fingering the fiddle

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  • #86680
    Nancy BitterNancy Bitter
    Participant

    Sooo I am at a jam and I am thinking “I can pretty much improvise” with most jam folks.  Well this fiddle guy put me to shame … he was talented,  played smooth and fast.  Even songs he didn’t really know.  He was just all over the strings having a blast.  He was not pride full or boasting.  How can I improvise quickly up and down and not look hideous???? For instance.  I’ll Fly Away.  Now I know that song by heart, but when he went to town, well I kept thinking: ” I wanna be like him”.  Suggestions????????

    #86690
    cricketcricket
    Participant

    Well I’m not anybody any good, of course, but I mainly play by improvising my way through everything…so…what I, as an amateur nobody would say, for whatever it’s worth…I would say practice improvising.  This is how I’ve always played:  hum the tune…in the key you intend to play it of course…then peck it out on the fiddle…hum it again, peck it out again…hum it different next time, just a little bit different, and remember what you hummed and peck it out again…that’s mainly how I’ve always practiced.  Now, if you would’ve seen me at your jam you probably wouldn’t have been impressed with my playing…lol…like the guy you mentioned, but anyway, not saying I’m any good, but I mainly go through life improvising…so whenever I practice…it’s all just improvising there too…hum it, peck it out…hum it more, peck it out more, etc.  Whatever level you start out doing that, you will improve within a few weeks.  I’ve heard some people say practice scales in every key and then you can improvise…that might be helpful to you, but to me that doesn’t help any…I just like to play my fiddle kinda like that old game…what was it called?  Simon or something…where the little electronic gadget plays a few notes, then you have to peck out those same notes…then it does more notes, etc., etc., until you finally miss one and you’re out.  That’s what helps me, personally… hum it, find it on the fiddle…hum some more, find some more on the fiddle. But if someone who knows scales suggests that and can tell you how to go about it..maybe that would work better for you.  I just know what works for me and I’m guessing for some other people too.

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 16 hours ago by cricketcricket.
    #86734
    Nancy BitterNancy Bitter
    Participant

    thanks Cricket

    I just can’t get in my head how they can do all those notes in between and sound so awesome.

    #86741
    cricketcricket
    Participant

    I hear ya.  I’ve been to jams where some people were so good I just felt like sinking down into the floorboards and forgetting it.  But…If you can sing all those notes, you can tell your hands…”Hey hands, play those notes I sing!”  Lol…easier said than done, but I think it can work…I hope so.

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 5 hours ago by cricketcricket.
    #86747
    jazzstudentjazzstudent
    Participant

    One of the tricks with learning to improvise is ‘Don’t try to do too much’.  Take it slowly.

    I suggest taking a song like ‘Boil Them Cabbage’ and start there.  First, take the song apart.  Be sure that you understand the chord changes.  When you are completely comfortable with the changes, start to improvise by playing only the chord root tones over the changes.  Then, add the root, 3rd (or b3rd).  When you are comfortable with the root and the 3rd (or flat 3rd) which are the tones that define most chords, begin to experiment with the other chord tones.

    Part of my warm-up every morning is to run ‘root, 3, 5, 7 (b7), octave root’ arpeggios through all the chords in the major harmonized scales in the keys that I use most often (on fiddle G, D, A, C and E).  In the key of ‘C’ the chords derived from the harmonized scale are C, Dm, Em, F, G(7), Am, Bdim.

    When I practice the arpeggios, I practice slowly and name each note as I play it.  Learning to improvise is like learning to speak a new language.  You need to build vocabulary, understand grammar, and be able to use the language creatively and effectively to express your ideas in any circumstance – that takes lots of time and lots of practice.

    Take a look at this instructional video:

    Here is an excellent arpeggio study for the fiddle in ‘G’ major.  When you are able to play it using the chords in the exercise, then expand it so that you can use it over Am, Bm, Em, and F#dim chords:

    Bill

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