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Jul 8, 2024 - 7:08:01 AM
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970 posts since 9/3/2022

This weekend I took a break in the AC and crossed tuned my fiddle for the first time. GDGD...and WOW...that's a ton of fun. Now that I'm more confident with tuning, I have been getting better at adjusting my pegs/fine Tuners. Before, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get it back in tune...lol. So now, I want to try a couple tunes that make sense. It sounds so fun. I was able to come up with my own little ditty and did I mention how fun this was??? lol. But in all seriousness, what tunes are good start for cross G?

Jul 8, 2024 - 7:31:38 AM
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15019 posts since 9/23/2009

Cool. GDGD is my favorite tuning. Really, you can play any typical A tunes there pretty easily with a lot of good drones and such...but they come out G instead of A. If that interferes with when, how, where, or especially, WHO you play with, you could always tune to AEAE instead...I'm not crazy about it up there where it's not as mellow, but it's basically Sawmill tuning, whether AEAE or GDGD. I had to tune to AEAE when I was in a little amateur, very amateur, BG band for a few years a long time ago. Not that long ago, but a while back. But they played the old popular (around here I guess) A tunes...Cherokee Shuffle, June Apple, Cripple Creek, Sourwood Mountain, etc. just so I could play fiddle...and I kept it in AEAE for those. But at home on my own, I do those types in GDGD...it just sounds less hectic to me in a lower pitch. Anyway, Old Aunt Jenny with her Nightcap on, The Possum's Tail a.k.a. the Old Coon's Tail is Ringed, Stay All Night / Waterbound, Waynesboro...trying to think...I play probably 75% in GDGD. If a tune doesn't lay out finger friendly in GDGD, I normally try the Cumberland Gap type tuning on it...(at least that what I call it...I've had people it just ain't called that...lol...but you gotta call it something or you can't talk about it)...which is, instead of the Sawmill tuning of p5 on both edges, leaving a p4 in the middle...i.e., like GDGD, AEAE, FCFC...the what I call Cumberland Gap alternative is more like p4 on the edges with p5 in the middle two strings...i.e., ADAD, or GCGC, etc. That sort of arrangement...I use that one only if the finger layout is just not gonna work on the Sawmill tunings. Or sometimes I use it because I just can't sing stuff too well in G or A. So you can go to Cumberland Gap tunings and end up in D or C, etc. Well anyway I'm veering off topic some, but normally my go-to tuning is GDGD, unless the melody parts can't be gotten to easily or you find yourself having to do one part or other in a different octave. I can't think of other tunes I've enjoyed playing in GDGD, but like I said, pretty much most of my playing at least begins there...if it doesn't work out, I go to Cumberland Gap or Standard.

Have fun with GDGD...it's very fiddly, in my opinion, so lots of fiddly-sounding tunes work out really well there.

Jul 8, 2024 - 7:36:54 AM
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15019 posts since 9/23/2009

By the way, you can also employ not just drones that are there just waiting for you, but also double stops. Since the two outside sets of strings are p5's, like in standard, you can easily grab a double stop the way you would in standard on those outside two strings, lower or upper. But the middle two strings will be reversed...being p4's...so, you can still do double stops, but the fingering works out upsidedown...so...if you get into that, you've gotta get very used to it or you'll go bonkers...lol...I did that in the band some and you do have to be used to getting your doublestops upsidedown, in the right situation. Probably best to avoid double stops on those middle two strings until a long time goes by and you get really used to doing and and then NOT doing that when you get to double stopping on p5 stirng intervals. In the Cumberland Gap tuning it's just opposite...if you do double stops on the two middle strings, it's the same fingering as with standard tuning, but if you want a double stop on either set of outside strings, high ones or low ones, you've gotta finger those double stops upsidedown. So...probably best to avoid double stops on p4 interval strings for a while, but a great resource to have them easily available on the strings tuned to p5 intervals in either Sawmill or Cumberland Gap tuning.  I hope that makes sense.  Let me know if not...I really don't wanna confuse people...lol...I can clarify better if I did.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/08/2024 07:37:36

Jul 8, 2024 - 7:53:32 AM
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RichJ

USA

989 posts since 8/6/2013

For many years I resisted cross tuning, one reason being it might mess up my none-too-good intonation. I finally realized, aside for all the wonderful sounds that start coming out of your fiddle, there's absolutely no difference where your fingers get placed to play the tunes. AND, in many cases you have far more opportunity for a drone than with standard tuning. So, if anything, your intonation might actually improve playing on a cross tune fiddle - especially in sawmill tuning which includes GDGD.

