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Utilizing the Nashville Shuffle, Georgia Shuffle, etc.
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Sean23
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October 25, 2016 - 9:54 am
Member Since: September 27, 2016
Forum Posts: 7
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Hey guys,

 

It seems a strange question for me to wonder this, because I do the rhythms on the guitar and mandolin all the time, but end of the day they are very different instruments... My question is, does anyone have any pointers/exercises on how to go about a) refining the accent on the shuffle rhythm to make it "bite", and b) how to incorporate a melody into the shuffle rhythm.

From a guitar/mandolin standpoint, I'm way more of a percussive, rhythmic player, as I usually already have a fiddle guy hammering away the melody.  This leaves me free to chop and use the melody as I see fit, and use it to provide a backdrop for the fiddle whilst I accentuate the driving rhythm.  This means I end up doing a melody quite a bit differently than I am able to effectively on the violin.  It also means that I am lacking a lot of strategies on how to incorporate the bow's movements (compared to a pick or fingers) into the melody, as it relates to a shuffle rhythm.

TLDR:  My Nashville Shuffle sucks.  Badly.  I'm having a hard time accentuating that "middle" beat.  And also, I'm having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around incorporating that rhythm into a melody effectively.  If anyone has any tips/exercises that are excellent for developing this, and/or some resources for using the shuffle rhythm in the context of a fiddle melody, I would be forever grateful!

Peace, Love, and the unending quest for Perfection,

Sean

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 26, 2016 - 10:28 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12783

If you are a little more specific in regards to the rhythm and run that you are dealing with, I'll give you more suggestions.

For now, I suggest you experiment with more notes on the up bow and using the down bow for the notes you want to "bite"accentuate. You'll have to move faster on the down bow to catch up to the longer slow up bow.
For example, in a 4 16th note rhythm you would play 3 slurred up and the last one down with a fast bow to equal the 3 up.
Let's follow up on this. Let me know how that works for you and what kind of rhythms you are dealing with.

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

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Sean23
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October 26, 2016 - 1:10 pm
Member Since: September 27, 2016
Forum Posts: 7
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Fiddlerman,

 

You are some seriously awesome stuff, man.  Your advice is pretty much what I was looking for from a bowing perspective.  As far as rhythms and tunes go, I'm not really working towards any tune in particular...  I'm just fiddling with the basic rhythm, and trying to find ways to incorporate it into melodies I hear in my head, more or less.  For me, the violin process is less about learning tunes already written than it is about opening sonic doors to allow my musical brain to walk through.  I mostly plan to use it to compose original material (in whichever style happens to tickle my fancy at the time).  I get the idea behind the technique, but I am still very much a novice of the violin, and lack the technical ability to really make things shine like a journeyman can.  So I'm basically trying to absorb as much as I can, so I have a large compendium of techniques to work on.  The Nashville Shuffle and Georgia Shuffle are familiar to me as they relate to picking technique (something I've got quite a lot more proficiency in), and phrasing rhythmically, but I've not had much chance to explore it on a mostly melodic context, and am for some reason having a bit of difficulty with it.

