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My Bluegrass Fiddle practice videos
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 17, 2014 - 7:07 pm
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I was hoping to hear some feedback about my playing as I just noticed this "critique" section here the other day. When I feel brave enouh to post some videos, I'll post them here on this thread.

This was part of what my fiddle instructor taught me on my lesson on skype Saturday afternoon. This song is a Bill Monroe number called "Rose Of Ole Kentucky" and the fiddle solo is by Chubby Wise. 

It's comonly played in B or Bflat and it has alot of blues notes and slides. I just started learning this two days ago and its like 100 degrees here today in Argentina and I dont have AC lol. I was also a bit nervous but I hope you guys like it.

Im curious to hear any tips, pointers, critiques from anyone.....thanks!http://youtu.be/99lbIoy59b0

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Schaick
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November 18, 2014 - 8:21 am
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@EricBluegrassFiddle

Great playing of a great song!!  I know the person - do not know that tune.  That is one thing at jam - everyone is talking about all these different people and their songs and I have no idea who they are.  I run home and search them out.  What did we do before the internet!?! 

Chubby Wise - I need to check him out.

The only thing I can see is that you are using the chin rest as a... chin rest.  It should really be called a jaw rest!!  

p.s. Using the rest as a jaw rest is a more natural position and will help you keep from getting a kink in your neck.  It will also keep you from straining your back and shoulder muscles.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 18, 2014 - 8:36 am
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Schaick said
@EricBluegrassFiddle

Great playing of a great song!!  I know the person - do not know that tune.  That is one thing at jam - everyone is talking about all these different people and their songs and I have no idea who they are.  I run home and search them out.  What did we do before the internet!?! 

Chubby Wise - I need to check him out.

The only thing I can see is that you are using the chin rest as a... chin rest.  It should really be called a jaw rest!!

Yes, I thought about that recently. I know lot's of folks play with their head kinda turned to the side a little, fiddlerman does too. My question is, how do you see the fingerboard the other way? Actually, it's probably a crutch, but when I'm looking down the fingerboard, Im actually watching to make sure the bow stays nice and straight, and occasionally glancing down the fingerboard as well.

Even so it feels pretty comfortable so far but does it look a bit weird, tense?

 

You said: p.s. Using the rest as a jaw rest is a more natural position and will help you keep from getting a kink in your neck.  It will also keep you from straining your back and shoulder muscles.I just saw this, can you show me some examples of what you mean?

 

A little about Chubby: "Chubby Wise" was an old country/swing fiddler from "Lake City" Florida ( just north of Gainesville Florida off of I-75 on your way to Atlanta ) and was the fiddler player for Bill Monroe during what they call "the golden years" of Bluegrass. Basically this was when Bill Monroe also had Flatt & Scruggs as part of their band and Chubby was the fiddler. They were at the Grand Ole Opry and were one of the hottes acts of the day.

Chubby claims he co-wrote "The Orange Blossom Special" although there's some debate about that. Anways, "OBS" was his signature tune and he was one of the first fiddlers to make it famous and play it on the "Grand Ole Opry"

Chubby was a very gentle man and short and a bit chubby, hence the nickname. Because he was one of the early fiddlers, alot of Bluegrass fiddlers will study his material early on as it kinda gives you "the rock" with which to build upon everything else. Lot's of bluesy slides, long bows, pentatonic scales but in closed positions in "B" "Bflat" and "C"

Later he also played with Hank Snow and Merle Haggard but always retained his first love for Bluegrass, making guest appearances.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chubby_Wise

 

here's some videos if you're interested:

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Fiddlerman
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November 18, 2014 - 11:04 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Great job Eric. Personally I'm perfectly fine with the way you're holding the fiddle. Just don't press so much that you get any neck pains. If you are relaxed I think it's great.

