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Sunday, December 12, 2010 @8:51:08 AM

So, I am not sure how much progress I make. I sure am putting lots of time behind the bow these days.  And that is a great thing indeed.  My wrist is getting more flexible which I had thought would be an impossibility, especially after watching other long term fiddlers.  I kept wondering if perhaps there were a medication for stiff wrist syndrome (SWS).  However, I have found that the best medicine is a rare homeopathic recipe called "Practice " !!!

One of the first steps towards learning anything is developing an awareness of what it is that you want. Once you have it in mind, then you enter that painful period of trying to make it happen, while never actually making it happen. I have learned that when I am living in the land of frustratia, that is when I am actually doing the most learning. So, I have found it important to keep my frustration tolerances at a high level for elevated periods of time. This of course, is where I perpetually live in fiddleworld.  I can always see, hear, feel, what it is I want to sound like, but just as in a bad dream, the closer I get, the further it eludes me.  However, this is where  playing with friends comes into value since they are the ones who usually say " Hey, Wow.....that _____ is sounding really good !!!"  And for a moment,  a brief one at that, I transcend beyond my own limits and teeter ever so gingerly in that land of " Oh Yea....I've been working on that " feeling of contentment and joy.

Our normal monthly seisuin was canceled by the pub we play.  They had been rented out for corporate X-mas parties that night. However, we met to play at one of the members house, who usually host an after seusuin jam.  We worked on some new material, principally some pub songs we want to use to get the patrons involved singing.  After fiddling for a bunch of sets, I put the fiddle away and got to hammer out some rythym on the guitar.  The bodhran player and I got an awesome back and forth going to propel the rest of the melodic instrumentalists. Way too much fun....that was !!!

 After everyone else had left, I got to sit down and fiddle with this awesome CH banjer fellow for a while.  And it was incredibly fullfilling and fun.  I really really like the fiddle * bano duet sound. What made it even more awesome, was that as we would play a tune, at some point, we would really start listening to each other.  This made for some really great communication and created even more energy to continue.  Since I tend to play at jams with large groups of people, this kind of listening, responding, and communication is rarer than I would like. At a jam, I can sometimes, with the right people sitting beside me, get that kind of sympathetic commincation happening and I love when it does. However, when it happens in a smaller more intimate setting, that to me is when I really do reach that transcendent state .

I am really starting to explore cross-tuning which I am loving.  I realized that what had kept me from exploring it was fear of the unkown.  I am comfortable re-tuning my guitar to an open tuning because I have played it so long and  know the limits of tension I can put on the strings.  So, part of the fear of cross-tuning, was envisioning not only breaking strings, but believing it would be such a long involved process that would interfere with the flow of a jam, or I would miss out playing because it would take so long.  Yea....I know....but that is how the mind, at least my mind works.  Then there was the issue of the unfamiliarity of where my fingers would find what notes on the altered strings and could I in my own mind make sense of where those notes were on the fingerboard. 

What I have found, is that I can tune quicker than I thought, and fairly accurately by ear. I still need to make slight adjustments with a tuner, but even that is getting better the more I play around between tunings. As for the fingering, I have found that some tunes are enhanced and need no special work, while others I really have to re-train both my fingers and mind. Here again, I am finding that the more time I spend doing this, the less thinking I have to do and the more natural it becomes which transfers over to learning new tunes to play in that open tuning.

Enough for now, time to get ready for the weekly OT autobahn jam !!! Fast, Fun, Furious, and great people to model after !!! Happy Holidays !!


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