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The New Old Guy Re-Entering the String World
A personal view of the start of a journey into music and the viola.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (128 votes) 
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ELCBK
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November 10, 2021 - 3:53 pm
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@JohnG -

So happy to hear about your 'Ah, Ha!' moment!  🤗 

I had an 'Ah, Ha!' moment when I wrapped a ¼" strip of tape around my bow stick, to extend the finger cushion (near the frog) on my bow. 

Narrowing that space between the cushion and the frog keeps my thumb from slipping around, so I can have a relaxed/curved thumb that sits nice without me squeezing! 

 

- Emily

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stringy
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November 10, 2021 - 5:36 pm
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Still enjoying your blog john, I was interested in your chopper days as well. I have never served in the military but have the utmost respect for those who have, my father was in the royal navy and used to tell me lots of tales of the sea and warfare when I was a kid, I was actually going tO join the merchant navy when I left school but he disuaded me, Looking back now I think he was scared I would end up in the royal navy and didnt want me ending up in a war somewhere.

Read a good book once about chopppers in Vietnam called chickenhawk not quite the same as experiencing it first hand though, not that I would want to.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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stringy
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November 10, 2021 - 5:42 pm
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By the way, not noticed it in your tune list, but you may have already tried it, if not ,a great tune ,which is simple and very impressive as well as excellent for intonation and finger placement, really good for improving tone as well, is ode to joy, easy to get into and play and was the first tune I learned, beautiful piece of music.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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JohnG
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November 10, 2021 - 8:23 pm
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@stringy - Glad you're sticking with me! Thanks!

Before I was a door gunner in Vietnam, I was a tank gunner up near the DMZ in Korea for 13 months! Enjoyed both of the jobs, better than slogging through rice paddies or jungles. And Chickenhawk is an excellent book, read it several times and it is in my library at home.

I practiced Ode to Joy for awhile when first learning (from the Hal Leonard Learning Strings book). I have recently added Ode to Joy from sheet music that I got from somewhere. Bottom line is it is an excellent learning piece, which is why I came back to it!

Thank you for the suggestion.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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November 11, 2021 - 4:05 pm
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Another day, another hour. Same repertoire. Even better holding the viola today. In addition to the rest changes, trimmed my beard, so not a soft, sliding cushion! lol

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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November 12, 2021 - 8:37 pm
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No practice today, though I may pick up my viola for a couple of tunes before bed. It's been a triple whammy day. Least obnoxious was a $600 bill at the vet for annual exam of our two cats! Next was the death of former neighbor of over 40 years, who just moved to Arizona a couple of years ago with his wife of 48 years, from a massive infection in his stomach/intestines. And then the revelation from my radiation oncologist that he and my hematological oncologist and endocrinology oncologist (yes, I have the honor of three oncologists) have come to the conclusion that systemic means will probably be needed to curb my cancer. January tests will probably be the deciding factor. Unknown what kind of treatment/chemo will be needed.

So, it's been kinda bummer day. Pardon me while a wallow in a bit of self pity!

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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November 13, 2021 - 12:58 am
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@JohnG -

Wow, you HAVE had a terrible day. 

I'm really sorry to hear that. 

The Cats I understand - take ours to a Cat-only Vet.  Bugsy needs a special diet, Madmartigan has to eat it too - because we can't feed them separately.  All of it costs us a fortune. 

Your neighbor was a good friend?  Terrible - truly hope he didn't suffer long. 

I certainly wish things change for you by January, when you have more tests. 

 

 

Hope you have much better days from now on! 

- Emily

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JohnG
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November 13, 2021 - 12:37 pm
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@ELCBK - Our friend and his family were our very close friends for decades. He went into ER very early Wednesday morning and died Thursday, mid morning. But enough of that, today we celebrate our son's eldest son's birthday (15!). Definitely looking forward to it! 

Oh, and I never did play my viola yesterday. Hopefully I won't be too tired after we get home tonight.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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November 13, 2021 - 8:56 pm
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Interesting day! I took my viola to our son's house for his eldest son's birthday party and I actually played Amazing Grace, Wayfaring Stranger and a little improv, but even better, our son, daughter-in-law, and all four sons actually tried it out. Our son was even able to play Amazing Grace, even though he is a trombone and baritone player. He has said he can play it on almost any instrument that he tries!

Here I am teaching beginning Viola 001. Fun times

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The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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November 13, 2021 - 9:49 pm
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@JohnG -

WHAT A GREAT DAY! 🤗 

Really nice to hear you played for everyone!

