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Dec 2, 2021 - 7:24:17 PM
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121 posts since 5/8/2021

I was cleaning out some closets a few days ago and found my old violin from when I took lessons in elementary school. I thought about selling it, but since I'm a teacher (and it's just a cheap beginner violin) I think I better hold onto it in case I ever find myself teaching at a school with a string program.

So in the meantime, I'm wondering how difficult would it be to learn some fiddle tunes on it. I was able to teach myself banjo pretty well, but I'm thinking fiddle might be a completely different can of worms.

Edited by - struggle_bus on 12/02/2021 19:25:42

Dec 2, 2021 - 7:39:52 PM

286 posts since 10/26/2018

Different can, similar worms.
Embrace the noise is my advice, there ~will~ be lots of what might be considered noise. :-)
The bow is the hard part if you're already familiar with fretless, if not, intonation is will require focus too. You already know the tunes, that is half the battle. Well, maybe 1/3 the battle. Good luck to you!

Dec 2, 2021 - 8:06:32 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

61598 posts since 10/5/2013

Good luck, love fiddle music. Maybe get a mute. laugh

Dec 3, 2021 - 8:19:49 AM
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2970 posts since 2/10/2013

Here is some advice, and it is based on personal experience -

1. If you haven't had fiddle lessons, go online and Gordon Stobbes DVD "12 Things Your Right Hand Should Know". It does a fine job of demonstrating effective bowing. Better than all the violin and fiddle instructors I ever had.

2. On Youtube, fiddler/violinist FiddleHed has some excellent instructionals. And they are free.

3. If you can read standard music notation, using the website I mentioned (i.e. FiddleHed), Gordon Stobbe's DVD. and a book/CD like Brian Wicklund's "The American Fiddle Method - Volume 2" will enable you learn to play fiddle.

Here is why I recommend Stobbe's DVD. DON'T START OUT PRACTICING MISTAKES. Bowing is the key to fiddling, and this DVD "beats" just about anything else you can use. If you plan on learning to play fiddle, go on Youtube and spend lots of time listenings to fiddlers who play the music you want to learn to play.

Edited by - Richard Hauser on 12/03/2021 08:20:21

Dec 3, 2021 - 8:32:30 AM

424 posts since 4/11/2019

I started playing music on the mandolin. No expert, but I could pick out a tune.

After a few years I thought it would be easy enough to add the fiddle, the fingering and scales are the same.

The part I could never get over was my right hand - once I was able to really get going on a fiddle tune, my right hand would revert to "mandolin mode" and bow would go sideways.

Dec 5, 2021 - 8:17:50 AM

2970 posts since 2/10/2013

Bowing is the key to good fiddling. And you must absolutely learn to relax and physically allow things to happen. IMHO, a fretted instrument that is fingerpicked or flatpicked WILL NOT help someone with their bowing. Finally, it is a lot easier to "mouth" the words relax than it is to accomplish it. Relaxation improves tune, speed, and requires less energy.

On the fiddle, the noting fingers should apply just a little pressure. If you try this, you will be pleasantly surprised. Nothing like a fretted instrument.

Dec 5, 2021 - 8:25:45 AM

534 posts since 5/29/2015

I would never recommend classical music lessons as a starting point to someone who does not already understand how popular music works, but a classical violin instructor can do an excellent job of training how to hold the violin, use a shoulder pad, and bowing technique(S). The differences are so striking that I can tell from a hundred yards away (by sight) whether a fiddle player started out classically trained or learned in the holler. Classical technique is built on creating efficiency, tone, precision, and speed.

Dec 8, 2021 - 3:22:26 PM
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2970 posts since 2/10/2013

I agree with Rob, but only up to a point. Classical training can help learn the basics. But as soon as possible, the student must "move away" from classical material and focus on learning to sound like a fiddler. If the person does not do this, they will sound like a violinist trying to play a fiddle tune. Even Itzhak Perlman, a world class violinist, did not sound sound like a fiddler when he played a fiddle tune. There are a lot of techniques violinists learn that are of no use to fiddlers. And, there are techniques fiddlers learn that violinists do not use.
Many fiddlers learn from more experienced fiddlers. There are exceptions, but I get the impression most famous fiddlers, like the late Byron Berline, started very young and learned to play from other experienced fiddlers - like his dad.

