Answers to a few of your questions, plus the Moise Robin tune Grosse Maman…Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
Hi, I’m Mitch Reed, welcome to my vlog. Today I’m going to talk about going to a jam and being able to bring your fiddle and play chords behind the accordion, the singer and all that stuff. So basically, how to second at a Cajun jam, the things to think about, and what to look for. I’m going to try to keep it as simple as I can because if you’re wondering about this stuff, you’re probably still in what I would call a beginner fiddle to maybe the beginning of an intermediate fiddle player, Cajun fiddler. But still, those are beginner things to think about. I definitely recommend going to jams. I think that once you study with a teacher and you learn tunes and you learn your chords, the next step is to go to a Jam session where there’s Cajun music. I live in Scott, Louisiana, right outside of Lafayette, so there’s a bunch around here. So if you live in Southwest Louisiana it’s easy. If you live in Baltimore, Maryland it might be harder. But hey, come down to Louisiana, there’s jams I know for sure every Saturday.
So these are the things just for us to talk about. First thing, most important thing is, this fiddle is tuned down to Cajun tuning, what we call Cajun tuning, and everything’s down a whole step. So the E string is down to a D [1:27] and the A string is down to a G, the D string is down to a C and the G is down to an F [1:38]. Alright, so that is Cajun tuning. Everything is down a whole step or you can say a letter, everything’s down a letter. The reason why is it makes it a lot easier to play along with the C accordion which is the dominant key accordion that we have down here. So now you have an open C string and it just makes it easier to play in the keys of C and then the occasional F; we do play in F every now and then.
So let’s just talk about this. When you go to a jam, the first thing you want to do make sure your fiddle’s tuned down to Cajun tuning. That’s the most likely scenario it’s going to be in, somebody’s going to show up with a C accordion. Most of the fiddlers there will be tuned down. You may have a few fiddlers tuned to standard that can play in all the keys; those would be more intermediate-advanced fiddle players. But to get started, it’s a lot easier if you tune your fiddle down when you go to a Cajun jam.
So the first thing to talk about is just the chord shapes and how they’re played. There’s a lot of different ways to play these chords. I like playing the lowest form of these chords so I’ll show you how I play those. The first chord you probably play the most in Cajun music is the G chord which the way I play it I take a first finger and I bar the G and the D; I’ve got some tape on my fiddle so maybe you can see, maybe I’ll bring this down a little bit even. So you can see I’m taking my first finger there and barring the first finger on the very first piece of tape there and then I’m going to play the G and the D together [03:22] and that’s my G chord, alright?
So the next chord I’m going to make is a C chord and that I’m just taking my first finger and I’m putting it just on the G; maybe I can get on this side to show you, I don’t know if that’ll be right, I’m trying to find this out, but I’m putting my first finger on the G and I’m playing the open D [03:46]. That’s my C chord. You can also play a C chord if you play the two middle strings [03:54]. That’s a higher C chord. This is a lower C chord [04:01].
Then the F chord, I’m just playing the low G and D. So I’m just playing these two low ones here [04:09], no fingers at all [04:11], alright.
Then the last one is the D chord which…same kind of thing, I’m barring, I’m taking my first finger and I’m barring across on the D and the A strings [04:27], and that’s my D chord.
So we got four chords, we got G, we got C and we got F and we got D, and those are the chords that you’re going to need to know when you go to a Cajun jam. So my advice is, first of all, get comfortable playing those chords. You want to be able to switch from those chords really quick. You really in a sense become almost like a guitar player on the fiddle when you get to this point. Playing the melodies, learning all the Cajun melodies, that is a whole different thing, that’s a whole different technique. When you get into seconding and playing chords, it’s another completely different technique because most of the time you’re on the low strings, this part, you can see my elbow is a little higher, you’re going to be playing a lot of mostly the low strings.
