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Jul 1, 2022 - 7:02:40 AM
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RobBob

USA

2853 posts since 6/26/2007

I have a picture of Waylon Jennings playing a fiddle although I never heard him and of course Merle Haggard played fiddle.

Jul 1, 2022 - 8:22:42 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1011 posts since 6/22/2016

If in doubt, wait until you hear yourself referred to as a 'fiddler' - then you can accept that august title - that's my rule of thumb. OTOH, come to think of it, I would naturally say, 'I play the fiddle', rather than, 'I'm a fiddler'. 'Fiddlers' are those guys I want to play like, not the guys who are no better than me ... !

Jul 1, 2022 - 8:30:49 AM
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DougD

USA

10776 posts since 12/2/2007

Merle Travis also played the fiddle: youtu.be/NIcMgCI3neA
Also A.P. Carter - his first recording offer was from Brunswick, who wanted to bill him as "Fiddling Doc" Carter, which he declined.
I think Chet Atkins played fiddle before he played guitar and some of his first professional engagements were as a fiddle player, because his guitar style wasn't considered "country" enough.

Jul 1, 2022 - 9:38:55 AM

10398 posts since 3/19/2009

Seems that it is people who aren't fiddlers will be willing to use the word fiddler to ANYONE with a fiddle... Guess they are more forgiving...
But, speaking of surprise musicians... There was a banjo player who came to a festival every year..He just sat and plunked around, never took a turn and apparently wasn't skilled..Nice guy..Then one year when it was just me and him sitting under the canopy he just started melodically playing complex Ragtime tunes on his banjo and he was VERY talented.. SUprise SUprise. Turns out he was just bashful about playing OT music but enjoyed just hanging out..

Jul 1, 2022 - 10:32:57 AM

13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Most of the early thumb picker guitar players grew up in a fiddling environment and pickin a guitar was a new generation thing…seems to me anyway…so they moved away from the old fiddling generation and were the new guitar pickin generation…they picked with two fingers, kinda like thumb lead on banjo, except upside down from thumb lead banjo style so that the thumb took mostly rhythm and the index took lead. Anyway…I believe my generation, baby boomers, came along next, into that guitar picking world…and most of us as kids thought fiddling was just for ol grannies and pappies, and picking a guitar was cool, except for some reason, we used thumb and index plus second finger…making the rhythm all different, moving it into its own world and further away from fiddling rhythms or even Travis rhythms. From there, of course this is just my outlandish opinion based on nothing more than personal observation scattered over decades…lol…but seems to me, from that point, the baby-boomer guitar three-finger pickers noticed the abandoned rhythms because of their obsessive life lived on three fingers and six strings, felt the absence of the World War I generations rhythms, and decided to pick up the fiddle. Am I wrong? Maybe, maybe not entirely…this is my synopsis of three generations in a nutshell…not necessarily families ( my family was not musical…about as anti-musical as you could imagine), but rather, generations, generations of folkish and back porchish musicians…some pro of course too, especially in the case of the guitar pickers…probably so many of those pro because they just brought something new and different,..but others just doing as their own generation saw fit to do…what to do with their time, or timing…lol…on earth. Anyhow I think maybe that’s why all the musicians of that time who played guitar also could play a fiddle, but they just didn’t much. Am I wrong? Could be…I don’t claim to know…just claim to have been watching over the years and putting two and two together…but then again I don’t claim to be no kinda mathematician.

Jul 1, 2022 - 11:02:38 AM
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DougD

USA

10776 posts since 12/2/2007

According to Wikipedia, Chet Atkins' first instrument was the ukulele, and he wasn't the only one either - it was a very popular instrument in the 1920's. He was almost a generation younger than the earlier members of that line of guitar pickers from Muhlenburg county that later included Merle Travis, and from a different state. When he first heard Merle Travis on the radio he thought he had to be using more than one finger (which is what he actually was doing) so Chet used two or even three fingers in addition to his thumb. Quite a different style really.
As to your other thoughrs, that was not my experirnce. Those long haired folkie girls playing their "Travis picking" (inspired mostly by Joan Baez I think) did not usually become fiddlers - or old time guitarists either.

