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How I started fiddle (finally)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I won't clog up the Forum with my musical story, but will place it here.  I hung around with fiddlers in northwestern Indiana all through the 1990s.  They taught me many tunes, first on dulcimer and than on anglo concertina, which I can play reasonably well now.  Yes, I heard many great players at the Indiana Fiddler's Gathering, our own Mr. C. Smith among them!  Also Liz Carroll, Johnny Frigo, etc.  I got to know emcee Dave Samuelson when we worked as volunteers on the folk radio show at WBAA/Purdue U., and he taught me a lot about music.

It was Cajun music that first brought me Augusta Cajun week in 1997 I got the bug and bought the cheapest fixed-up fiddle Bob Smakula had in stock in his shop up the road from Elkins, W.Va.  I diddled with it and did a few short workshops, but no one I counted as a friend among the fiddlers at home would give me lessons.

Finally, in 2005 work had brought me to the Pittsburgh area, and I took Mark Tamsula's class through the local folk society.  It was fun, and I took a few private lessons from him also.  This year work finally let up enough for me to take another class.  I had also got a better fiddle that is easier to play (though it needs a real setup), and that has made a huge difference.  So I am really in my first year of playing when you add up bow-to-fiddle time.  I'm after a good bow next, and will post about that hunt. 4 comments

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Playing Since: 2005
Experience Level: Novice

[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: science teacher

My Instruments:
1. Czech Strad copy from Bob Smakula's shop. Cheaply made, but got me started.
2. Unknown make (stamped "Germany") bought from concertina maker Rich Morse. Has about 20 repaired cracks, and needs to be set up one of these days. Real fiddlers tell me it's pretty darn good, and I like it a lot.
3. Auction beater Nippon fiddle to fix one of these days.

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
That will take a lot more space than we have here! For 9 years I was folk radio DJ on the Purdue U. radio station. What fun!

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Visible to: Public
Created 6/18/2008
Last Visit 5/25/2024

Spotty career as a Earth/space scientist. I should have just studied music in school, I wouldn't have been unemployed any more often than I was as a would-be lab-coated geek.

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