So what you want to do first is get comfortable with the shuffle bowing for two-steps and reels and fast tunes and then for the waltzes, be able to play the waltz-shuffle. The waltz-shuffle is pretty easy. The way I recommend it is just bow the beat. So if I play a G chord and I’m playing a waltz, I’m going to be thinking about one-two-three [05:50]. So that’s my bow rhythm, and I would practice just switching through those four chords. They don’t even have to be in any order, you can do whatever you want. But be able to switch from any of those four chords and be able to do it quickly. So this is really the most important thing at first. So I’ll start with the G [06:13], now go to an F [06:18], I’ll go to a C [06:22], how about a D [06:26]. Alright, so that’s the waltz.
The two-step, I use a shuffle bowing and the way I think about the rhythm is I think about it like this I’m Happy, You’re Happy [06:39]. You’ve heard this from me before I’m sure [06:45]. Alright, so that’s just practicing switching from the four chords with the shuffle bowing, the fast tune bowing and then you have the waltz rhythm.
You have the occasional blues, like the Bosco blues, a tune like [07:29]. So for that, the rhythm I do is this kind of thing [07:43]. And I think of it like and-two-and-and-two-and one-and-two and-two-and-and-two-and [07:57]. So that’s the blues shuffle that I use.
Again, all fiddlers do different things. So this is me, Mitch Reed, this is what I do. You may go and study with another fiddle player and he may have you play different stuff and that’s cool, that’s fine, because that’s part of Cajun music; it’s not always played the same way.
Alright, that’s the really the most important stuff if you want to be solid in that before you go to jam. I’ll recommend if you’re studying with a teacher and you’re taking private lessons, get your teacher to play the melody and you play the chords and see if you can accompany those tunes. If you can, and especially if you can switch, if you can go from the chords to the melody and the melody to the chords, that’s jamming, I mean that’s- you’re jamming. That’s what we call jamming. If you can do that without stopping or messing up, you’re ready.
Now, the next thing is to understand a little bit about the chords and how they’re related, depending on the keys. This gets into a little bit of music theory but not a lot because Cajun musicians, we don’t think about music theory, we just use our ears. We do something that if it sounds right we keep doing it, if it sounds wrong we don’t do that anymore. But one of the things that you want to be aware of and that can help you out a lot, and it’s kind of like a blueprint to a song, is if you know the key. And then to think about, most of the time, Cajun songs, we’re going to go (and I’m going to use the number system here) if the key is G. G is one and four, the fourth note from that is going to be a C and then the fifth note from that is going to be a D.
So in the key of G, the most likely chord progression is going to probably start on G because that’s the root, that’s the key, that’s the most important chord or note. And then it’s very likely you might go to a C and then a D, but not always. And so a lot of people have sent me messages in the last couple of weeks asking me about this. This is the big question, “how do I know what chord to go to?” And basically, this is how I think about it, and that’s the only way I can share this with you. I don’t think anybody has the tunes memorized so much and maybe they do, I don’t know, but I haven’t met many people who really just think of the song and they know the chords right away. A lot of times you just start playing the song and then it just kind of unravels or reveals itself as it goes along.
So in the key of G, you’re very likely to play a C and then a D and then, of course, a G but not always because if you take a tune like J’etais Au Bal it only goes from the G to the D, it doesn’t go to a C chord. So you do have those occasional tunes. So my advice is this, just play what you can, the best you can. If something doesn’t sound right, go back to the G because that’s the root chord. So if you go to a C and maybe it’s not a C, you know, there’s no C to be heard, but you went there because you were just expecting it, go back to the G. It’s not like people in the jam are going to turn and look at you and point you out. Most jams you can’t even hear…you can hear the music, it’s this blended sound, but you can’t hear what each individual is doing unless there may be soloing and people are really coming down so that they can be heard. But especially seconding on the fiddle where it’s low rhythm, you’re not going to be heard that much. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes because making mistakes is how you learn. So there you go. I mean that’s the most important thing. The best bit of advice I can give you. You’ve got to make mistakes to learn this. So that’s G, I talked about G.
The other key that’s played a lot is the key of C. So in the key of C, C is one, C is the most important. The four chord in C which is like the next most important chord is going to be F and then the five chord is going to be G. So what I would do if I were you is I would practice. Maybe doing that shuffle bowing, doing the waltz rhythm, and maybe go pick a key and start on the C chord let’s say, go to an F chord and then go to a G chord and you can practice that. So that’s a good way to do it.