Edited by - DougD on 07/01/2022 11:15:56

Jul 1, 2022 - 11:25:44 AM
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DougD

USA

10776 posts since 12/2/2007

PS - I do think there's something to your idea of the old thumb pickers growing up around fiddles and moving on to the guitar. Kennedy Jones, the supposed "father" of that thumb style, also played fiddle too.
BTW, here's a little story about one guitar player who didn't. Clint Howard asked me to play with him and Doc at Merlefest one year, and I went over to Clint's to rehearse a little (and mostly to visit). We were talking about songs we might do, and I said I guessed Doc could play just about anything. I meant styles or specific songs, but Clint thought I meant instruments, and said "I'll tell you one thing Doc Watson can't play, and that's the fiddle." Apparently they were playing out in California one time and Doc woke up early one morning and took Fred Price's fiddle outside to give it a try. Clint said he made "the awfullest noise you ever heard!"
Interesting since Doc could play the mandolin pretty well.

Edited by - DougD on 07/01/2022 11:37:30

Jul 1, 2022 - 11:33:18 AM

10398 posts since 3/19/2009

In talking about fiddler 'wannabes'... I find it interesting that it is more likely to be an older (40+?) person standing around.. Although they are represented, I seldom see people in the 20s-30s standing outside of jams....What age brackets have you noticed..?

Jul 1, 2022 - 1:59:11 PM
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1949 posts since 4/6/2014

Folk in their 20s/30s have been taught for a decade or more while their brains are still flexible and are doing what they have been taught to do. Whereas folk who are 40+ years have either picked up fiddle again after a decade or so, or are trying to teach themselves from scratch, or from another instrument like guitar, mando or banjo. So are more likely to stay on the peripheries of a session or jam so as not to spoil it.

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Jul 1, 2022 - 2:04:23 PM

13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Interesting...I have heard that you don't wanna be around Doc Watson with a fiddle in his hand...lol...but Chet Atkins is probably different because he strayed away from thumb picking style...I mean...he was always on a different rhythmic path, I think...I never really followed him honestly, though...never followed anybody but just seeing them on TV once in a while and hearing what other back porch guitar people I knew and jammed around with said about what all those guys were playing. I found myself using three fingers from the start, why I don't know. But I thought it was interesting that Merle Watson learned from Doc, but Doc used two fingers (typical WWII generation), and Merle used three (typical baby boomer generation). I just find that whole thing psychologically interesting... I can't help but believe it was sort of a generational rebellion of sorts, though unconsciously, a rebellion against granny rhythm and the attempt to do something newer, that fit the jet age mindset better, even though nobody I ever knew as a child had ever been on a jet...lol...but I mean just the mindset of the jetset generation. I've never been on a jet and have no desire to get up there on one of those or a roller coaster or any of that, yet, I am a product of that generation and I think the subconscious influences are there no matter what.  Your own culture, your own time, you can't know anything besides what you were experiencing and can't see all the influences unless you go underground searching...you know, like a groundhog would do.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/01/2022 14:06:28

Jul 1, 2022 - 4:10:51 PM
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DougD

USA

10776 posts since 12/2/2007

Peggy, I don't want to derail Lee's thread any more than we already have, but I agree with you about Chet - his style was "jazzier" in a more sophisticated way I guess. The differences are discussed in the Wikipedia article about Merle Travis. I never saw Chet in person, but I did get to see Merle Travis up close and literally sit at the feet of Elizabeth Cotten and watch her play - stories for another campfire.
I think my favorite fingerstyle player was Earl Scruggs though: youtu.be/OhG25DnZoog

