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The Next Lesson

All this playing fiddle in the park has been a big help in my progression with Brad Leftwich's instructional DVDs. Up until now, I've been consumed with Lesson 1 of his Learn to Play Old-Time Fiddle series from Homespun. Yesterday, I finally cracked the seal on Lesson 2.

The disc starts off with what Leftwich calls "Tommy's Lick" or what some refer to as "synco shuffle" (for syncopated shuffle), which leads to the first tune, "Citico." Shifting from simple saw strokes and basic shuffling to this style is tough to wrap my head around, and reading about it doesn't help — at all.

In fact, the more I try to understand it, the more nebulous it seems. I need to close the websites and open my ears.

While I don't yet have the feel for the bowing, I was gratified by how quickly I grasped the fingering for the tune, which Leftwich teaches in GDAD, a new tuning for me. Granted, it's not that difficult since the tune never drops to the high D string, which is more for the nice drones.

My slow version is enjoyable to play, but I'm having a hard time hearing how it will sound up to speed compared to Leftwich's version.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to delving into the tunes on this disc, which in addition to "Citico" include "Breaking Up Christmas," "Johnny Don't Get Drunk," "Rocky Road to Dublin," "Little Maggie," "Boll Weevil," "Wagner," "Chicken Reel" and "Old-Time Blackberry Blossom" (which I think is the same as "Garfield's Blackberry Blossom").

And as I've done with most of the Lesson 1 tunes, I also plan to transpose these to banjo. Gotta keep off the OK Plateau.

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