The weirdest key of all of them is the F key and it is occasionally played. And so an F, F is the root, F is one. B-flat is four. So B-flat is kind of weird, we didn’t go over that chord but occasionally it is used. Not very often. But the way I play a B-flat is, I think a really easy way to play it is, if you take your first finger on the D string and then your third finger on the G [13:59] and that’s your B-flat. Let’s see if I can do this. I’m kind of dyslexic so I’m getting confused here [14:10]. You can also play it like this, and this is easier, where I’m playing a first finger on the D and an open G [14:20]. I’m calling the strings by their real names too so I don’t have to confuse you [14:27]. That also works as a B-flat, okay? So in the key of F, F is one, B-flat is four and C is five.
So those three keys right there, the key of G, the key of C key and the key of F, get familiar with the four chord in that key and the five chord in the key. If you do that for all three keys and you understand how they’re related then that’s it. You don’t have to know a bunch of music theory. Just understand that that’s how they work together. I think that’s the most important thing to know and at least you have some idea where you might or where the tune might be going. But like I said, there’s a lot of tunes that will go from the one to the five so be on the lookout.
And the other thing is just when to change. So I always tell people, watch the guitar players, even if you don’t play guitar. Watch when the guitar players are playing and watch their left hand and whatever shape they’re making or whenever and they change and they go to a different shape, you may not know what that chord is but that means they’re going to a different chord and that will give you a chance to go to the chord. So if you’re on the one, chances are you’re probably going to go to the four and then back to the one and then to the five, that kind of thing. But you’ve got to make mistakes. There’s really no way to do this without messing up. I think one of the most important things is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. No one is going to laugh at you or point you out. I still make plenty of mistakes and it’s how I learn. Sometimes I’m just daydreaming and I’m not paying attention, and I’ll make a mistake and it kind of wakes me up…so it’s part of life and everything you do.
So that is my advice on going to a jam and being prepared to second, back up the accordion, the vocals, the other fiddles. If there’s a fiddle tune that they’re playing and you don’t know the melody, even though the fiddles are taking a ride you don’t know what those notes are, you can second and still be a part of the jam, a part of the music. So definitely, seconding is great to learn. It’s also great for your rhythm, your bowing, your bow rhythm, and I think it really helps with your double strings like double stops, playing two strings at the same time. A lot of people get frustrated with that. So to be able to take your melodies and play the E and A string together or the D and the A together. If you do a lot of seconding you start learning about doubling strings and the angle of bowing that you need, the amount of pressure that you need on the bow to get two strings to ring out evenly.
So, good luck. I hope this blog helps and inspires and keep on fiddling and hope to see you out there soon. Thank you so much!
Hi! Welcome to my vlog…and my vlog this week is going to be on, “Should I have tape on my fiddle or not?” This is a question I hear a lot and this is what I usually say to people is if you’re a total beginner, if you just got a fiddle, you’ve never played fiddle before, definitely, you want some tape on your fingerboard. You want to make sure it’s in the right place so either bring it to a luthier that can put it on for you or a teacher, a fiddle teacher, violin teacher, music store, something like that, but you definitely want to start with some tape on your fingerboard.
I’ve had some people who have played a lot of different instruments before and started playing fiddle and just wanted to not have tape on their fingerboard but to me, it was still too much of a challenge and in the end, they ended up putting some… at least, a little bit of tape on their fingerboard. You want to learn how to feel the fingerboard without looking at it. So when you first start playing violin, when you know that the first note is the first finger on the A string or a third finger on the E string, you want to be able to look down the fingerboard and make sure that your third finger is exactly on the third piece of tape. And what I’ve done here too, I even put a piece of tape for a low second. In Cajun and Creole fiddle music we have an occasional low second finger on the E or the A string and that’s why I put that little half piece of tape…that’s what it is. But most of the tunes we’re using open strings and then a first finger on the first piece of tape, second finger on the second piece of tape, third finger for the third piece of tape and then the fourth finger is way up here.