Jul 8, 2024 - 8:41:35 AM
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Erockin

USA

970 posts since 9/3/2022

Thanks guys! It's taking some time to get used to it. The "usual" double stops aren't always where they were but I agree, I can get it to sound real "fiddly" this way. Maybe "Waynesboro" would be a good one to start with considering that's where I'm from!

Hmmm...I'm privy to A too but trying to play Cherokee might really trip me out. I'll work up to the A cross tune.

Jul 8, 2024 - 8:43:39 AM
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15019 posts since 9/23/2009

Hey, be sure and tell all of us here at FHO how it goes. What you discover, any issues you encounter, etc. We all learn from each other.

Jul 8, 2024 - 10:38:36 AM
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6584 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

Thanks guys! It's taking some time to get used to it. The "usual" double stops aren't always where they were but I agree, I can get it to sound real "fiddly" this way. Maybe "Waynesboro" would be a good one to start with considering that's where I'm from!

Hmmm...I'm privy to A too but trying to play Cherokee might really trip me out. I'll work up to the A cross tune.


I play Cherokee Shuffle in D (ADae), with 3 parts. The A and B parts are played similar to Lost Indian, with the 3rd part played as the B part of Cherokee Shuffle.  Great tune!  For me - it plays better and sounds better in D. I got the idea from Brad Leftwich's version - played on Bob Carlin's CD "Banging and Sawing" (at least that's who i think is playing the fiddle on this recording)

Waynesboro is a great G tune. It always reminds me of John Harfort for some reason. ...just sounds like him.

I can give you a nice long list of G tunes - if that is what you are asking for...  laugh  yes

Playing in A (AEae) is every bit as much fun as G. Intervals are the same - obviously. You want a list of those too?  laugh laugh laugh

Edited by - tonyelder on 07/08/2024 10:56:11

Jul 8, 2024 - 10:51:28 AM

Erockin

USA

970 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by tonyelder
quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

Thanks guys! It's taking some time to get used to it. The "usual" double stops aren't always where they were but I agree, I can get it to sound real "fiddly" this way. Maybe "Waynesboro" would be a good one to start with considering that's where I'm from!

Hmmm...I'm privy to A too but trying to play Cherokee might really trip me out. I'll work up to the A cross tune.


I play Cherokee Shuffle in D (ADae), with 3 parts. The A and B parts are played similar to the BG version of Lost Indian, with the 3rd part as the B part of Cherokee Shuffle.  For me - it plays better and sounds better in D. I got the idea from Brad Leftwich's version - played on Bob Carlin's CD "Banging and Sawing" (at least that's who i think is playing the fiddle on this recording)

Waynesboro is a great G tune. It always reminds me of John Harfort for some reason. ...just sounds like him.

I can give you a nice long list of G tunes - if that is what you are asking for...  laugh  yes


HA!  I too like to play Cherokee in D...

I should go one at a time. But yes, songs in Cross G! 

