I've had a second Knilling ("Stinky") for a while now that has had problems.... the sound post dropped for the second... or was it third time.... and I'm just leaving it until I can get it to a luthier, and have a new one cut, and maybe a new bridge at the same time.
Anyway, I had put on Prims before the post dropped the last time, and they were almost new, sitting on a fiddle I wasn't using. So I decided to try them on the Eastman ("Odie"- ANOTHER smelly fiddle!!!) and put them on after my wife's bedtime on Friday night, so I tried them the following morning, and lo and behold, they WORK on the Eastman!!! They make it feel and sound just a tad more fiddly, and just a tad more like my main fiddle (Booker, the Knilling Bucharest 4KF I bought new in 2006.) So it doesn't feel as strange as it used to. But it's still way mellower than Booker.
So I decided to take it to the Bluegrass jam Saturday... and it was a good jam, and I think I played pretty well considering I'm not really a full-blown bluegrass fiddler. I think when I'm not playing a fiddle tune and I'm giving it my best shot on a break, I think I sound more like a jug band fiddler. And I think the Eastman's mellow tone and the new strings both helped me get a little more daring than usual. And I have lots of fun when I push the envelope like that.
Sunday afternoon I went to a jam at a friend's house, and toward the end they wanted to play Old Joe Clark. But the banjo players were in G.... and they wanted me to sing it... and I knew if I played it in A like I normally do, I couldn't sing it. So I retuned Booker (the Knilling Bucharest) to GDGD.... and it worked great... in fact, I don't know if I've ever played a fiddle that sounded so perfect in GDGD. When I went to warm up for the volunteer gig today, I realized I hadn't tuned Booker back to standard GDAE... and it was sounding so good in GDGD that I decided to leave it there and use it for a few tunes, and then switch fiddles to Odie the Eastman with the Prims. And it worked great, they both sounded really good in their respective roles.
I may do that more often, since it make sense to me to do the most archaic material first from a historical perspective, plus it makes a lot of sense from a performance standpoint to do the least familiar material first, and then reward the audience with the delight of recognizing their favorite chestnuts towards the end!2 comments
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