Don't loose sight of the time/rhythm/beat . This piece is in 4/4 and the listener WANTS to beat his foot and stomp while you are playing but doesn't know where to beat. You start a pickup on 3 so place an accent on the 1st beat. For the fun of it, count out loud some time while playing (or in your head ;0) I'm not sure you are understanding the rhythm 100% at this time. Don't get me wrong, you sound great, especially for the amount of time you have been playing.

Intonation is always an issue (for everyone not just you), and in some cases not as important as one might think (can be charming to be a little dirty), however, it's something that everyone can get disturbed by and sometimes not even know why they are bothered. Your intonation is not bad but always work on getting the notes more in tune. Practice a few times real slowly with concentration on every note. I know you hear it because you are obviously very musical.

I love your style. Keep up the great work, and thanks for the post. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 18, 2014 - 11:25 am
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Pierre I REALLY appreciate the thoughtful insight and the time you've taken to respond and listen.

Great job Eric. Personally I'm perfectly fine with the way you're holding the fiddle. Just don't press so much that you get any neck pains. If you are relaxed I think it's great.  - Ok great...so far it's not been an issue I don't notice any discomfort but if I do I'll examine that.

Don't loose sight of the time/rhythm/beat . This piece is in 4/4 and the listener WANTS to beat his foot and stomp while you are playing but doesn't know where to beat. You start a pickup on 3 so place an accent on the 1st beat. For the fun of it, count out loud some time while playing (or in your head ;0) I'm not sure you are understanding the rhythm 100% at this time. Don't get me wrong, you sound great, especially for the amount of time you have been playing - This is interesting that you mention this because on Saturday, and again after watching this same video, my Fiddle teacher challenged me and he said: "Eric, I don't know if you realize this, but you subconciously add a "shuffle" to everything you do. He said a shuffle in and of itself is not a bad thing, just learn to "choose your battles" rythmically and learn some independent bowing and learn to mix it up. He game me some scale excercises to do to help remedy this and change it. I think its gonna be a bit of a challenge because it's been so subconciously ingrained in my bowing. Either way, I agree it's sloppy, and it sounds kinda "blah" to me, and not "spirited" sounding. I will say, when I have the metronome in my ear ( which I didn't in this case because I can't film and play the metronome at the same time ) I can lock onto the beat alot better. However, I need to have as rock solid timing as possible without hearing the beat as well, and it exposes a weakness in my bowing and timing.

 

Intonation is always an issue (for everyone not just you), and in some cases not as important as one might think (can be charming to be a little dirty), however, it's something that everyone can get disturbed by and sometimes not even know why they are bothered. Your intonation is not bad but always work on getting the notes more in tune. Practice a few times real slowly with concentration on every note. I know you hear it because you are obviously very musical - I know, let's face it, my intonation is also sloppy at times, and sometimes I catch it and alot of times I don't LOL. I'll get lazy and start playing through stuff and letting things slide at times in my playing a bit too much. I think sometimes also what happens is when I slide or push up to a note, I push a little too far or I dont come back and let my fingers fall back squarely on the notes in tune. I think that's another thing I need to do while playing is listening and pushing myself and really paying attention to trying to get those notes in tune.

 

Thanks again for the great feedback, I was hoping you'd give it a listen over and I appreciate you taking the time to point these things out to me.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Fiddlerman
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November 18, 2014 - 3:46 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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It's my pleasure and you got yourself another badge too. ;)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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1stimestar
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November 18, 2014 - 6:31 pm
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I play Faded Love and really like this version.  Hadn't heard Chubby play it before.  Thanks.

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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Schaick
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November 18, 2014 - 9:58 pm
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@EricBluegrassFiddle

Most of the time I don't look at my fingers or my bowing.  Have even closed my eyes at times.  Did you see my disclaimer at the bottom of my posts?

Started my journey to being a violinist in May of 2013.  Any advice I offer - please verify with someone who really knows what they are talking about!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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Fiddlerman
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November 18, 2014 - 10:37 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Schaick said

@EricBluegrassFiddle

Most of the time I don't look at my fingers or my bowing.  Have even closed my eyes at times.  Did you see my disclaimer at the bottom of my posts?

