I think I'm working my way out of the swine-flu induced fiddling slump. And as far as my fiddling goes, I think it's good that the Christmas music season is over. I enjoy playing Christmas carols on the fiddle, but they aren't very challenging, and I think I get a bit lazy.
There's nothing like just putting in the time, though. The fiddles like it too- they sing better when they get enough playing time.
I decided the Kagan & Gaines Westminster E wasn't working on Stinky, and switched it to Booker. I think it's loud and clear character matches Booker better.
I took the horizontal twist ties off of the two frogs they were on- at least on those two bows, they weren't helping and with them off, the TONE improved too. The wire or twist tie around the line between the silver ring and the rest of the frog is staying, though- it makes a good thumb positioner for TUF, and seems to do something good for the way the bow acts too.
I have one bow that is really just a bit too heavy, but it sounds great. It occurred to me that since hairs normally break on the front edge of the bow, maybe I could take a couple of hairs off the trailing edge of the bow that's tilted up. I did it, cutting off a couple of hairs that were loose when the rest are tightened. It does seem to improve the handling characteristics, but it did also seem to drop the volume of the bow a little. That might not be a bad thing, since it's WAY louder than the other bows.
One of the reasons I got into tweaking the bows I have is that I'm trying to kill the desire for a new bow. I will probably go in to try that carbon fiber bow again that I liked a couple weeks ago, and if it's not significantly better than my bows with the latest tweaks, I won't buy it.
(Edit- I bought it today- it's nimbler than the K. Holtz, lighter than the Siegler, but sounds about as good, but with less volume- better for practicing at home with the sick wife in the house. The Siegler is a noticeably louder bow than normal. The label says it's a LaSalle LB-20)
One factor in the slump though is that the heavy bow just requires more energy and muscle to move around- daily practice sessions are required to handle that bow well. If I get sick long enough to lose some strength, it's a challenge to get control over it again. Another bow might offer a step up to it.
The Old Time Jam occurred as usual, and was a little better than the previous time... well, a LOT better- the previous time BOTH of the two guitarists showed up basically PUI (playing under the influence) and I had to switch to guitar to keep things somewhat in line... wait... I think I blogged that already... I guess I'm getting old enough that if I'm repeating myself it wouldn't be too surprising.
Oh yeah! Last practice session it occurred to me that I hadn't tried cross tuning Stinky with the Prim Mediums on her, so I did- and the results are very good. The Prims, as everyone seems to say, like cross tuning just dandy, and the sympathic vibrations make Stinky's problems with a thin harsh E string almost disappear. I had more fun playing cross-tuning than I've had in a long time...and hey... I bought Stinky essentially to be a cross tuned fiddle, so why not just accept it??? So far locally I have had no need to cross tune, but I get the idea if I ever run into some serious Appalachian style players, they're going to be cross-tuning a lot, and it would be good to be ready and on the same page.1 comment
'Bartlett Fiddle Mic' 7 hrs
'Falls of Richmond' 9 hrs
'What is this tune? Help.' 2 days