Wait Till You Hear This One

Old-time fiddle tunes and sources

Archive for the category “fiddle equipment & setup”

Back to my Roots: Tommy Jarrell’s “Susanna Gal”

I freely admit, my roots are in Southern California, and I never met Tommy Jarrell. But this is one of the first tunes that made me want to play the fiddle, so it does take me back to my roots in that sense. I made two videos this time, one of me playing the tune, and one of me analyzing a video of Tommy playing it. Tuning in both is ADAE. Here’s the entire video of Tommy. Thanks to James Stiltner for permission to use it. (See below for a less shaky version of the video, created by friend of the blog, Josh L.)

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String theories: what are the best strings for old-time fiddle?

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I have a string problem. This is a picture of my fiddle string graveyard—all the strings I’ve bought, and tried, and re-tried over the years. I cycle back through them periodically, trying to get my fiddle to sound a little warmer, or smoother, or brighter, or louder, or quieter. I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned, and maybe, armed with this knowledge, you can find your perfect strings without wasting as much time and money as I did.

I’ve learned that when I first put on a new brand of strings, I almost always think they sound better. But it’s just the novelty effect. After 24 hours, all their problems come to the fore.  It’s a running joke around our house that whatever extravagant claims I make for the new brand I’m trying, I’ll do an about-face and hate them within a few days. Read more…

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