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Enter the Fiddle

Contrary to my original goal, the fiddle has had a detrimental effect on my banjo playing. That is to say, only 10 percent of the time I've spent playing music this year so far has been on the banjo. The other 90 percent has been all fiddle.

The screeching and scraping began just before Christmas when I purchased the old German trade fiddle you see in the photo above. With the help of Wayne Erbsen's Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus, I've learned the D scale and the tunes "Ida Red" and "Say Darlin' Say."

After an in-home trial from Shar Music, I chose a Presto Encore carbon fiber bow. Now, if only they could transplant the right arm of Melvin Wine in place of the one I've got, which can't seem to get the bow to saw across the strings in a consistent manner. It seems to move left and right almost as much as it moves up and down.

My poor banjo has sat neglected. I pick it up a few times while I'm practicing the fiddle to see if I can transfer what I'm playing from one instrument to the other, but that's a work in progress.

I'm trying to take my time and internalize what I'm learning. I'd still like to get some personal instruction to make sure I'm on the right path, but it's nice to have guide to follow.


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