Jul 8, 2024 - 12:26:34 PM
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6584 posts since 8/7/2009

These are the tunes I play in GDgd:
Abe's Retreat
Ain't Gonna Get No Supper Here Tonight
Ashcan Blues
Asked That Pretty Girl To Be My Wife
Barlow Knife
Big Footed Man In The Sandy Lot
Big Scioty
Billy In The Lowland
Bitter Creek
Brushy Run
Bull Frog On The Puncheon Floor
Cabin Creek
Chase The Banshee
Old Chattanooga
Cherry River Line
Colored Aristocracy
Cornstalk Fiddle and Shoestring Bow
Cowhide Boots
Cripple Creek
Cuffey
Dixie Hoedown
Feed My Horse On Corn And Hay
Flying indian
Honest Farmer
Indian Corn
Jaybird Died With A Whooping Cough
Jefferson City
Jimmy In The Swamp
John Brown's March
Johnny Come Along
Josie-O
Katie Fetch The Soap Home
Last Of Harris
Leaning On A Wall
Little Devil Waltz
Mary Wants A Lover
Nail That Catfish To A Tree
Old Aunt Jenny With Her Nightcap On
Old Mother Flannigan
Old Sledge
Old Yeller Dog Come Trottin Through the Meetinghouse
Peg And Awl
Pike County Breakdown
Possum On A Rail
Pretty Little Girl With The Red (Blue) Dress On
Push That Pigs Foot A Little Further Into The Fire
Rabbit Where's Your Mammy?
Redhaired Boy
Sandy River Belle
Shoes And Stockings
Silly Bill
Smith Breakdown
Sourwood Mountain
Sow'em On The Mountain
Stump Tailed Dog
The Cat Came Back
Uncle Joe (Hop High Ladies / Ms McCloud's Reel))
Walk Along John
Waynesboro

And some I'm still working on (some - for a long tme):
Wild Horses At Stony Point
Sugar Tree Stomp
Rebel Raid
Old Time Billy In The Lowground
New Broom
Lost Girl
Hawks Got A Chicken
Great Big Yam Potato
Garfield's Blackberry Blossom
Coon Dog

I realize that some will say that a few of the tunes are / or should be played in standard. I understand - but I don't.   blush  smiley

Edited by - tonyelder on 07/08/2024 12:33:59

Jul 8, 2024 - 1:04:10 PM
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15019 posts since 9/23/2009

I don't listen much to what people say some tune or other should be played in. To me, the only reason to care about how anything SHOULD be is for the sake of others you are playing with...voices, other instruments, etc., so that everybody in the room is comfortable with playing the tune together. Heck, even when I'm the other people in the room who need it in a different key, I try to be as agreeable with the other groundhogs as possible...lol.  In my thinking, though, on our own, it's still a free country and nobody can stop us from finding the tuning or key we feel like playing in on any particular day. I don't listen to any nay-sayers...but of course, if I knew them in person, I would compromise for the sheer joy and fun of playing with others. For us lonesome fiddlers, anything goes, is what I say. Who cares? Who is there to care? Lol...not I, said the fiddler.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/08/2024 13:05:32

Jul 8, 2024 - 2:44:08 PM
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DougD

USA

11992 posts since 12/2/2007

Eric, if you haven't already considered the difference between a key as fingered and a key as sounded, now might be a good time. I don't often crosstune, so I'm kind of the blind man describing the elephant, BUT...
I think crosstuning (AEAE) was mostly preferred for playing A tunes, because of the resonance of the open low strings, and the possibly easier fingering down there (since its the same as on the fine strings). That's why Peggy suggested "any typical A tunes" and Richj said "there's absolutely no difference where your fingers get placed (on the fine strings)". You are fingering in A, even if the sound might come out in G. (This is why the Milliner-Koken Collection considers all crosstuned tunes to be in AEAE regardless of the actual pitch, which could be accidental). This tuning works well until you need a lot of D notes or D chords (or want to play in D) when you'll miss that open D string, and want to tune it back down.
FINGERING in G is a different thing, and I think most people just play those tunes in standard GDAE, because you already have the open low strings for resonance. Tonyelder is a bit of an outlier because he just tunes down and essentially plays G tunes with A fingering.
I would suggest you try the pigfoot tune, which I think Marcus Martin played crosstuned (in actual Ab, at least on one recording). "Sugar in the Coffee" might be another easy one.

Jul 8, 2024 - 4:16:16 PM
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6526 posts since 9/26/2008

What Doug said.