Edited by - DougD on 07/01/2022 16:14:33

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:05:34 PM

13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Wow...Scruggs was good! One more thing, with apologies to Lee...but thanks for getting the ol' brain a-cookin' with ideas, Lee...but, Doug...Libba Cotten was great...upsidedown picker and it just cannot be done any other way. But do you know about Eddie Pennington? He's sorta semi-pro, county coroner in western Ky and anyhow, learned from the same sources as the other thumb pickers...Merle and Ike Everly and all those Kennedy "graduates," so to speak. Anyhow...I have talked to him and he even let me play his special, luthier-made guitar. He's a baby boomer...maybe a little older but I think sorta in my generation ... he confessed to me (and it WAS a confession...he sorta whispered) that he throws in finger number three whenever he can get away with it...lol...although he is considered the best living actual authentic "Travis Picker" around today.  Oh here's a link  https://youtu.be/8y-goc25DJQ

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/01/2022 18:11:13

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:15:25 PM
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10398 posts since 3/19/2009

I fully understand.. I'm trying to keep my post count up too,  jest lock u'uns is duin..laugh

Jul 2, 2022 - 4:59:49 AM
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13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Well if Pogo was here he'd be somewhere in the billions by now...lol.

Jul 2, 2022 - 6:24:42 AM
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DougD

USA

10776 posts since 12/2/2007

Peggy - Yeah, Eddie Pennington is quite a picker. In 2008 I played for a weekend with Lee Sexton at the Richmond Folk Festival and had a great time. On Saturday afternoon I happened on an hour long concert called "Guitar Partners" with Eddie and his son Alonzo, Robin Kessinger and his backup guitarist, and Hawaiian slack key player Ledward Kaapana and Mike Kaawa. I was standing in the back of the packed tent and it was still amazing - each tune seemed more powerful than the last. (BTW, I think you said you thought some slack key tunings were secret. Don't know about that, but after supper that night Led sat in an easy chair and played tune after tune for a small group of us, retuning for each one.) Anyway at breakfast the next day I sat next to Eddie at a big roundtable. Don't remember what we talked about, but not about how many fingers he used - more like whether the sausage or the bacon were tastier!

Edited by - DougD on 07/02/2022 06:27:12

Jul 4, 2022 - 11:01:54 AM

13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Sounds like a great weekend! But if you sat down to eat breakfast with Eddie, I'm sure it must've been his first time in town. Throughout the state of KY, supposedly he is banned from any restaurant that has a buffet...lol...he'll wipe 'em out real quick. Maybe it was a regular restaurant you guys were at.

Jul 4, 2022 - 11:12:42 AM
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DougD

USA

10776 posts since 12/2/2007

Ha! We were in the dining room at the hotel where we were all lodged, and it probably was buffet style. Lets just say they both ate a hearty breakfast.

Jul 4, 2022 - 11:30:08 AM

13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Doubt he was invited back to that restaurant…lol.

Jul 4, 2022 - 11:51:27 AM
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RB-1

Netherlands

67 posts since 9/28/2020

Speaking of Scruggs, I think this surely counts as one of his masterpieces:

https://youtu.be/wE73TjcXIXM

To me the present king of Bluegrass finger picked guitar is Charlie Cushman:

https://youtu.be/vx19dFwUIyk

Apologies, for some reason I can't find how to embed these videos. sad

Edited by - RB-1 on 07/04/2022 11:51:56

Jul 4, 2022 - 1:15:01 PM
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10398 posts since 3/19/2009

Lost me.. What is the topic?

Jul 4, 2022 - 2:01:58 PM
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13668 posts since 9/23/2009

Something to do with who's a fiddler who is famous for playing something else and who orders too much for breakfast at the music festival.

Jul 4, 2022 - 2:05:16 PM
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10398 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Something to do with who's a fiddler who is famous for playing something else and who orders too much for breakfast at the music festival.


Thanks for clearing that up..

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