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May 13, 2019 - 11:54:27 AM
7102 posts since 3/19/2009

Have you ever taken a hiatus of several years from fiddling??? In my case I've never, NOT played..I often hear about people who took years off of playing to raise a family or whatever.. How about you?

May 13, 2019 - 11:59:39 AM
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2406 posts since 7/12/2013

I did, I started playing violin when I was 4, studied under a private teacher through high school, played in chamber music and orchestras. Sometime in middle school I also started playing guitar, I ended up learning to play classical guitar and jazz guitar and went to Uni for classical guitar. I ended up taking over 10 years off playing the violin. I did play in jazz and funk bands on the guitar, so never stopped playing music. Eventually, I hauled the violin around long enough that I decided to take it back up again but this time under a bluegrass teacher. Now I pretty much only play bluegrass music. :)

Edited by - fiddlinsteudel on 05/13/2019 12:00:08

May 13, 2019 - 1:23:35 PM
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4016 posts since 9/26/2008

I used to lead a rock band and though I didn't quit entirely, I focused on the band a lot (gigging every weekend for about 10 years) and only occasionally played the fiddle, and definitely did not progress on the fiddle until I was recruited to play in a bluegrass band. Baptism by fire! I played my first gig with them (a Bluegrass Assn. gig) one month later. Now I don't play the guitar hardly ever.

May 13, 2019 - 1:26:32 PM
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7102 posts since 3/19/2009

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I used to lead a rock band and though I didn't quit entirely, I focused on the band a lot (gigging every weekend for about 10 years) and only occasionally played the fiddle, and definitely did not progress on the fiddle until I was recruited to play in a bluegrass band. Baptism by fire! I played my first gig with them (a Bluegrass Assn. gig) one month later. Now I don't play the guitar hardly ever.

The MASTER INSTRUMENT took control!!!!! Guitars have No chance against a fiddle!!! (Just sayin')

May 13, 2019 - 3:13:03 PM

4016 posts since 9/26/2008

Well arthritis had a lot to do with giving up on the guitar. 
As good as I am on fiddle, I'm that much better on guitar. Just saying angel

May 13, 2019 - 6:15:17 PM

1533 posts since 10/22/2007

In 1980 i used college book money to buy a Kay banjer.
Got a Gold Star about ten years ago. One could say i never had a playable banjer until i got the GS. But we're talking banjers so . . . . (insert banjer joke here)

May 13, 2019 - 10:34:31 PM
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Old Scratch


363 posts since 6/22/2016

I had to stop once for a couple of years, due to some kind of repetitive strain injury to the inner elbow of my left arm - still notice it now and then. So I went back at the harmonica, which I'd always played, with a vengeance, and transferred a bunch of the fiddle tunes over.

May 14, 2019 - 6:31:30 AM
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354 posts since 9/1/2010

My story is a lot like Billy's.  I played lead guitar in various improv rock bands for 10+ years and then moved on to study the likes of Tony Rice, Clarence White, and Doc Watson.  I was fortunate to be able to study under Robin Kessinger during those years.  I had purchased a fiddle about 15 years ago, but didn't get focused on learning until 10 years ago.  After disciplining myself to play every day and learning a handful of tunes I totally forgot about the guitar.  Nowadays the guitars still sit in their cases and fiddle and banjo reign supreme. 

I know the original post was more focused on a hiatus from playing any music, but that's about as close as I have come.  I would have a hard time not playing any music at all....would probably have to be medicated or see a therapist laugh.  I know Melvin Wine went 20 years without playing.  While playing a dance he witnessed a man drop dead after swearing at a woman and he took that as a sign to stop.  Then 20 years later he was trying to calm his granddaughter while babysitting and got the fiddle out.  He realized at that point that playing was a gift he had and played until his final years.

May 14, 2019 - 6:51:49 AM

51 posts since 11/28/2018

Never a hiatus but occasional 2-3 week vacations, after which I seem to play better --- or perhaps my hearing gets worse.

May 14, 2019 - 7:30:13 AM
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51 posts since 1/30/2018

I originally took a Community Ed class for fiddling in 2003 - I loved it, and I bought my first fiddle at that time. Then I continued lessons with the same teacher. About 4 months, later, though, my family and I moved out of the area because I had a teaching job in another school district. I continued a little on my own, but that was truly on my own. I had only the tapes of tunes I had acquired so far, very little time to do much with them, and no human fiddlers to connect with. Nevertheless, fiddling with those tapes was sort of my happy-place for a couple of years or so. 

When we moved back to Des Moines again, entirely by chance,  2-1/2 years later, I did not really have much expectation of doing more than continuing on my own as I had been. I started forgetting about fiddling altogether in the course of Mom-ing and working, and pursuing other interests. It had been sitting in a corner for a few years more before my husband started saying things like: hey are you ever going to use that thing again? I hadn't "given-up" fiddling, but I really wasn't trying anymore either. 

However at a moment when I was considering whether or not to take a yoga class, it did occur to me that I could take similar energy and resources and turn it back to fiddle lessons again, just to get started me moving in that direction again. So, on a whim, I made a call to my old fiddle teacher. That was in 2013, and I'm currently still at my lessons. I imagine I have a lot more resources to continue on my own by now, but for now, I just like the lessons. For a while, I used the adage that fiddling was cheaper than therapy, but by now I'm really not at all sure that that's true!!

I think that the time between setting my fiddle down and picking it up again was about 6 years. It makes calculating the actual "number" of years I've been fiddling pretty slippery - especially since I still believe those years counted for something, and may have actually been important. 

*edited to correct years

Edited by - Earworm on 05/14/2019 07:30:59

May 14, 2019 - 7:46:18 AM

7102 posts since 3/19/2009

In my case it was just a "sort of Hiatus'' I bought my fiddle when I was 18 and toyed with the idea that someday I'd like to learn to play it...I carried that thing everywhere I went except to the US Navy and finally when I was 30, I took it down from its home on the nail in the living room and never put it back.. A fiddle had been in my life since I was 5, but it took 25 more years to get 'hooked'..

May 14, 2019 - 1:44:30 PM
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Players Union Member



2362 posts since 2/3/2011

I played a cello and piano until I was 14 and then quit. I thought I had forgotten everything. I bought my fiddle at around age 36 and took a dozen lessons. Then it sat there for another few years. Any time I picked it up I was at a loss for what to do with it. Eventually I did take up fiddle again, via mandolin. I suppose I was in my mid 40's then, and had found that I could sometimes make recognizable music, via participation in jams, albeit unpredictably. I suppose that's what made me stick to it, eventually. Now, if I take a break, it's only for a few weeks and I find myself playing fiddle tunes in my head, anyway.

I guess I didn't think I was in hiatus during those long periods.  If it weren't for my dismay at the sorry state of popular music, I might still be in hiatus.  It just didn't seem right to gripe so loudly and often about the music available on popular broadcasting without trying to make my own.  It worked out splendidly.  I can't imagine what would change in my life to shake that argument outside of disability.

Edited by - boxbow on 05/14/2019 13:58:40

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