Dec 9, 2021 - 6:11:04 AM
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carlb

USA

2324 posts since 12/16/2007

Though I knew many tunes, in my head, from playing clawhammer banjo, it was two years before I would play the fiddle in public.

Dec 9, 2021 - 9:19:53 AM
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132 posts since 11/9/2021

Yeah it takes me all of 30 seconds to know if a fiddler was first trained to play classical, and when I ask, I'm never wrong. Bowing IS hard, but I think what is more important is intonation. That is something you never have to stop practicing, being off by a fraction of a millimeter is the difference between a sweet sounding tune and a sour one. For that, its scales, scales and then more scales. Use the open strings as drones and listen for the harmony to know if your out of position. For bowing, try to use the middle length of the bow, put tape on the bow so you know where to start and end. Dont use too much pressure.

And if you have a nice secluded place to practice, like a garage or shed, you can do so without the fact that you sound like a bag of screaming cats bother other folks (and be on your mind). Free to sound as crappy as you might. It will get better!

Dec 9, 2021 - 10:07:04 AM
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127 posts since 2/7/2020

The Strum Machine app is an infinitely patient accompanist, for $5 a month. Good for helping with timing and intonation.

Dec 9, 2021 - 4:49:46 PM
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RV6

USA

1417 posts since 2/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hauser

Here is some advice, and it is based on personal experience -

1. If you haven't had fiddle lessons, go online and Gordon Stobbes DVD "12 Things Your Right Hand Should Know". It does a fine job of demonstrating effective bowing. Better than all the violin and fiddle instructors I ever had.

2. On Youtube, fiddler/violinist FiddleHed has some excellent instructionals. And they are free.

3. If you can read standard music notation, using the website I mentioned (i.e. FiddleHed), Gordon Stobbe's DVD. and a book/CD like Brian Wicklund's "The American Fiddle Method - Volume 2" will enable you learn to play fiddle.

Here is why I recommend Stobbe's DVD. DON'T START OUT PRACTICING MISTAKES. Bowing is the key to fiddling, and this DVD "beats" just about anything else you can use. If you plan on learning to play fiddle, go on Youtube and spend lots of time listenings to fiddlers who play the music you want to learn to play.


I agree with Richard's recommendations and advice.   Stobbe and Fiddlehed are great resources for beginners and I bought the Stobbe video based on his advice.

I started on the fiddle two years ago after playing old time music on the banjo for 7 years.  I've been playing banjo with an old time group for 4 years, admiring the fiddle playing of the member's of the group and thought I'd give it a try at 72 years of age.   I had a lot of "fiddle tunes" in my head and I think that made my progress on the fiddle a bit easier.  I can now play along with 30 plus tunes that I recorded of the group, up to speed and am pretty dang tickled.   In fact, I spend my time playing the fiddle most of the time.   I play banjo with this group every week but the rest of the week, I can't get enough fiddle.   I know I'll never be a good enough fiddle player to play with this group but that doesn't discourage me in my fiddle playing.   I just want to be better tomorrow than I am today.

Dec 9, 2021 - 8:31:07 PM

286 posts since 10/26/2018

quote:
Originally posted by RV6
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hauser

Here is some advice, and it is based on personal experience -

1. If you haven't had fiddle lessons, go online and Gordon Stobbes DVD "12 Things Your Right Hand Should Know". It does a fine job of demonstrating effective bowing. Better than all the violin and fiddle instructors I ever had.
 


I agree with Richard's recommendations and advice.   Stobbe and Fiddlehed are great resources for beginners and I bought the Stobbe video based on his advice.

I started on the fiddle two years ago after playing old time music on the banjo for 7 years.  I've been playing banjo with an old time group for 4 years, admiring the fiddle playing of the member's of the group and thought I'd give it a try at 72 years of age.   I had a lot of "fiddle tunes" in my head and I think that made my progress on the fiddle a bit easier.  I can now play along with 30 plus tunes that I recorded of the group, up to speed and am pretty dang tickled.   In fact, I spend my time playing the fiddle most of the time.   I play banjo with this group every week but the rest of the week, I can't get enough fiddle.   I know I'll never be a good enough fiddle player to play with this group but that doesn't discourage me in my fiddle playing.   I just want to be better tomorrow than I am today.


Bob, those folks are a pretty nice bunch and I'm sure they'd be tickled to know how they've inspired you and would likely encourage you to give them a tune or two wink??????

- Billy

Edited by - WVDreamin on 12/09/2021 20:33:34

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