Also, most OT jammers do not play G tunes crossed except maybe for some special tunes (I cross GDad for "Shove that Pig's Foot..." and there an Ed Haley tune, "Indian Squaw" that uses that tuning). If you're in a jam in A, nearly everyone will cross depending on the tunes and the regional preferences. In my neck of the woods, besides me, I know two other fiddlers who cross tune regularly and that includes FHO member Donna Jo who learned fiddle from the same person as me and has a lot of Appalachian fiddle tunes in her repertoire.

Jul 8, 2024 - 11:36:43 PM
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6584 posts since 8/7/2009

Oh - you guyssmiley  Yes, I do things different than most. But I’m not doing that – just for the sake of being different. In a lot of ways, it is a “handicap”. And now I feel compelled to “come to my defense” for making those decisions. Perhaps you guys can answer some questions that puzzle me…

First off, let me say that (imo) unless someone wants to be a strict traditionalist or purist – what others did when they wrote a tune, recorded a tune, or how it is normally played in a local jam – or how it is generally played world-wide for that matter – does not need to dictate how anyone else should to play any tune.

I don’t think it would be incorrect to say that the vast majority of contemporary fiddlers playing old time fiddle tunes will sometimes play tunes in a different keys, different tunings, and sometimes with a totally different arrangement or variations from what might be considered “the right key, tuning, arrangement” for that tune - to the point that some of the tunes are not even recognizable from the original. A somewhat common occurrence, but why would they do that? For any number of different reasons. But the point is - I don't think anyone should be convinced there is only one way to play a tune, unless it's only going to be self-imposed.

Quick to say however - how I play a tune may go a long way in determining who I can play tunes with. I’m fortunate that my old time music friends accept this "outlier".  laugh  There are only 3 of us fiddlers locally – that we know of. One does cross-tune for a few tunes he knows that way, the other only plays in standard.

I will say that my decision to play everything cross-tuned was the result of things I was shown / taught / learned while I was living in Alaska. I’m not trying to “blame” them for what I do. I’m explaining - that playing cross-tuned in different keys is not nearly as uncommon as you might think. Maybe in your area, the folks you play with, etc. – but… for the most part – while in Alaska - if I played in standard, most of the time I would have been in the minority. (lots of good fiddlers there – the old time community is strong with a good number of folks involved) I was encouraged to try it. And now – having learned to play that way – I have also grown to appreciate what tunes sound like when they are played that way.

I've heard a number of folks who talk about the differences in how a tune sounds being played in standard verses cross-tuned. I’m not interested in which way is easier to play, I have no strong feelings about being traditional or following common themes. I play this way because I enjoy the way it the tunes sound when  played with the fiddle cross-tuned. To my ears – there is a richer, much more full sound, a greater presence to the tunes when they are played with the fiddle cross-tuned. I don't think it compromises anything - as far as the tune itself goes. YMMV   yes

Now the questions. Do you think a tune sound better when it is played in standard verses cross-tuned? What is missing in a tune when it’s played cross-tuned? I’m pretty sure all the melody notes are still available to be played – nothing needs to be left out. Not sure what it would have to do with the rhythm,  cross-tuned doesn’t change any of that. What is it?

And - I’m thinking - if “A” tunes were traditionally played cross-tuned because of the resonance of the lower open strings (as Doug suggests), what changes when you play G tunes? You will still have the resonance of the lower open stings – in fact they will be lower in pitch (GD vs AE). The only difference is - that the fine strings are tuned a step lower (ae vs gd). And in doing so - the fingerings for all 4 strings will now match interval-wise - what you would be doing for A tunes. So, the fingerings aren’t different at all – only the pitch of the notes would be different. Why would that be a problem?  indecision

ADae does involve a change in interval note positions, but – worth tuning that way for D tunes (imo).

Edited by - tonyelder on 07/08/2024 23:43:09

Jul 9, 2024 - 4:43:08 AM
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Erockin

USA

970 posts since 9/3/2022

This is all great, ya'll! Thank you!

