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Week 3: Clever title sold separately

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I am still getting up at 5AM each morning.  This gives me time to cook a healthy breakfast, pack my lunch, and practice fiddle for a good 30-60 minutes before work.  Then I usually come home and practice for another 60-90 minutes on fiddle and and hour or so on banjo.

I am trying to put more emphasis on warming up.  I guess it is not really just "warming up", per se, but it is more like bowing practice sans the tunes.  I practice quarter notes, whole notes, and various bowing patterns on each string.  Then I practice crossing strings.  I usually throw in some major scales, and this week I also started doing major pentatonic scales.  I am a big fan of doing scales.  I know some folks don't like them, but I find them helpful for developing my ear and improving intonation.  They also help me figure out tunes.  I had not realize until this week just how many Old Time songs include licks from the major pentatonic scale.  I even managed to do a little improvisation, which I assumed should have been WAY beyond my skill level.  Last, I started working on double stops.  I do a series of exercise that I kind of stole/made up where play whole notes and quarters notes: 1) open right string and open adjacent left string (ex. open E and open A strings) 2) 5th on right string and open on adjacent left string (ex. "A" on E string and open A string) 3) Open right string and pinky note on adjacent left string (ex. open E string and "E" on A string).  I am kind of torn between looking at the bow and fingerboard to make sure I am bowing straight vs. closing my eyes to rely on sound and build muscle memory.


My copy of Wayne Erbsen's Old Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus arrived last week.  I really like this book and have been using it a lot.  I like the very simple arrangements, as they can be played slow, and played cleanly and for accuracy without having to worry about a lot of mistakes.  I was actually able to take some of the simple arrangements and add my own embellishments, based out of my scales practice, and managed to surprise myself.  I've been working on his version of Cripple Creek, the Blackest Crow (specifically arranged to help you practice double stops), and in the Pines (quite possibly my favorite Old Time/Bluegrass/Folk/Blues song of all time).  I have also been fooling around with a version of "Likes Likker Better than Me" that I found online.  The cover that Carolina Chocolate Drops did is one of my favorite songs by them.  I recently found out that their cover is in D, whereas my version is in G.  Still, it is a simple arrangement and good practice for me.  I am also  trying to work out a clawhammer banjo version, based out of the fiddle version.  

I feel like the consistent practice times,longer practice times, and improved practice regimen have been effective, and I have felt a marked improvement.  Effective practices and fun practices (practicing in an efficient and productive manner, but also practicing things I enjoy) are a great motivation, and for he first time in my life, I look forward to practicing.  I still have a long way to go, but I am enjoying the ride.  Id est quod id est.

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Playing Since: 2012
Experience Level: Just Startin'

[Jamming] [Socializing]

Occupation: Export Coordinator

Gender: Male
Age: 45

My Instruments:
Carl Edwards Fiddle

Mike Ramsey Custom Electric open back
Mike Ramsey Woody open back
Mike Ramsey Fairbanks Electric open back
Chuck Lee Honey Grove "Woody" open back
Bell and Sons Boucher Minstrel Banjo

PONO Mahogany Tenor Ukulele
PONO Acacia Tenor Ukulele

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
I like jazz, folk, and Old Time.
Carolina Chocolate Drops, Joe & Odell Thompson, Mumford & Sons, Noah & the Whale, Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Avett Brothers, David Wax Museum, Beirut, The Decemberists, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman,, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Django Reinholt, Post Modern Jukebox.

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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 8/31/2012
Last Visit 6/22/2017

I am a Coharie Indian (originally from North Carolina), currently splitting my time between Florence, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. I am trying to learn Clawhammer banjo and Old Time fiddle. I recently started back learning the banjo and fiddle after a long hiatus. I also play a little ukulele. I'm always looking for folks to jam with and learn from, so if you are in the area, hit me up! Musically, I dig, Old Time, folk, and Jazz.

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