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Fiddle Lovers Online


Aug 29, 2022 - 6:46:19 AM
3 posts since 8/29/2022

Hi all,

I'm looking for some resources on accompanying a singer w/ a guitar. I have to do a few gigs in this context and find I don't know what I should be doing. (not playing / Droning / Chopping / Fills / Licks)

We play ballads and a few upbeat numbers. Stylistically, it's kind of america'ish (sorry, not very specific). Not really a clearly defined style anyway.

What I really need is something to listen to, to get a template of good fiddling in this stipped-back context sounds like.

Are there any live concerts on youtube or albums which have fiddle/guitar/voice only? I have no reference for this kind of thing; most of the fiddling I listen to is in bands! I need inspiration!

thanks, Luke

Aug 29, 2022 - 7:56:51 AM
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667 posts since 7/30/2021

Whooey, it's hard to say without listening to a track! But, I guess I would do is record the songs with singer/guitar player only...then go home and replay while messing around/playing on fiddle, searching for what would sound nice...

for the slow ballads, maybe intro, some harmony and breaks (i.e. a verse when they don't sing, the fiddle takes over that "lead" part) and some nice fills if "empty" spaces? for the upbeat stuff, more chops and rhythmic stuff, energetic little riffs?

One of my fave local folk bands is Watchhouse and they are fiddle/guitar/voice only:
youtube.com/watch?v=fEt2lf7L13g. (awesome fiddle solo at 4:06)

(Love this song so much, it's about the passing of his mom)
 

Edited by - NCnotes on 08/29/2022 08:10:28

Aug 29, 2022 - 9:11:09 AM
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667 posts since 7/30/2021

And about the "not playing"... that's often my biggest question, too!!
I often wonder ... is this too much fiddle? too little fiddle? when in doubt, don't play?

I suspect I play too much.
If it's too much and distracting, I want people to just tell me to shut up...I won't be offended!
Polite musicians are hard to deal with :-)

Aug 29, 2022 - 9:29:57 AM
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DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

I've done sound a couple times for Darrell Scott with two different fiddle players (and a bassist, who mostly provided underpinning and vocal harmonies). I think there's a lot of him on YouTube with Tim O'Brien, although Tim often plays mandolin. Maybe some ideas there.

Edited by - DougD on 08/29/2022 09:31:06

Aug 29, 2022 - 10:27:45 AM
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2869 posts since 10/22/2007

My favorite thing to do is think organ. Just a continuous chord. Able to swell. Able to transition to the next chord, a good many ways. That transition, or the end of a phrase, is where you can introduce yourself.

If I play with a bunch or one other, that I've not played with before, I'll tell them up front, let me know if I'm over playing. They appreciate it.

Aug 29, 2022 - 1:35:37 PM
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RB-1

Netherlands

90 posts since 9/28/2020

My experience is that -no matter what instrument you're playing- singers who are also playing guitar, while being so used to 'doing it all on their own' , won't leave any room for anyone else.

Besides, they never learned to listen what's going on around them.

It's more like playing with a recording. That won't interact with you either...

Aug 29, 2022 - 2:20:27 PM
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2328 posts since 8/27/2008

My advice is don't be afraid to leave space. Sometimes you can wait to come in at all until the chorus or 2nd verse. Long quiet double stops can work playing behind the vocal. Also, think of call and response - you don't want to compete with the singer. When she gets to the end of a phrase is a good time to add some punctuation. Similarly leading in to a vocal phrase can work. Also, to the extent you're playing while there is singing, try to avoid unison notes. In a major key a major third above provides sweetness and a 5th above a little tougher sound (I think). Of course those can be inverted and played below the vocal. In general, consider whether playing above or below the singer complements best.

Aug 29, 2022 - 3:56:43 PM
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2146 posts since 12/11/2008

If you have the fingers and ears to do it, and if the tune the singer sings has the singer pausing between lines of the verse, try to repeat the melody the singer just sang or provide a melodic answer that is either simplified or more complicated.