So again the question should I have tape or not? My understanding is if you’re frustrated with your pitch, if you’ve been playing for maybe a year and maybe you’re going on your second year, if you’re frustrated with your pitch, find maybe the notes that…the one that you feel you’re awful in, and a lot of people tend to be off on the third finger. A lot of times the third finger is a little bit more of a stretch than we think and so I have recommended people after their first year just leaving that third piece of tape on. But if you’re in your first year I say get all this tape; it will really help you a lot. And you’ll start to even visualize in your head like where the fingers go when you start to learn by ear, when you hear a note, and you can start to identify where it might be on the fingerboard. You’re going to visualize this pattern in your head and it really helps a lot. So it’s the advantage that guitar players have and mandolin players and bass players and things like that, is they have frets. So this is the equivalent to frets basically. With the violin, because it doesn’t have frets, when you make these pitches they have to be right on. So I actually…for beginners I cut my tape a little wider than would need to be just so that it gives you a little bit more room to…you don’t have to be perfectly accurate in the very beginning…so it gives you a little bit more to see and a little bit more space to put your finger on. So I cut them a little big.
But yeah, talking about that, that’s a great way to get started, is having tape on your fingerboard, way less frustrating, and then, if you learn with tablature, it can make it really easy. So if somebody’s writing out tabs for you or you’re getting them online or seeing them on YouTube or whatever, you can very quickly start to, you know, figure out where these notes are just using tablature and then tape on the fingerboard. So I say definitely get it if you’re in your first year and if you’re going into maybe your third year then you probably don’t need it anymore.
The thing is how often do you play? If you play every day and you’re going into your second year of playing and you’ve been playing every day and maybe even studying with a teacher, I say maybe leave the third piece of tape on, maybe even the fourth finger piece of tape. If you’re going into your third year and you still have tape on your fingerboard, you just never thought about taking it off or whatever, I would say definitely take it off and try it and see how it goes. By then, if you’ve been playing every day and staying consistent on the instrument and you’re going into your third year then you should be ready. Your fingers will know where to go.
Sometimes even getting a new fiddle can change the intonation. That happens a lot if people go from like let’s say a factory-made fiddle where the neck is a little wider, and then you put tape and you learn…you know you get a feel for that fingerboard, and then you might…I get a lot of people sometimes want to own an older instrument and sometimes a lot of the older fiddles the necks to be a little thinner and so you can throw off your finger a little bit so there’s nothing wrong with putting some tape on, even if it’s just a little dab of tape, just to show you where that first, second and third fingers should go on a new fiddle that you’re getting used to because the intonation has changed on those fiddles.
I set up this vlog because of a lot of people asking me about this and my answer always is, “if you hear yourself and it doesn’t sound right, if you know something that’s not right, the first thing to do is tune your fiddle, make sure that your fiddle is in tune.” So that’s what I always do because some days…I have my days were I’m just off and first thing I’ll do is I’ll check my tuning with the tuner [06:14]. So that’s the most important thing right there. If your fiddle is not in tune, it doesn’t matter how much tape you have on your fingerboard, you’re not going to play in tune. Well, what I was going to say is when you hear that you’re off and you’re in tune and you don’t have tape on your fingerboard and there’s a finger somewhere that’s driving you crazy that’s actually really good because you understand that it’s not right and you need to fix it. So that’s really good. So my advice is if it’s one finger, and it tends to be that third finger, that’s driving you crazy, put a little piece of tape, there’s nothing wrong with that.
A couple of tunes do have what we call extended third fingers and it tends to be on the lower strings on Cajun fiddle. But if that third finger like let’s say on the low G is a little bit above the normal third finger, we call that just extended third finger, put a little dab…and it’s a tune you’re working on…put a little dab of tape right there and then you can see exactly where that pitch is, that note is. And my advice is…I don’t have one hooked up but they make tuners, they make these little tuners, these clip-on tuner things here and they fit on your fiddle like this…this one actually broke because I dropped it…but these are really good because what you can do is you can see the pitch. So if let’s say you’re working on a tune and it’s just this note that’s driving you crazy, you can put it on your fiddle and you can see what the pitch is which is really- really cool. So those are great little tuners I’ll recommend. I think they’re made by D’Addario or something like that. So those are really good.