This will provide some great reading material today. I learned Shove the pigs foot this morning in standard. And by learn, I mean I play it my way...lol. I'm close. That's a mighty fine list. Appreciated

Jul 9, 2024 - 5:10:40 AM
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15019 posts since 9/23/2009

You CAN play anything cross tuned...and you CAN play anything in standard. It's a matter of experimentation...of what works, or what works better, or what doesn't work. Seems to me traditional keys became tradition from the way they fit the hand and bow.

Jul 9, 2024 - 10:07:20 AM

6584 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

 Seems to me traditional keys became tradition from the way they fit the hand and bow.


hmmmm...  I want to agree with this. It sounds very poetic, but I'm not really sure I understand you correctly.  

Would you elaborate on what you mean by "they fit the hand and bow"?  Does that mean traditional keys became tradition because they were considered the easiest way to play a tune?  ...or am I missing something? 

I remember being told that the standard tuning for guitar came about - mainly - because it makes fingering chord patterns on the fret board easier to manage. That makes sense to me - but I'm trying to see how that same principle (easier) works for the fiddle in standard tuning. The only reason I can think of, is that it does eliminate the need for re-tuning to play in different keys (easier). But at what cost?  

On the guitar - i still play most all of my songs / tunes in D with the G string dropped to D.  ...because I prefer the deeper tone of the top string. It does add a small degree of difficulty, but the pay off is worth it (imo). And I have the same opinion about playing cross-tuned on the fiddle. It adds something that I think standard tuning is not able to "deliver".  I'm not sure when standard tuning does a better job and why. 

And that makes me wonder about what "traditional" really means. 

Jul 9, 2024 - 10:13:52 AM

6584 posts since 8/7/2009

...deleted. but can't be removed.  ???

Edited by - tonyelder on 07/09/2024 10:16:07

Jul 9, 2024 - 1:39:54 PM
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2517 posts since 12/11/2008

I've probably mentioned it before, but David Bragger taught me and my fellow students bunches of tunes in Cross Tuning. To my ears it eventually gets tiring to hear so many tunes in succession that are played in one particular key, but I guess that's just me. In any case, it's definitely a worthwhile path to pursue. It feels really good under the fingers, as well.

Jul 9, 2024 - 2:08:47 PM
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15019 posts since 9/23/2009

Tony, I was ;t specifically talking about any tuning in particular...just the idea that to me, it seems logical that the traditional keys came about due to their ease of fingering and bowing and catching the right drones, however anybody played them. If I were a guessin' groundhog (and we all know I am), I'd guess that standard tuning may have at one time been the go-to tuning for G tunes. As much as I love cross-tuning, it seems to me that the traditional G tunes often work better in standard than anywhere else.

I think guitar tuning is absolute genius for a chording instrument. I can't get into alternate tunings on the guitar. I do like hearing people play, but for me I love, so much, what happens in standard guitar tuning I just don't wanna go anywhere else with it...been that way for me for 61 years now...lol...so...I'm strictly standard on that. Fiddle, for me, is all different. It's amazing that it's versatile in any key by standard, but cross-tunings are the bomb. Except as I said....like, Did you ever See the Devil, Uncle Joe, Westphalia Waltz, etc. etc., those types tunes do work out really well in standard, but sometimes I just mess around with 'em in GDGD anyway. For me, most D tunes work out well in what I called Cumberland Gap tunings, but at times I play 'em in standard anyway. I'm just guessin' there probably is a reason why so many tunes are in a traditional key...like...C is so tough on fiddle, yet, as I sure well know...if you try a C tune in a cross tuning it just ain't gonna sound right. There's a reason that one was picked for those tunes...you get the right mix of drones, hand placement, etc. I just can't get over the fumblies in C, myself. I have noticed that a few C tunes will sorta almost work out in Black Mt. Rag/Calico tuning...but still not that true sound that only C tunes have.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/09/2024 14:09:54

Jul 9, 2024 - 6:56:45 PM
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6584 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Tony, I was ;t specifically talking about any tuning in particular...just the idea that to me, it seems logical that the traditional keys came about due to their ease of fingering and bowing and catching the right drones, however anybody played them. If I were a guessin' groundhog (and we all know I am), I'd guess that standard tuning may have at one time been the go-to tuning for G tunes. As much as I love cross-tuning, it seems to me that the traditional G tunes often work better in standard than anywhere else.