Aug 30, 2022 - 3:14:28 AM

3 posts since 8/29/2022

Thanks for responses. The fiddle player in Watchouse is a great suggestion. Yeah not playing is key. I play too much when playing with a singer, and if not playing, get self-conscious I'm not contributing.. it's a tricky balance.


quote:Originally posted by NCnotesAnd about the "not playing"... that's often my biggest question, too!!
I often wonder ... is this too much fiddle? too little fiddle? when in doubt, don't play?

I suspect I play too much.
If it's too much and distracting, I want people to just tell me to shut up...I won't be offended!
Polite musicians are hard to deal with :-)

Aug 30, 2022 - 3:16:20 AM

3 posts since 8/29/2022

Great suggestion, thanks. I will do some youtube hunting for Darrell live

quote:Originally posted by DougDI've done sound a couple times for Darrell Scott with two different fiddle players (and a bassist, who mostly provided underpinning and vocal harmonies). I think there's a lot of him on YouTube with Tim O'Brien, although Tim often plays mandolin. Maybe some ideas there.

Aug 31, 2022 - 6:25:09 PM
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39 posts since 9/22/2021

Tim on fiddle & Darrell

youtu.be/0Qm17r2ge_4

Edited by - mtnfidil on 08/31/2022 18:26:45

Aug 31, 2022 - 7:15:30 PM
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DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

Thanks, mtnfidil. Those guys know what they're doing!

Sep 1, 2022 - 6:17:07 AM
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DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

There is a Michigan duo called "Red Tail Ring" that have been mentioned here on the FHO. They use other instruments too, but sometimes fiddle and guitar. Lots on YouTube.
I will say there's a difference between just standing there droning a little and adding a fill here and there, and playing worked out arrangements like Darrell and Tim. A good friend of mine here, a really good singer/songwriter, played for awhile with a good fiddle player. I saw them several times and in the beginning she was just sort of accompanying him, but eventually it turned into a real interplay of the two "voices." I wish I could tell you how that happened, but I wasn't trying to analyze. I'd say it depends on how much time and creativity you have available.

Edited by - DougD on 09/01/2022 06:19:26

Sep 1, 2022 - 8:47:28 AM

667 posts since 7/30/2021

Loved Tim & Darrell!

Hmm so, in both clips we posted...I noticed that when not playing, the fiddler sings harmony. Maybe that helps with that feeling of "standing around waiting to come in". So, if you like to sing.......:-)

Sep 1, 2022 - 12:04:54 PM

DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

We shouldn't forget one of the greatest singer/songwriters of them all - Hank Williams. On most of his recordings the instrumentation is pretty sparse - steel and fiddle, along with bass and electric rhythm guitar. Here they are live: youtu.be/-yCQraOX4Bw
Many musicians have drawn inspiration from outside their own genres. You could learn a lot from listening to Billie Holiday and Lester Young for example. Even if you don't get any ideas you'll have heard some great music!

Edited by - DougD on 09/01/2022 12:05:45

Sep 1, 2022 - 1:17:42 PM

2869 posts since 10/22/2007

Lest we forget Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins, and Marshall Grant.

Or Billy Gibbons, the late Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard.smiley

Sep 1, 2022 - 1:31:14 PM

DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

Or that the OP said "I'm looking for some resources on accompanying a singer w/ a guitar." (With a fiddle)

Sep 1, 2022 - 2:37:53 PM

2869 posts since 10/22/2007

I apologize to you Doug, the OP, and the rest of the thread.

Edited by - farmerjones on 09/01/2022 14:38:20

Sep 3, 2022 - 4:44:55 PM

3217 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by RB-1

My experience is that -no matter what instrument you're playing- singers who are also playing guitar, while being so used to 'doing it all on their own' , won't leave any room for anyone else.

Besides, they never learned to listen what's going on around them.

It's more like playing with a recording. That won't interact with you either...