Started my journey to being a violinist in May of 2013.  Any advice I offer - please verify with someone who really knows what they are talking about!!

LOL, It's great that you offer advice. There is a lot to be said that supports your suggestion. Tension can be hard to detect. Sometimes a persons strength and will-power can over come it, but in the long run that person can develop hard to cure ailments related to that tension.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 19, 2014 - 11:43 am
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LOL, for me, right now.... taking my eyes off of that bow "contact point" between the bridge and the fingerboard would be akin to me driving down a steep mountainside, blindfolded on an icy highway somewhere north of Barrow Alaska LOL...

 

I guess I'm a "contact point" junky still at this point....

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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DanielB
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November 19, 2014 - 1:20 pm
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Hi Eric.

I don't usually chime in on critique threads, since I'm not a big believer in critique.  But your mention of taking your eyes off the contact point feeling like driving down a mountain blindfolded brings a few ideas to mind that you might try to see if they work for you.

Try just walking through the house as you play.  To navigate, you'll need to at least glance away from the contact point now and then, and it may weaken that habit.

Next would be to consider why you are looking at the contact point.  You are looking there for a reason.  What is it that you are mostly making sure of?

If you are doing it mostly to make sure you are on the string (or pair) you intend to be on, then maybe some open string bowing at the beginning of the session to refresh the muscle memory and warm up could help.  Or maybe even just rolling the bow silently from E to G (assuming "standard" tuning) a few times to confirm how each string or pair feels and where your bowing arm needs to be for them might be enough.

If you are doing it to make sure you have the bow where you intend it to be on the string, you could try doing each of your bowing exercises in each "lane" and listening to hear how they sound different.   As it was explained to me a while back, you have a choice of sounding points, where the bow meets the string.  They can be thought of as "lanes" that are a little over the width of the bow hair "band" and go from right next to the bridge to just over the end of the fingerboard.  You can play in each one, and they have a different character they lend to your sound, a different timbre to work with, and the response will be a little different in each.  If you practice some in each, you can get used to knowing where you are by the sound and feel you're getting and don't need your eyes there for that anymore.

If it is to keep the bow going straight, then again, it ends up practice and exercises and figuring out where it tries to drift when you're playing, so you can figure out the cause and how to fix it.  Much as I usually avoid actual critique, I noted in your vid that you're letting the scroll hang pretty low.  If that's your thing, cool, but beginners are usually advised to keep the fingerboard level to the floor.  The reason is that if you let the fingerboard "run downhill" then gravity will make the bow tend to want to keep trying to drift downhill.  Then you compensate for that and you may overshoot or undershoot and the bow can end up drifting a fair bit. 

Now that tendency can also be posture issues.  Not trying to sound like your mom here, but if you stand mostly relaxed and straight when playing, a lot of things go easier for most folks, and your back and neck are likely to thank you for it in long sessions. 

An easy little trick you might want to try for posture.. I notice that you bring the violin up to your shoulder to play.  That can lead to starting from a a partially hunched position.  Try raising the violin up a bit, like you're holding it up for folks to see, and settling it *down* onto your shoulder and collarbone.  Doing it that way naturally squares the shoulder just a little and helps make sure the violin settles down more securely on the body before you settle your jaw on the chinrest.  Sounds silly or trivial maybe, but I found it to help my own tendency to "lean into the instrument". 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 21, 2014 - 1:12 pm
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Here's another version of this song by the DelMcCoury Band with Vince Gill singing. It's in B and played fast! Fast forward to 1:04 and you'll hear a kinda "souped up" modernized version of what I'm learning LOL...

These guys are one of the top groups out their right now in Bluegrass....