I think guitar tuning is absolute genius for a chording instrument. I can't get into alternate tunings on the guitar. I do like hearing people play, but for me I love, so much, what happens in standard guitar tuning I just don't wanna go anywhere else with it...been that way for me for 61 years now...lol...so...I'm strictly standard on that. Fiddle, for me, is all different. It's amazing that it's versatile in any key by standard, but cross-tunings are the bomb. Except as I said....like, Did you ever See the Devil, Uncle Joe, Westphalia Waltz, etc. etc., those types tunes do work out really well in standard, but sometimes I just mess around with 'em in GDGD anyway. For me, most D tunes work out well in what I called Cumberland Gap tunings, but at times I play 'em in standard anyway. I'm just guessin' there probably is a reason why so many tunes are in a traditional key...like...C is so tough on fiddle, yet, as I sure well know...if you try a C tune in a cross tuning it just ain't gonna sound right. There's a reason that one was picked for those tunes...you get the right mix of drones, hand placement, etc. I just can't get over the fumblies in C, myself. I have noticed that a few C tunes will sorta almost work out in Black Mt. Rag/Calico tuning...but still not that true sound that only C tunes have.


LOL. Then I guess the real truth is - tradition is not based on which the key to play in, or the tuning for that key. The real tradition is based on picking which key and tuning is easiest to play in  / easiest for fingering, bowing , and catching the right drones. That is the real "tradition".  

That would make more sense to me, because when you say: "As much as I love cross-tuning, it seems to me that the traditional G tunes often work better in standard than anywhere else" - to me - that sounds subjective. It sounds like someone else is making that evaluation / determination.  And that may very well be true for them, but I would never say that is true for me.      

For me - in reality - the tunes always "work better" with my fiddle tuned to GDgd.  So, if they sound better played in GDgd, and its easier for me to play that way - then I am being very traditional. Right?  laugh  yes  

I would struggle with playing in standard right now - because I don't play in standard on the fiddle. (One of the handicaps I talked about.)

But fancy this - I do play old time fiddle tunes - melody - on mandolin, in standard tuning. blush

Guitar. In a band - 90% of the time I will play guitar in standard. But solo, I look for opportunities to play in drop D.

Thanks for the response Peggy.

Jul 10, 2024 - 1:44:47 PM
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6526 posts since 9/26/2008

Tony they're no need to defend yourself, you know what you're doing. wink

It slays me that you play mandolin straight but not the fiddle ever

Jul 10, 2024 - 2:57:23 PM
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11494 posts since 3/19/2009

....in the end.. Any tune that can be in AEae, can be played in GDgd... or FCfc...or.... you decide, two sets of fifths.

Jul 10, 2024 - 4:25:39 PM
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2517 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

....in the end.. Any tune that can be in AEae, can be played in GDgd... or FCfc...or.... you decide, two sets of fifths.


To be sure... But it's still difficult for some people to grok.

Jul 10, 2024 - 5:07:32 PM
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6584 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Tony they're no need to defend yourself, you know what you're doing. wink

Thanks Billy. I mean that. It's nice to hear it said.  smiley

It slays me that you play mandolin straight but not the fiddle ever

Yeah, ...makes a lot of sense doesn't it blush  laugh  

Jul 11, 2024 - 1:29:16 PM
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6526 posts since 9/26/2008

Thanks for the reply. I continue to get a chuckle about the mando and moreso adding your reply.

I hope we can meet face to face sometime soon. I'll need to figure out what to do with the rest of my vacation, maybe I'll head to Tennessee, Jed, er I mean, Tony. 

Jul 11, 2024 - 5:16:18 PM
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6584 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Thanks for the reply. I continue to get a chuckle about the mando and moreso adding your reply.

I hope we can meet face to face sometime soon. I'll need to figure out what to do with the rest of my vacation, maybe I'll head to Tennessee, Jed, er I mean, Tony. 


That would be a real treat!  yes

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