But yeah, if something’s bothering you, you hear that you’re off, that’s really good because that’s the sign that you’re learning where your pitches need to be. Again, I always say if you’re in your first year, definitely have tape. If you’re going into your second year and you’re not playing every day, maybe you touch the fiddle a couple of times a week, maybe a couple times a month, leave the tape on your fiddle or put some on because if you’re just an average fiddle player that picks it up every now and then you should leave that tape on, it’ll help you. I know it’s embarrassing, a lot of people say well it’s embarrassing when I go to a jam people just automatically think I don’t know how to play or I’m a beginner because I have tape on my fiddle but that doesn’t matter to me. If it helps you play the tune and you don’t sound like a beginner then it’s good, leave it on there.
So anyway, that’s my vlog for today and I think tape is good and there’s nothing wrong with it and I really like what Fiddlehed does on YouTube where he teaches tunes and he’s got tape on his fiddle and you can actually see the fingers. So I might actually start doing that as well just to make it a little easier to see where the notes are going. So yeah, check out Fiddlehed as well and check out mitchreedmusiclessons.com, where you can stream me breaking down Cajun and Creole fiddle tunes, beginner and intermediate.
Alright, thanks so much. So that’s how I feel about tape on the fingerboard and I hope some of that info helped you out and answered some questions. Have an awesome week and hope to see you soon. Thank you so much.
Hi! I thought I would like to give a quick tutorial on Cajun fiddle and how to get those sounds, those Cajun sounds, Creole sounds. So I’m gonna just kind of give a brief little instruction tutorial on those things.
One of the first thing I’ll have to start off with is that if you’re playing on a string…[00:29] you want to rock and catch the string below it or the string above it and catch a drone. So you get…[00:40] So this is one of the main things in Cajun and Creole fiddles. You’re doing two strings…[00:48] You’re playing the melody on one, so here I’m playing the melody on the A string, and then when I’m playing the melody on the A string I’m catching the low D string with a….[01:00] And then get that kind of thing. With Creole music you get a lot of slides…[01:10] So there I’m just doing some slides…[01:15] Catch that open string next to it…[01:25] Alright!
The other thing in Cajun fiddle you do a lot of is seconding, or chords, behind the accordion. So this is how I play the G chord. I put my first finger barring across the low G and D… [01:54] Alright! And I get this kind of shuffle bowing…[01:58] So there I was doing a shuffle bowing even when I’m playing on top of the melody, when I’m playing the melody… [02:39] So it gives me that kind of effect.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Waltzes. Waltzes are really big in Cajun music. So there’s two kinds of shuffle bowing you can do for Waltz. You can either just bow the beat…[03:10] So if you’re playing a melody…[03:16] And then add that bowing to it…[03:25] Alright! So that’s a good way to do Waltz.
You can also do a one and two and three and…[03:30] and this kind of gives you a little bit more rhythm in the Waltz shuffle so…[03:43] So that’s your Cajun Waltz, your Cajun two step.
We also play things called Reels and let me play a quick Reel for you all. This is a Reel by Dennis McGee and it’s called Adieu Rosa…[04:30] So not really that fast. We don’t play really fast Reels but very soulful, a lot of slides, some grace notes in there, a few grace notes.
Then the fourth thing we do a lot of is Blues. But the Blues you’re gonna do a lot of slides…[05:12] you know, that kind of thing. So I’ll play a quick Blues. This is just called the French Blues…[05:23]
So just to kind of sum up this little brief tutorial on Cajun fiddle, basically I’m just playing a melody, then I’m trying to catch a drone string and then just adding some decoration. The last thing is just filling it in with rhythm, a lot of bow rhythm.
