Tuesday, July 21, 2009

hey, fiddlers

How's it going? Everyone still practicing?

19 Comments:

Anonymous Shannan said...

Practicing every chance I get, it is so liberating to pick up an instrument and make a song come out of it not just noise. So far I can play 4 songs alright and am working on getting better. I do not think that I have had this much fun in a long time. I hope that everyone else is having just as much fun as I am. Thank you Jenna for this challenge.

July 21, 2009 at 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Misty said...

Still plugging away. Still stuck on this shuffle business, so I just skipped it. I can manage my way through the first three songs and also twinkle twinkle (so I can play it for my preschool class when school starts in the fall ). I took the white, paper guide off and I am doing ok finding the notes. I was actually on my way to practice but I sat down here first. I have red current jelly working in the canner and needed to fill a few minutes.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all your recent posts!

July 21, 2009 at 8:18 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

You bet! I think I've only missed two days since I started and I made up for it timewise and then some.

I'm up to working on Sugar Hill. Skipped Camptown Races because I've always hated the song. I'm not saying I play all of these WELL, but they are reasonably recognizable.

Still squeaking a lot, but husband and daughter both are telling me (unsolicited) that I sound a LOT better than when I started in early June. Jeez, there was no way to go but UP! LOL!

Misty, I only put in the shuffles when I get rEEEally comfortable and I've pretty much worked myself up to the proper tempo. I never did put the white paper guide on, but I can tell when the notes are wrong and I shift my fingers a bit. Guess that's part of playing be ear, eh?

July 21, 2009 at 9:29 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Anyone else having as much trouble as I am shifting back and forth between the open A's and the lower F#'s (the one on the D string)??? It is giving me FITS. I can do it correctly if I go extremely slow and cut the note very abrubtly; otherwise I'm sounding like a garbled mess! 90% of the time I'm hitting two strings and the note is all over the place.

July 21, 2009 at 9:33 PM  
Anonymous John Terrell said...

Jenna,
Just finished "Made From Scratch." Thanks. I borrowed it from the library but I'll buy one for our favorites shelf today.
We operate a bakery in Upstate NY and (in my seventieth year) plan to bring some hens home in the spring. Bees as well, though the bears around here are a bit of a nuisance.
Anyway, thanks for the book. I really enjoyed it.
Be well,
John Terrell

July 22, 2009 at 3:53 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I am still practicing and I am having fun, but I have problems not hitting the D string when I'm playing notes on the A string. I know it has a lot to do with form, and I'm working on that. I also got a shoulder guard for my fiddle which makes a difference.

July 22, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

My practicing and learning has taken a back seat to helping my 5 yr. old daughter learn. I get to practice a few times a week and am plugging away at the songs in the book. It's so much fun. The kids have fun dancing along with my fiddle playing. (They'll dance to anything. he he)
We got our daugther a suzuki teacher in May. She's flown through the twinkles and is now working up Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Her little brother received a banjo for his 4th birthday. It's a 4 string. Quite handy for a new strings teaching mama to have a new instrument with the same strings as the others. Playing open strings things is the same as violin.
Now if I could find a fingering chart for it, so we know where to place his fingers on the fret board.
Thanks so much for your blog and encourgement.

July 22, 2009 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Sherri said...

Yeah, still at it! My boys actually let me play the thing on stage with them! (That was a real treat because we had Bob Campbell playing fiddle with us that day and so Bob and I got to do twin fiddles on Old Slewfoot...) It was very exciting. And apparently I didn't do toooo bad, even Bob was complimentary. I listened to the recording afterwards and yeah, I was there, maybe not on the money the whole song, but it was a super hot day and everyone was getting tuckered out.

Just got a new bow too and my goodness, that really helped a lot. My bow I had was this NASTY student thing that I paid like $9 for... eeeiks. I found a really nice wood, and horsehair bow on ebay for $35 and it really really made a difference. Now I understand why some of the classical folk use bows that cost hundreds of dollars... it's HALF the instrument!!!!

So yeah, keeping at it! Thanks for the shove in the right direction!

Sherri

July 22, 2009 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger MrsL said...

