Fiddle Girl

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Everything posted by Fiddle Girl

  1. RIP Derek Bell. A great musician and a really nice person. I hope the band continues; they still have the fire.
  2. I haven't had the joint replaced yet but am considering it. I have very bad arthritis in my right shoulder; the doctor said I have almost no cartiledge left. I sometimes get pain just shifting the gears in my car. I'm only 34 and I hate surgery, so it is something I have to really think about. I started taking Glucosomine and Chondroitin; hopefully they will help. If you get your shoulder replaced, please let me know how it goes. Also, since you are in Lakewood, I'd be interested in knowing who does the procedure for you.
  3. Well, in general: medium gauge strings, Helicores. Classical bridge. Most Irish fiddlers I know use a standard classical bridge. The only area I have run into a flat bridge is in old-time style, where some fiddlers use a flatter bridge to facilitate double stops, which are used extensively in that style. But even there more and more fiddlers use a standard bridge. I do use a shoulder rest, and many other Irish fiddlers use one too. Some also use a pad with a rubber band type hold. I don't know where you can get those. I've always used dark rosin, but I haven't experimented with others yet, so I don't know about what my preferences would be. Among some professional musicians, Helicore medium gauge strings seem to be quite common. Both Kevin Burke and Martin Hayes use them.
  4. Just a quick note. MD recorders are NOT the only game in town. I've been doing field recordings of bluegrass, Irish, and jam bands to DAT for 3 years now, using a pair of MBHO mics run into an Apogee AD1000 AD converter/preamp. Expensive, but killer. You can get a Song M1 DAT for around $500, and it clobbers MD since it doesn't use any lossy compression scheme. Laptop based recording is starting to make inroads into the field recording community, and Marantz, just came out with a battery powered CD recorder. I can't remember the suggested retail. Check and for more info.
  5. I was recently diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my right shoulder. I'm only 33. It was quite a shock. Apparently, the injury I suffered to it while playing hockey when I was 20 is part of the problem. I was having a lot of pain while playing guitar and several *stinging* pains come and go while playing the violin. Last Friday I had a cortisone shot right into the cartiledge/joint area. It's helped significantly. So has the Tylenol I take around an hour before playing. You might check with your doctor to make sure you don't have something chronic.
  6. In Denver, the best selection is at Eggen Violin shop. If you don't see anything there (doubtful) try Vaughn's Violin. Good luck!
  7. I play a D, not a C#, on the A string. That is how most people I know play it, and it lets you put your third finger down on both the high A and the D at the same time for speed. Try it that way.
  8. I have a computer program called Transcribe. You can download it and try it for 30 days, and if you like it, it costs $40 to keep using. You can slow down a tune to any tempo you want, or speed it up. It also has some pitch recognition abilities. It works great, and for $40 is a steal. All you have to do is load a tune into your computer using something like Media Player, and save it as a .WAV file. Check out the Transcribe website at
  9. First, I hate mini-disk, since it uses a lossy compression scheme. Acceptance of MD and too a lesser extent of MP3 has meant the death of progress in higher resolution digital audio. I do all my field recording and home recording to DAT using a pair of MBHO mics, run into an Apogee AD1000 pre/AD converter. It's a really nice setup. However, you don't need to spend that much money. If you are serious about your CDs, $1000 will get you a DAT machine, a decent microphone and a nice preamp. Second, for the person who asked about recording to laptop, check out this link: DAT is being phased out, though there are still a lot of people and studios using it. If you hotrod a reasonably good laptop with an RME Hammerfall soundcard or a VX Pocket, your are set, and can even record 24/96.
  10. I'm not completely up on all the symptoms of tinnitus (I understand there is some sort of buzzing), but if it cause hearing sensitivity and you want to keep playing the violin, you might try getting a pair of musicians earplugs. They cost around $150 and are custom-made for you by an audiologist. They have flat response attentuators in them, so you don't lose any frequency response. They are available in 15 and 25 db models. I got a pair last year, since I work as a music writer and go to a lot of loud concerts, and they work fantastically. They first time I put them in my ears, I didn't think they were having any effect until I took them out again. Here are two sites with more info: Good luck.
  11. I don't have that particular player, but I have a computer program called Transcribe. You can download it and try it for 30 days, and if you like it, it costs $40 to keep using. You can slow down a tune to any tempo you want, or speed it up. It also has some pitch recognition abilities. It works great, and for $40 is a steal. All you have to do is load a tune into your computer using something like Media Player, and save it as a .WAV file. Check out the Transcribe website at
  12. One of the many hats I wear is a music writer, and I often go to concerts in the Denver area and review them, and some of these are LOUD rock shows. I picked up a pair of the ER 15 musicians earplugs and they absolutely rule. The first time I put them in I didn't think they were doing anything, and then I pulled them out and noticed the volume difference. They attenuate the sound down 15db without affecting the frequencies. I highly recommend them for anyone interested in getting pair of earplugs. Best $150 I ever spent.
  13. Hey all. On my main fiddle, I currently have a tailpiece that only has a fine tuner on the E string. I'm thinking about changing to a tailpiece with all fine tuners just to make tuning easy. Even though my pegs are good, it's hard to get it completely right without some work, and I figure fine tuners would make my life easier. However, some people have said they might adversely affect tone. Is this true? Anyone have any experience switching to fine tuners or getting rid of them? Any info appreciated.