So if I’m playing just some simple melody…[06:19] The next thing I want to add is just catch some open strings with that melody string…[06:30] If I’m doing a slide there…[06:36] Then the next thing is just give it some kind of shuffle, one and two and or if I’m happy you’re happy… [06:46] And there you have it, Cajun fiddle 101, very quick tutorial but I’m gonna be in iFiddle Magazine, and I’m gonna talk about all this stuff in a little bit more detail. So check it out, thank you for joining me and I’ll see you in iFiddle Magazine.
Hi, I’m Mitch Reed…Welcome to The Vlog! Today I thought I would talk a little bit about something that I get a lot of questions about. Doesn’t have a whole lot to do with actually playing the fiddle but it’s just keeping up your fiddle.
Sometimes you might notice when you go to jam sessions and stuff like that, you’ll see fiddlers that have a lot of white powder right here on the fingerboard, on the fiddle body itself, on the strings and stuff, and that’s just rosin dust that collects there over time after playing maybe the fiddle all week and it just gets all over your fiddle. So you definitely want to clean it.
I’m not super particular about keeping my fiddle spotless but what I’ll do is maybe after a tour, when I get back from the road with BeauSoleil, I’ll clean my fiddle. Or maybe at the end of a week of teaching I’ll clean it.
So really all you need to do is get a rag, like this, it’s kind of like a diaper cloth material. Years ago I used to use a polish, like a white polish, but a good friend of mine Anya Burgess who has SOLA Violins she really taught me a lot about just cleaning the fiddle, cleaning the violin, with just a dry cloth; it’s the best way to do it.
If you can, if you have something real big and gummy stuck on there, you might have to bring it to a luthier and clean it or get some polish. But for the most part you want to leave your violin dry because that’s what gives the wood a good sound: it’s a good dry wood.
So yeah! So using this cloth I just get in there and clean all the rosin dust off. I clean the strings too as well, all the way up. Clean the sides, both sides. You can even get underneath the fingerboard, so you can actually take your cloth and go underneath the fingerboard and then you can go underneath the strings as well and go all the way up. Actually go all the way up here because you’d be surprised the oil from your fingers and stuff how it collects on the strings.
And all these things have a lot to do with the strings resonating and sounding good and I know living in Louisiana where we have a lot of heat and humidity if you leave this rosin dust on your fiddle it turns into this like black gum and that can like kind of cake on to the wood and really mute the wood, keep it from being able to vibrate like it should.
So like I said about once a week I use this rag on the fiddle and clean everything. I even clean the back, clean the sides, I clean the neck as you have oil on your fingers and stuff, clean the scroll all that area. In the pegbox, you get dust in there, you can just blow like that and you can get that out. Yeah!
So it’s definitely a good thing to do especially if you have a nice instrument. But even if you have an okay instrument, I mean if you want to try to resell it and get what you paid for it, if you keep it up, if it looks like pretty much like when you got it, then people will pay you a good price for it.
The next thing too is the bow. You can actually clean the bow. You get rosin dust along the bottom of the stick here. So what you can do is you can take your cleaning cloth and I just take like a finger and then put it right where you see the rosin and just go right across like that, and that’s all you need to do. As as far as the hair you don’t need to clean the hair, you always want to just keep it sticky with rosin and eventually, maybe after a couple of years, you would want to get new hair put on.
Talking about rosin, so let’s talk a little bit…The other question that I get a lot is how often should I rosin my bow? “How often do you rosin your bow?”, people ask me. I usually rosin my bow once a day, and it’s usually when I get up in the morning and maybe just warming up or right before my first lesson. And what I do is I take the rosin in my left hand and I’ll take the bow, just lay the hair down flat and I just do this: I go back and forth back and forth, all the way to the tip of the bow, and then go all the way back to the frog, alright? And that’s all I need.
So yesterday somebody was saying, “I think I’m over rosining my bow,” and I asked them how many times they go to the tip and back and they said, “Oh maybe three or four times,” and I said “Yeah, that might be too much,” you know? So from what I’ve always learned and what works good for me is you go to the tip, go to the frog and then you’re good. If you do that every day you should always have enough rosin.
