Skip to main content

A New Year. A New Goal

The holidays brought a bounty of gifts to help me improve my fiddling. As you can see from the photo above, it was a Brad Leftwich Christmas. You can also see my new Snark clip-on tuner. These resources should help me level up my bowing. After working from Wayne Erbsen's Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus for the past year, it was time to seek new challenges.

Awhile back I had borrowed Leftwich's Old-Time Fiddle: Round Peak Style from the library and deemed it a good resource, but nearly incomprehensible in terms of trying to read the tabs. However, it came with a CD with more than 80 tunes that I hope to learn by ear once I figure out the bowing "licks," which is where the Homespun DVDs come in. (By the way, you can download those 80-plus CD tracks via the eBook page at the Mel Bay site. Look for the "Downloads" tab and click on "Download Extras.")

So far, the DVD lessons are proving to be just the challenge I was seeking. I'm through "Shortnin' Break" (AEAE) and am now working on a more complex rendition of "Sugar Hill" (ADAE), compared to the version I learned from the Erbsen book. Leftwich teaches downbow, which is taking a little getting used to, but it's coming along.

To update you on how I finished up 2013, I hit my 125-hour mark. It came down to the wire! I had to put in some longer sessions on the last few days of the year, but I made it. My goals for this year are to reach 300 hours between fiddle and banjo, and to get back to playing with friends and going to local old-time sessions.

What banjo (or fiddle) resolutions do you have for 2014? What are your musical goals for the New Year? Let me know in the comments!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Highwoods Documentary Not a Lost Cause After All

So, once upon a time, I tried to drum up support for a crowdfunded documentary project about the Highwoods Stringband. I donated money to help out, and more than a year later I provided an update on the slow progress. Last I heard, there was some old footage of the Highwoods they were trying to acquire. It's been three and a half years now that I first heard about the project, and I still haven't received my DVD.

I figured that's the risk you take with these crowdfunded, Kickstarter-type projects. I had all but given up the documentary as a lost cause. Until today. If I managed to convince any of you to help fund the project, I felt it my duty to pass along this update directly from Highwoods mainstay Walt Koken.
"After several delays and setbacks, we, the members of the Highwoods Stringband and Mudthumper Music have procured the vintage footage and photos in cooperation with the original producers and put them into the hands of another videographer, Larry Edelman, in …

Master and Apprentice: Banjo Builder Workshop in Historic Peninsula, Ohio

The 191-year-old Peninsula, Ohio, provided the backdrop to a parade of pedestrians making their way from station to station across the bucolic village for Music on the Porches on Saturday.

Inside the close confines of Bronson Church, founded in 1835, a master and apprentice presented a free workshop on the art of instrument building. That master being the renowned banjo builder and artist Doug Unger and his former apprentice Mark Ward.

Unger and Ward began the workshop by playing several old-time tunes, discussing their work and the music, and taking questions from the audience. Unger then invited the spectators to step up to the front to see the instruments.

Postcards: Vinyl Hunting Tour

Tuesday was a perfect day for a short driving tour to scour record stores for some vinyl. At my third stop, The Vinyl Groove in Bedford, Ohio, I came upon these two albums. The top one is Ed Haley, "Parkersburg Landing" (Rounder 1010), a selection of home recordings made in 1946 and released in 1976. The other is "Galax Va. Old Fiddlers' Convention" (Folkways FA 2435), released in 1964. Together they set me back $11 plus tax. It was a good day.