 

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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I have a new video of a new song I just started with my fiddle instructor. It's a standard Bluegrass sonf, key of A called: "Little Cabin Home On The Hill" ....I just started on it. Kinda bluesy, has some slides. Its not supposed to be played very syncopated so I have some work to do on the bowing and intonation. This is the simple solo for the song

http://youtu.be/fEMLUmQgnTQ

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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coolpinkone
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Very very very cool...  Way to manage that bow!

Awesome...thanks for sharing.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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coolpinkone said
Very very very cool...  Way to manage that bow!

Awesome...thanks for sharing.

Thanks, I'll post practice videos here from time to time.

My fiddle teacher told me to play this as smoothe as I can with as much long bow as possible, not syncopated at all. Which, for me, makes it harder...it's easier for me to chop it up a bit more! I notice my intonation is still "so so" even thopugh I've been working on it. When I play along with the recordings my intonation seems pretty much dead on, it's only when I play without it....LOL

Also, I'm lifting the pinky a bit when I down bow, some folks say it's ok to do that, some don't...

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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SecondFiddle
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December 15, 2014 - 2:58 pm
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You're sounding and looking good!

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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SecondFiddle said
You're sounding and looking good!

Thanks.....I'm looking forward to a new year of Fiddle learning! 

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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KindaScratchy
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December 15, 2014 - 9:00 pm
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Very nice, Eric. @EricBluegrassFiddle I've been working on Little Cabin Home on the Hill, too, because it's been played at the slow bluegrass jams I've been attending. I'm struggling with getting that fiddly bluegrass sound so I'll be watching your video over and over again for inspiration. :

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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Fiddlestix
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I also am fine with the way you hold the violin / fiddle (in this case).

I hold mine pretty much the same. I like hearing with both ears the sound coming out, kinda "stereo"

Good job, Eric. Keep it up.violin-1267

Here's another Chubby tune I like a lot and learned some month's back.

 

Ken.    

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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December 16, 2014 - 7:44 am
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Thanks for that link "Fiddlestix! - That's the fiddler's style that I'm studying right now with my fiddle professor from NC. Chubby is part of what they call the "1st generation Bluegrass fiddlers" and most Bluegrass fiddlers when they start out ( like me ) will study Chubby's style. Chubby was a country n' western, swing fiddler from Lake City Florida when he started with Bill Monroe.

My teacher told me with "Little Cabin Home On The Hill" play it with as much long bow as you can and make the slides and pull offs as pronounced as possible. He told me it shouldn't be syncopated sounding at all....kinda smoothe and gentle. He told me vibrato is rarely used in Bluegrass, just maybe the endings of notes or a few notes here and there, nothing more than a gentle vibrato, which Chubby used sometimes. However, he told me not to worry about vibrato now, that will come later. Just long bows, loose wrist and playing it smoothe.

I've also just learned "When You Are Lonely" I learned it in the key of "G" and also up the neck in "C" but I haven't recorded it yet.

You know, holding the fiddle this way is pretty comfortable for me...I can even slide up to 3rd position a bit when I need to. I'm finding the more I play the fiddle, the more I'm moving around and putting more of my body into playing, it just feels natural that way. A little bit more than usual, let's put it that way. Some passages I might bring the fiddle higher, some stuff dip it down a bit etc....just seems natural. You can really get your whole body into playing this instrument, I know it sounds weird but it seems the more I play, the more I'm that way I dunno.

KindaScratchy - I wonder if my set-up has anything to do with my sound? I have the action REALLY low and my bridge is fitted well, but I flattened it just a little not a whole lot, but it's definately not as arched as a classical players bridge, kinda follows more the curvature of the fingerboard, still a bit flatter on the "G" and "D" string side. I wouldn't wanna make it too flat, but I like it this way, seems to work for me. I can get by with LOOW action cause I use cheapie "steel strings" if I was using helicores or gut strings, I'd have to cut a new bridge I guess. But I like that raw and rough steel string sound.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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