The only time that living down here in Louisiana where it’s very humid is sometimes when we play festivals outdoors which you know most of our festivals are outdoors like Festival Acadien and stuff like that. If you’re playing kind of maybe in the late afternoon or in evening outside it gets a lot of moisture in the air. So sometimes I have to rosin my bow extra for that, just for the moisture. Or even if you go and sit in your backyard, your patio, just to play some tunes maybe in the morning or in the evening you might get more moisture on your bow so you might wanna rosin your bow little bit more that’s about it.
The other thing two people have asked me about recently is the tension on the bow. I’ve always gone by this, if i’m going to play a really soft song I tend to loosen the tension a little bit but never so much where the stick is touching the hair, the hair is touching the stick. But if I’m gonna play something really nice and soft, just something real gentle and then maybe even like single strings, not so much double strings you know…[6:18]…there I have the hair on my bow fairly loose.
But if I’m gonna play something where I’m gonna use double strings, maybe more old timey style like a Dennis McGee style, rocking the bow, catching all four strings, I’m gonna tighten it up a good bit. But I always leave that dip in the bow. I try to never tighten the bow where the stick is straight. If you start to see the stick is just straight or even if the stick is going out you’ve tightened it too much and you don’t want to do that to your bow. You could actually damage your bow. So just remember that even when you tighten it tighter, always keep that little dip in there. You want that bow in there. So that’s really important.
But yeah! For those Dennis tunes, maybe the more louder types of tunes, also playing with an accordion, you’ll try to be a little louder you know so yeah I would definitely tighten it up…[7:23]…that kind of thing.
So definitely you can change the tension on your bow depending on what style you’re going to play or the dynamics of the tune and that kind of thing. But these are all things that you tend to figure out just by trying different things and and seeing what you like it, what works for you. But these are my little secrets that I recommend.
The last thing I’ll talk about is how important it is to actually have a good case for your violin. Even if you have a $200 or $300 violin, which is not considered a really expensive violin, you want to keep it in a case and travel with it in a case that is going to protect it and (the most important thing) keep it in tune. What’s frustrating is we have an old-style case or a rougher case where the fiddle kind of gets shaken up a lot and pegs are gonna hit against the walls of the case. Then when you get to where you’re going, your fiddle is out of tune.
So one of the things I recommend, I don’t have a particular brand that I use, but you can use really a cheap case and I actually got these cases from Shar Violins and it cost me seventeen dollars and it’s just a foam case. So that’s the thing: It’s just a foam case. If you touch it you can almost dig your nails into it. It’s not wood it’s just foam but it’s hard and it will protect your violin and it’s very, very light. But the great thing about it is it really hugs the fiddle well, protects it, and then if you drop the case it won’t damage your violin, it won’t go out of tune.
So some of you all that have the wood cases they look really cool cos they look old timing but they don’t always protect your violin really that great. The other thing about this one that I like is it has a pocket out here for your shoulder rest. You can put your shoulder rest in here and as you can see it’s a good… really a nice decent case for 17 bucks. Maybe they went up a little bit but I think that’s what I paid for it just this last year.
So anyway, those are just some tips, some basic things about maintenance of the violin. Just letting you know what I do. This is the things that I look for and do. And talking about a case, I do have a double fiddle case but really the case that I’ve traveled with on the road with BeauSoleil is just an eighty dollar case and it’s a foam case. It’s just a little maybe a little bit stronger than this one I’ve just showed you just because I have to carry on airplanes and stuff like that. But just one of those cases is really all you need.
The other thing too: it’s good to have two bows. It doesn’t mean you have to get a really expensive bow. But if you can get two bows you, maybe one you can get a cheap fiberglass bow or get one that’s about 50 bucks or something. But to have two bows is good because when it comes for you to get your bow rehaired you’ll have that second bow so you can still play and practice.
Well thank you so much for joining me today on The Vlog. It’s just about maintenance on the violin, but these are questions that a lot of people have been asking so I thought I would talk about that stuff. So thank you so much for joining me today. Have a great week, stay inspired and keep on fiddling…Thank you!