I bought a new bow too, which made a difference; practice going well too, so pleased. :)

MrsL

xx

July 22, 2009 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi
Things are going well but I am having problems with 2 pegs and keeping the strings in tune. It was a vert inexpensive fiddle off ebay for 50. to 60. I can't remember now and it came with everything and it was made in china. So I think I got what I paid for at least I can try playing even though it's fustrating. Would a new bow really help? It dosen't sound like the one I listen to at the open mic night here in my town. Oh well. Thanks for a great web site Jenna I love reading it and can get good help from your other readers!

July 22, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

My bass player husband tuned my fiddle a whole octave too low - ha! For a whole two or three weeks I couldn't figure out why everything sounded awful, and I kept telling him it didn't sound right. He insisted it was in tune(which, technically, it was). While he was out of town, I attempted to re-tune and broke a string. When he returned, he helped me re-string, and got it tuned correctly. And since then...well, I've sort of fallen off the wagon. :( I have NOT lost interest, though. Just need to get back in the saddle.

July 22, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
OpenID belfountain said...

Going pretty well I think! I've pushed through the whole book now, can play most of the songs at least mediocre-ly, and maybe a couple pretty well. I loooove Blackest Crow, although I'm still getting used to this whole drone note business, and am saddened that none of the songs recommended for drone notes are played with drone notes on the CD... and I'm still having trouble with the sixteenth notes, especially going from A-G-F, like in Muley's Daughter... I've missed four or five days in the almost two months since I started, but it's become one of my favourite things to do - just sit down and play a couple tunes, and it usually turns into at least a half hour. I'm eager to order the next book, but know that I should really try to perfect the songs I'm working on before moving ahead... :)

July 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

@Anonymous: If you have an el cheapo fiddle, and the pegs (black wooden pegs near the scroll of the instrument) are poorly fitted and slip all the time, there’s something called “peg dope” you can get at any music store to make them stick better. If it’s crappy fine tuners (small metal screws near the tailpiece) or crappy strings…there’s really nothing you can do but replace them with better versions. One caution on these though--if you're a complete beginner, it's probably better to get some help on changing the strings/tuners. Bridge position and angle matters a lot.

July 22, 2009 at 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Sherri said...

oh yeah.... and don't take all the strings off at once... you don't want to drop the sound post inside the fiddle!!!

Don't ask me how I know that.

Ahem.

July 22, 2009 at 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Amber for the advise! I'm trying to find a place near me that could help if I'm to nervous to try to fix it or just in case I break something. Thanks Again!!!!

July 23, 2009 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

Yep, working on Buffalo Gals and Old Joe Clark now. Getting clean notes, without striking others, is my goal right now. I'll add ornamentation when I've got the tunes cleaned up. Are we going to post youtube videos at the end of the month?

July 23, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm still working at it, too. I kind of went sideways from the book for a bit to work on slower songs, like Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, and Simple Gifts, all of which I'm pretty good at right now. I am now back at the book (my car radio went out, so I couldn't listen to the CD (which was stuck inside) for almost a week--a terrible thing! It is now fixed, thank goodness) and will practice more tonight. I think I've missed two days' worth of practicing since I began.

@Anonymous--my original fiddle from Ebay cost $20, so I think I have you beat. :) If yours does sound really terrible, it might need new strings and yes, a new bow could help too. I have, however, seen quite a few older fiddles in great shape go for $50-$100 on ebay, so you might look for a new one if yours is a VSO (Violin Shaped Object) instead of a playable violin. :)

July 23, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Tessa said...

Hi, Jenna! I was one of the lurkers who wanted to join in on the summer challenge. I have yet to update on my progress for fear that I will be labeled worse off than an ignoramus. As of yet I’m not doing satisfactory. I just got new strings, which sound better. However, I'm struggling to keep it in tune. The next thing I need to try are some peg drops, from the sounds of it. I'm going to continue practicing though!

July 25, 2009 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

Anonymous (and anyone else): Just be careful buying the el cheapo violins. I got burned badly on one a bought off craigslist. It was a hunk of junk but I didn't know it at the time because it looked all shiny and good. At least with eBay you can read feedback and see what is said about the seller. Unfortunately, I have a $100 paperweight now.

July 25, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

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