as inspired by the sound.
Part of it's the situation with my wife.... she's not doing well. Lyme's disease. And she still has her ups and downs.... but the downs are rougher, and the ups are lower than they were. That's been absorbing a lot of my attention, and also making me feel too down to want to play fiddle. Also, she's been going to bed earlier... which has been cutting into the perfect time here to play fiddle in the apartment BEFORE she goes to bed.
The season isn't helping... focusing on Christmas carols. I've been learning some silly 50's Christmas songs on baritone uke, and doing more old English carols with (they say) a pretty good "bad English accent". That leaves less time for fiddle at gigs, so I haven't been even playing much fiddle at senior gigs.
It's been cold, and the downstairs lobby has been cold too at night, but earlier tonight I got the notion to take a couple of fiddles downstairs and play in the (fairly large) mens restroom off of the lobby. One good thing is that since the change to synthetics, the fiddles sound better in there- with the steel strings the highs were bouncing off the walls and sounding very unpleasant.
I took Booker and Stinky, the two fiddles I've been neglecting most lately.
Stinky went first. I had an idea for tweaking Stinky the other day, and I think it worked, but it also just needed some playing.
I finally got it sounding pretty good. Part of it is just that the intonation is the most different of the three fiddles. Also, it just likes Irish tunes better, I'm not sure why. Maybe I won't sell it after all!
Booker sounded pretty good on the lows.... not so good on the E string... but I played for a while, then took the fiddles upstairs. Then I had an idea for tweaking and maintenance on Booker: take off the chinrest, lighten it a little bit around the lower edges, then clean up the finish on the fiddle hidden by the chinrest with a coffee filter.
When I took it down to try it, I'm not sure what made the most difference, but the E is better, and it sounds more powerful somehow. Maybe a little less lows, but it's balanced. It sounds a little tight, but that often happened after removing and replacing the chinrest. It's hard to get it back in exactly the same place and the fiddle needs playing to kind of "get used" to the new position.
When I hurt my index finger by overplaying guitar, I needed to cut back my volunteer gigs so my index finger could heal some.
The obvious candidate was a gig where I played twice a month, and the audiences were so good and so enthusiastic- that I played too long! And with the switch to synthetic strings being challenging and the baritone uke feeling unfamiliar... I didn't feel like I good meet their expectations. Overall, the finger is better now, and I'm used to both synthetic strings on the fiddle, and the baritone uke. And it was an inspiring audience, good acoustics, no P.A. needed... it might be good to start playing there again... maybe once a month... because they REALLY liked the fiddle, and that inspired me.
1 comment on “I can hardly believe I had a good fiddle practice session!”
Larry Rutledge Says:
Saturday, December 14, 2013 @4:50:31 PM
I hope your wife starts having more up days than down. You both will be in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season. You need to start recording yer sets if you don't already. Bet they would inspire us. Been having a ball with my banjo. May never learn to play it well, cause this thing was made for tinkering, and tweeking ! My fiddle has survived my tweeking, and sounds as good as it can for what it is. But with the weather keeping me in more, the banjo doesn't stand a chance. Wish ya'll the best.
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