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Stuff Smith - Jazz Violinist
1st Violinist to amplify electrically (?)
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ELCBK
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August 17, 2022 - 4:23 am
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Stuff Smith - Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith

I had been wondering who is known for being the 1st professional violinist to electrically amplify their violin, but never got around to searching - so, surprised I stumbled upon this! 

Great article in Strings Magazine (May 2018), "Chasing The Sound of Stuff Smith" - How an obsession with the gear that helped Stuff Smith achieve his distinctive sound brought me closer to a musical  idol, 50 years after his death by David Schulman. 

From his earliest days on the bandstand, Stuff looked for ways to amplify his violin to make himself heard alongside trumpets and saxes. When he got his hands on an early electric violin in the late ’30s, he—like Charlie Christian on electric guitar—embraced its potential for jazz. 

 

Stuff Smith had a style that was somewhere between Swing & Bebop (wiki) - I like a lot of what I've heard, but not sure why he preferred to play with a mute - unless feedback was a problem (?) 

So COOL. that Stuff's favorite violin was made in 1946 by Bernard J. LeBlond here, in Michigan (Battle Creek) - he called it "Big Red"!  Bernard made violins for the V.C. Squires company. (wiki) 

Stuff Smith 1939-1944 (2ndviolinist) -

Big Wig in the Wigwam (00:00) - It's Up to You (02:40) - I've Got You Under My Skin (05:37) - Crescendo in Drums (08:24) - Joshua (11:12) - Humoresque (14:34) - I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You (17:06) - Minuet in Swing (20:03) - Red Jumps (22:22) - Melody in F (24:47) - She's Funny That Way (27:12) - To a Wild Rose (30:13) - Bugle Call Rag (32:44) - Desert Sands (34:57) - Cinquantaine (38:17) - Blues in Mary's Flat (40:29) - Blues in Stuff's Flat (43:14) - I Got Rhythm (46:11) - Sweet Lorraine (49:18) - Midway (52:03) - Look at Me (54:18) - Skip It (57:10) - Stop-Look (59:37) - Don't You Think (1:02:36) - Desert Sands (1:05:28)

 

NOW, Stuff is accredited with co-writing this tune "It's Wonderful", but come on! 

Y'all MUST recognize this is really the Scottish tune, "Comin' Thro The Rye" - a bit before his time!!!  ...just jazzed up.

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August 17, 2022 - 5:09 am
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Chris Haigh explores the style of Stuff Smith (MusicGurus). 

GREAT features of his style!

20 Jazz violin licks from Stuff Smith from Chris Haigh (The Fiddle Channel).

 

Jazz Violin Lick 1 - Stuff Smith's "Crazy" Vibrato - Duane Padilla.

I've taken Duane Padilla's workshops at Fiddle Hell - he's a wonderful teacher! 

Jazz lick 4: stuff smith descending chromatic sequence - Duane Padilla! 

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August 17, 2022 - 5:41 am
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Stuff Smith's "Undecided" - play-along sheet music/tutorial video from Gabriel Bismut. 

 

Stuff Smith's "After You've Gone" - play-along sheet music/tutorial video from Gabriel Bismut. 

Gabriel Bismut has much more helpful Jazz videos at his YouTube Channel.

 

R. Kenneth Ball playing Double Bass to "Old Joe's Hittin' The Jug" from Stuff Smith. 

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