Valid points, but it's not just the singer/guitar player, nor are they most often problem. in context of a gig (or recording). That singer that performs, do it all own (voice with guitar); there is not much reason to have others. More typically they are aware of listening to the whole (even in balancing their singing and guitar), and ask others because they are aware of limits or something missing; specifically want more than they can do... to add something to the arrangement. IMO, typically do leave plenty of room, certainly for breaks, but as well for fill, and texture parts.

Perhaps even more some others, especially more traditional type fiddlers... or modern version of that.

There is lead guitar syndrome. (esp in Rock/Blues and Metal)... applies to other instruments, (noteably some BG Scruggs banjo, fiddle)... what they put most focus on practicing, is forefront... melodic or lead, awesome solo breaks, maybe lead fills between vocal phrases... much of that is/was the inspiration and motivation for playing... what they think iof as their iconic heroes. Kind of ignoring a lot of the rest of the arrangement or role; non-lead stuff simple and unimportant; just something to do while waiting for your break, so nothing to think much about, nor practice work on.

Fiddlers (and some other instruments) have another aspect, at least in more traditional based like OT, Irish (neo traditional?)... are very fiddle tune based... they focus on learning and practicing the forefront melody. Again, their inspiration, motivation. Further though, besides playing alone, is many also extend that experience and get reinforced in playing at these jams or sessions... that are very very tune oriented, where there is rather lack of song/singing... and often lack much interactive dynamic/texture aspects or requirements... can just play full on, start to finish over and over. Fulfills their motivation/goal of showing up to the jam/session and participating.  They don't necessarily offer much opportunity to develop great sense of listening to details what's going on around them, to sum of group; and how to be more interactive; nor thinking about the tune/song as a whole, and arrangement... seems less important. Sometimes even object, to being too band like? or feel like exclusion from participation, being left out? 

[Kind of chicken/egg question about these modern jams and why lack of songs/singing, or perception of traditional?]

But I agree, listening to what's around them, and the whole of the group is important... as is whole of song.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/03/2022 16:50:29

Sep 4, 2022 - 12:55:08 AM
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3217 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

And about the "not playing"... that's often my biggest question, too!!
I often wonder ... is this too much fiddle? too little fiddle? when in doubt, don't play?

I suspect I play too much.
If it's too much and distracting, I want people to just tell me to shut up...I won't be offended!
Polite musicians are hard to deal with :-)


The "not playing" reminds me of some intended compliment, that comes out as... "I really like that part when you stopped playing" cheeky - Referring to how our band usually incorporates this arrangement idea for dynamic reasons, where instruments drop out and in, including section might reduce sound to minimal, single instrument (or voice), or just percussion, before all coming back in big energy on next top of section. 

 

Along that line... rather than what can "I" be doing, or just to be heard; maybe think of arrangement of the entire song (as story, journey), what does the song need at various points, and ask is the something important, and adds to help serve the song along it's journey. Sometimes by playing nothing it over all adds musically, making another aspect pop out (such as verse lyrics)  and like above, building up parts and energy... your part/instrument has a more noticed affect when preceded by not playing. Another area/aspect, rather than more obvious rhythm/riffs/chords... might think of is more adding subtle texture, color, even if understated, can add a little glue or flow.

Nov 10, 2022 - 6:09:34 AM

Erockin

USA

227 posts since 9/3/2022

I REALLY liked this approach with the fiddle on this one. Strong singer songwriter with a fantastic fiddle accompany. Loved this video.

youtube.com/watch?v=4e_1whyHzPQ

Nov 10, 2022 - 11:19:32 AM
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970 posts since 3/1/2020

I’d recommend listening to the fiddler in the Steel Wheels. The music they play has Old Time sensibilities but could easily be called Americana.

Nov 10, 2022 - 12:24:32 PM

Erockin

USA

227 posts since 9/3/2022

I've opened for the Steel Wheels and I agree! Also Brothers Comatose has a good fiddle player.

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