  14. I play both, but these days I mainly practice the violin. On guitar, I know my scales by fret. On the violin, a lot of it is feel. If you can, you might initially practice the violin twice as much as guitar. Of course, I don't play classical guitar; I play folk, blues, bluegrass and rock and roll. On the violin, I mainly play Irish music and a little bit of bluegrass. I think the fact I am working mainly on different music on each instrument helps me not get them confused. When I play Irish music on guitar, it is just chords, so I don't worry about lead playing, whereas on violin it's almost always lead playing. Good luck
  15. I like to put together a mixture of minor key/mode tunes (E Minor, E Dorian) with major key/mode tunes (D Major, G Mixolydian). One of my favorite sets is Morrison's Jig-Swallow Tail Jig-Connaughtman's Rambles-Kesh Jig. I like to play a set of polkas that is basically all the polkas I know: Britches full of Stiches-Bill Sullivan's-Ballydesmond 1 and 2. Basically, it all comes down to what your ears tell you. Play a tune, say Drowsy Maggie, and as you get to the end of it think about other tunes you know that might go nicely with it and launch into them.
  16. I just felt a need to clear something up. I do a LOT of field recording, have done some engineering for band releases, and am pretty familiar with all the recording gear out there. Mini-Disk is NOT CD quality; it sounds good for what it is, but MD works by using a compression scheme to get all the music onto the disk. MDrs claim that it is "lossless compression", but it isn't. The MD compression scheme drops certain frequencies; if you know what to listen for, you can definitely hear it. DAT is the only current lossless digital recording medium, unless you invest in a hard disk recorder or laptop based recording system. As someone who deals with MDers on a frequent basis at concerts by bands that allow recording, like Widepsread Panic or Phil Lesh, I hate Mini-disk because it tends to be a pain to get MD into the recording chain. Also, DAT has the advantage of continuous 3 hour recording times available, whereas with MD you have to switch the **** disk every 74 minutes, and it usually ends up happening in the middle of a great song or jam. Having ranted, I will say that if you are just recording sessions so you can learns tunes, MD is a good way to go.
  17. Kevin Burke and Martin Hayes stand alone, IMO. Both have a beautiful sense about to lay back enough to let the tune they are playing stand out. Hayes is lyrical and almost classical in his approach, whereas Burke is incredibly smooth, yet ornamented. I also enjoy: Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, Darol Anger, Sean Smythe of Lunasa, Winnie Horan, Sara Watkins, Vassar Clements, and lately Liz Carroll.
  18. Well, as far as ones I can play, two of my favorites are Tom Billy's and Banish Misfortune. I also really like Atholl Highlander, Up Sligo, Red Haired Boy and The Rollicking Boys around Tangharee. As for dislikes, I'm not sure.
  19. I have fine tuners on my "beater" fiddle, but on my main instrument, I just have an E tuner. I keep reading that Helicores need fine tuners, but I haven't found that to be the case. I just started using Helicores, and I haven't had any real problem tuning with them. I think fine tuners really come in their own when you are playing with a band. It makes things easier than having to stop everything and spend a few minutes tuning up.
  20. Well, if it's open to any style, I play Irish fiddle mostly, and a couple of bluegrass tunes. Some of my favorites are Red Haired Boy, Tom Billy's Jig, Langstrom's Pony, and Lads of Laois.
  21. O'Carolan's Farewell to Music wins hands down for me. Can't believe no one has mentioned it yet
  22. Thanks for some of the suggestions. I'll definitely start using the met more. Steve, what MIDI files do you have, and where might I find them.
  23. Hi all. I've got a problem that I am hoping you can help me with. I play mostly Irish tunes, and I am having a hard time playing them up to speed. I practice them slowly at first, but the moment I try to play them at speed I notice several things happening that make it hard to play well when playing at speed. First, the my bow arm seems to tense up. I also notice that my left thumb seems to tighten a little on the neck, especially when playing the A and B notes on the E string, and whenever I play the those notes, I also find it virtually impossible to keep my first finger close to the string. Curiously, I don't seem to have this problem when practicing scales (at least not with the A note; it definitely does happen sometimes with the . In watching some of my favorite fiddlers play, one thing that always stands out is they seem quite relaxed, even when playing fast passages. Someone like Kevin Burke makes it appear effortless, no matter what he is playing. And I know that people always say that to play quickly you need to stay relaxed. So how does one do that? Any advice or tips would really be appreciated. It's frustrating to be able to play tunes at 1/2 to 3/4 quarter tempo and then go to sessions and not be able to keep up.
  24. Another vote for Martin Hayes. All 4 of his CDs are worth getting, though I'd start with the Lonesome Touch (although Live in Seattle has 27 minute set on it that includes Pachelbel) teases. I also second the motion for Kevin Burke, who is one of the best of the Sligo fiddlers. And for American fiddling, nobody, but NOBODY, beats Vassar Clements in the smooth category. He makes it sound so effortless. Try the Live at the Bottom Line release.
  25. It sort of depends on what mood I am in. Often, it is something by the Grateful Dead like Scarlet Begonias or Terrapin Station. Other favorites include Ring on the Sill and Hollow as a Bone by Cowboy Junkies, Ain't Life Grand by Widespread Panic, and a lot of traditional Irish tunes like Drowsy Maggie, Lads of Lois, Tom Billy's and Red Haired Boy.