For example, in Boil Them Cabbage Down, the melody is very simple, and very straightforward... But you never hear anyone play it like that.  Even applying the Nashville Shuffle to the melody just sounds...weak.  Unexpressive.  There are lots of double stops and whatnot going on in this kind of stuff, and being new to the instrument, I'm not comfortable discerning what exactly is occuring from a technical standpoint.  Even when I try to add the double stops in, as I would on a mandolin, or guitar, it just doesn't sound right.  The double stops and harmonized notes aren't where they need to be on the fiddle to get that "sound".  Throwing the little bit of a string or e string on the melody (for a tune in d, for example) to make that cool harmonized sound just doesn't translate as easily as adding that shuffle rhythm to the double stops/harmonized notes.  There's something else going on.  The groove.  The "bells and whistles" of the tune, as it were...  That's the real crux.  Typically it seems any kind of run on the melody is played normally (mostly exempt from the shuffle bowing pattern, but still with feel/accent), with the double stops placed in such a way as to work in tandem with hammer-ons, pull-offs, and emphasis on the up beat.  Indeed, it's a case of easy to say, hard to do.  I'm just basically fishing for ideas on how to make things sound the way they should.  I've crushed a couple of hours worth of instructional videos, and they're basically the same thing:  Violinist plays the simple shuffle on an open string or an easy 1st position note, then plays the melody without the shuffle, the melody with the shuffle rhythm (sounding all unexpressive and bland like me when I do it), and then proceeds to put it all together and play something that sounds absolutely amazing, but has a -ton- of extra stuff in it to make it sound that way.  Incidentally, that stuff isn't covered.  And that's the basic gist of my issue.  In my folk-punk band, my fiddle player does this stuff all the time.  He's got it all internalized.  However, due to him being totally self-taught, it's all just internalized to him, and he doesn't know how to explain what he's doing.  He just does it.  My instructor does it, and knows how to do it, and tries to show me ideas, but for some reason my brain just isn't piecing it together.  I just can't help but think I'm missing a really important piece to the puzzle (which may end up being my very sloppy novice bow technique).

 

Thank you for your time.  You guys really are the best.  My instructor is really awesome, and all, but I'm starting to suspect I learn just as much creeping and posting here.

Peace, Love, and the pursuit of Perfection,

-Sean

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Schaick
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October 27, 2016 - 7:35 am
Member Since: December 25, 2013
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When I first started thinking about bluegrass shuffling, I did not get the phrasing idea!!  

I thought the shuffle needed to be throughout the whole tune.  I did not get the phrasing idea!!  

An awesome fiddler @fiddlinsteudel said, "don't over do the shuffle."  I was getting closer to understanding.  Another fiddler on this forum said the same thing.

Then @fiddlerguy helped me figure out the bowing for Shove the Pig's Foot Further in the Fire.  I get the phrasing!!  Now I need to reproduce what is in my head!!

I found a good video -

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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Sean23
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October 27, 2016 - 1:07 pm
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Schaik,

 

That video was very helpful as well.  As with fiddlerman's suggestion, I have a good idea of where to start.  Pretty much what I was looking for.

 

Thank you.

 

Peace, Love, and the pursuit of Perfection,

 

Sean

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 28, 2016 - 9:35 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12783

Sean23 said
Fiddlerman,
You are some seriously awesome stuff, man.............

You are too kind. 😉 Thanks

Thank you for your time.  You guys really are the best.  My instructor is really awesome, and all, but I'm starting to suspect I learn just as much creeping and posting here.

I think you are right. Don't cut anything out, just add as much as possible. The more sources you listen to, the more you learn. One person can simply not know everything, even though I keep telling myself that I do. 😉

Peace, Love, and the pursuit of Perfection,

-Sean  

All those things back at you, and more!!!

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

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fiddlinsteudel
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November 19, 2016 - 5:28 pm
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As a addendum (and something contrary to what I was quoted), if you are learning the shuffle, add it in EVERYWHERE. Over do it. Once you have learned it, then dial it back. But it's a great learning exercise and a great way to learn if you try and use it everywhere. You'll run into places where it works great, or doesn't work, and you may find that a different shuffle works better in that place.

TLDR: When you are practicing it (that may include jams, etc.), use it everywhere! When you are performing it, use it judiciously.

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Schaick
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November 21, 2016 - 8:54 am
Member Since: December 25, 2013
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fiddlinsteudel said
As a addendum (and something contrary to what I was quoted), if you are learning the shuffle, add it in EVERYWHERE. Over do it. Once you have learned it, then dial it back. But it's a great learning exercise and a great way to learn if you try and use it everywhere. You'll run into places where it works great, or doesn't work, and you may find that a different shuffle works better in that place.

TLDR: When you are practicing it (that may include jams, etc.), use it everywhere! When you are performing it, use it judiciously.  

So glad you popped in and clarified!!

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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