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Coming Back to Fiddle after 30+ years.

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Dec 10, 2019 - 2:11:51 PM
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25 posts since 11/19/2019

I guess this is a 'wish me luck' post as I've seen from several others as I've lurked this forum for some time.

I'm coming back to the fiddle after over 30 years away from it. And when I originally played, I was trained (as a child) as an orchestral player and cannot say that I remember that much - only played a few years. Big benefit that I do have is that I've continued to play other instruments during the meantime, including, trumpet, cross-harp, guitar, ukulele and mandolin. All of those excepting the trumpet I taught myself, so a history of self-teaching and understanding what goes into that is not hurting me.

I play mando fairly regularly at the local bluegrass and old-time jam on my town square during the summer Friday evenings. Its about the biggest in the area and a lot of fun. Listening to the fiddlers inspired me to get my hands a little rosin-sticky again.

Right now, I am playing a Hopf which I've resurrected with a new setup (better carved bridge, new strings, re-set the soundpost, etc) and another newer supposedly Spanish built fiddle that sounds pretty nice as well. I'm an amateur luthier with a pretty good shop (have built a number of guitars and recently finished a very nice mandolin), so I'm not afraid to deal with minor issues after I've researched them - I also know my limits.

I've been playing for about 3 weeks and can play a rendition of Ashokan Farewell that my wife says is actually quite nice (my daughter actually recognized it when I played a Mark O'Connor rendition in the car the other day), as well as some other fiddle tunes that I've been able to transition from my mandolin playing to my fiddle.

I'm spending a lot of time running first position scales and bowing exercises (Tone Tone Tone!), but have to spend some time trying those fiddle tunes to break up the monotony as well and keep it fun!

Really enjoy reading everyone's posts, and while I'll likely lurk in the background and just listen a lot, I hope that at some point I can post that I've made it out to my local string jam with the fiddle and attempted to play along.

Dec 10, 2019 - 3:45:08 PM

8006 posts since 3/19/2009

Welcome back, Chinnrest.. I look forward to many future posts..

Dec 10, 2019 - 4:06:16 PM

4479 posts since 9/26/2008

I play all those except switch flute for trumpet!
Tunes are great “scale exercises” and a lot less boring. More tunes!
Remember the bow is not a pick.
“Ashokan Farewell” is a great starter, especially if tone is important to you.
When actually playing scales, watch yourself in a mirror and pull long slow bows. The mirror is to give you instant feedback on whether you are bowing perpendicular to the strings, the slow bows are to help you improve tone and bow control. Flexible wrists and fingers.
Welcome to the wild side of music making.

Dec 11, 2019 - 4:20:14 AM



259 posts since 9/1/2019

Welcome to one of the funnest challenges anywhere! With your background, I'm sure you'll pick it up really quickly

Dec 11, 2019 - 8:11:31 AM
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4207 posts since 6/23/2007

In my case, long layoffs on fiddle haven't been as damaging as they have for guitar and 5 string banjo. I am guessing that things will come back faster than you had hoped. Sometime expectations and attitudes have changed and playing becomes more enjoyable.

Dec 13, 2019 - 5:29:37 PM
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25 posts since 11/19/2019

Thanks all for the encouragement and suggestions!

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