What age is the youngest of the 4? 

All my Grandkids, except the youngest, have tried bowing my violin, but it's too big & heavy for them to do anything more.  My oldest Grandson turned 5 a couple months ago - been thinking he's the one to introduce to the little ½ size violin I have.  Don't think I want to start with it as a Christmas gift, cause all the Kids are crazy wild at Christmas time!

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JohnG
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November 13, 2021 - 10:03 pm
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@ELCBK - Youngest are 6 and 8 (these are the two in the picture). The other two are 13 and 15. The youngest is so small, he couldn't reach the finger board, so I changed the intonation with my fingers!

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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November 14, 2021 - 11:34 pm
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Added Greenfields to the list with just a quick run-through, the rest of the hour was the usual repertoire. Felt good to play again for the entire hour.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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November 16, 2021 - 12:37 am
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Same routine as last night, including the new addition of Greenfields, for an hour. Spent a little more time on the first section of Greenfields and got through it fairly well. Another day or two, and should be able to attack the next section. The improv on Amazing Grace and Wayfaring Stranger seems to be getting a little better. All in all, I'm pleased with my progress, slow though it may be. Blackest Crow may be getting close to being able to record and share.

The old curmudgeon!

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Fiddlerman
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November 16, 2021 - 12:47 pm
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Great news John. Turning more people on to the Viola. Yeeeeee Haaaaaa!!!!!

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

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JohnG
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November 16, 2021 - 9:48 pm
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Fiddlerman said
Great news John. Turning more people on to the Viola. Yeeeeee Haaaaaa!!!!!  

@Fiddlerman - Just doin' my lil bit!

Got another hour in tonight playing the same ole stuff, but added a brief run through of Danny Boy, just to shake things up a bit. I continue to try improv on Amazing Grace and Wayfaring Stranger to loosen myself up a bit. I've almost always been a "follow the sheet music" kinda guy unless playing just improv with no base. This is the first time I've tried to keep it in the theme of an actual piece. Refreshing!

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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November 19, 2021 - 12:16 am
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Missed another day, yesterday, but got in my hour tonight. I did have to divide into two 1/2 hour sessions since I got a pinched nerve in my neck for a short period of time. First time for that while practicing. Did the same repertoire as Tuesday.

Tomorrow I'll be trying out the new A/V Lab. Probably won't do anything to post, but just going to try and learn the equipment including the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd gen) USB Audio Interface, plus learn the difference in tonal quality of the Shure SM57 instrument microphone and the SM58 vocal microphone and what the best distance/angle should be used. Will try be getting a little help with the iPad in the Padcaster iPad AV rig. Since I'm not a Mac/iPad user, it should be interesting.

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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November 19, 2021 - 12:36 am
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@JohnG -

It would be wonderful if you could post something in the "Recording the Violin" section, when you start! 

Everyone will want to use your info for a long time... well until recording equipment becomes obsolete. 🤣

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JohnG
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November 19, 2021 - 6:44 pm
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@ELCBK - Will start that topic soon, but had to show my first video taken today. As I was getting ready for this shot, I heard a light popping noise, but couldn't figure out what it was. Turns out it was a peg loosening up. When I started to play a second and third did the same. So the terrible sound isn't a bowing error on my part.

This video is "non-published" and won't show up on my channel (for obvious reasons). The original was shot with a green screen and then edited in Corel's VisualStudio adding a picture that I took many years ago, in California.

Hope you enjoy it!

First Elk Grove Vlg A/V Lab Video enhanced

And here before enhancement.

First Elk Grove Vlg A/V Lab Video

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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November 19, 2021 - 7:39 pm
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@JohnG -  

 

Makes me glad I have geared pegs! 

Your photo is beautiful & the back screen is VERY impressive! 

LOVE IT!

 

Wow, you just gave me a great idea... 

I can't wear my dentures for very long because they hurt too much &

I'm not getting anything fixed until they figure out what's going on with covid. 

🤔 Never thought of just wearing a mask! 

Thank you! 

When are you going to learn "Hotel California"? 

- Emily

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JohnG
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November 19, 2021 - 9:19 pm
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One last video from today here in the blog. This was the fourth test and I not only added overlay from greenscreen, but also added a title! Once again, backdrop is a photo I took many years ago in California.

Fourth A/V Lab Test Video with Overlay and Titles

The old curmudgeon!

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