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Revisiting Tunes not played in awhile

Monday, March 1, 2010

The last few days I've been heavily revisiting tunes I haven't played in awhile. I've been doing two things with them. I'm changing up the versions a bit, now that I've got more versions in the earbugs, and also changing up the bowing.

After seeing this gal fiddle in a couple videos I've been revisiting the nashville shuffle heavily, since I really love the rhythm she's getting, which reminds me a bit of Bill Huber's playing. He was also a heavy nashville shuffler. And I'm finding I'm not very good at it. It's not as intuitive for me as the georgia shuffle. I think I need to make it so. I've always been able to add a swipe or two of it here or there, but sustaining it at a fast pace through a whole tune I end up sounding very mechanical with it, instead of playing it with lilt and liquidity. I also sometimes get tangled up with it in some places where the left hand fingerings are complicated, since it's less intuitive.

I feel like I'm a beginner again instead of a solid intermediate fiddler whenever I try to do this nashville through the whole tune thing. Which is also complicated by my truncated practice time these days. I'm still down to around a half hour a day, though after this pay period things should start to normalize again. These 13 hour workdays 7 days a week are making me very weary. But lately I've been going back to my mini fiddle breaks, since otherwise I just get too burned out. For every hour of work I get to play one fiddle tune four or five times through. And that's been helping some, and cumulatively it probably adds at least a half hour to 45 minutes to my playtime every day, but I do need to get back to a minimum couple hours of fiddling every evening along with that, instead of a puny half hour session.

The version changeups I'm doing separate from the bowing. Most of this involves getting closer to source instead of playing the festival versions, or, in some cases, simply putting a lot of the notes in that I took out when I was a beginner fiddler, since now I'm good enough to handle a bit more complication. Actually, that's the one thing that's going very right. I've been shocked at how easy it is to play stuff that I couldn't hope to handle 6 months to a year ago.

I'm also doing at least one tune every evening sawstroked. That has definitely had some good effects on my fiddling, though it's still painful at times to hear how left hand / right hand coordination still needs so very much work, which is what the sawstroking points out all too painfully.

Oh well, at least it isn't snowing. Now. Yet.


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Playing Since: 2007
Experience Level: Purty Good

[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Web Developer

Gender: Female
Age: 70

My Instruments:
My main fiddle is a hard used but wonderfully sounding D. Salzard that's about 130 years old, with a one piece back to die for, and appears handmade. My second fiddle is a very early Suzuki Nippon that looks like it was repaired by a backyard body mechanic with Bondo and epoxy, but manages to sing quite nicely. And I have an early 20th c. German Strad which is plain-plain-plain until you put the bow to her, when she turns into Cinderella at the Ball, with Dark Rich Tone. And I've got a 4th fiddle that's a german trade fiddle, a project I am currently working on, and a 5th that's a german trade, probably a Mittenwald, that needs work that I picked up recently at the flea market. I've also got a couple basket cases that came in recently. One's repairable, an amateur made fiddle from New York, but it needs the whole pegbox/scroll grafted. The other is for parts.

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Created 4/13/2008
Last Visit 7/4/2013

Web Developer, Junque Collector / Mad Recycler, and songwriter. I've been playing fiddle since September 2007. I run the Oldtime Jam in Easton PA at the 1st Presbyterian Church on Spring Garden Street and Bank Street, on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7PM.

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