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Hi fiddlers!

PolkatPolkat Chico, CANew
edited September 2013 in Violin Posts: 119
So what violinists are on this site? I said hello to Tom Fullman and CalebFSU. Who's here? What style are you playing? How are you learning. Good books? Good tapes?

I'm Polkat, age 58. I played rock and jazz guitar for some 40 years. I'm now concentrating wholy on the violin, which I've toyed with for many years but have been playing seriously for just a bit over a year. With my jazz guitarist friend we busk from time to time, and play little gigs now and then, mostly 20's to 40's acoustic swing and Django. I'm into Grappelli, Venuti, Smith, South, Nance, and of course very much into Django. I can read fairly well, and while I improvise mostly melodically, I am just now working on modes over chords. I live in Northern California and would love to find an intermediate level Django style lead guitarist for our little group.
Tell me about yourselves!
Violin's swing the best!


  • FlatfiveFlatfive Sonora, CANew
    Posts: 9
    I have been playing fiddle for over 30 years. Concentrating on swing for the past 20 years. I started with Matt Glaser's course of 6 cassete tapes in 1984. I still have them. I have gone to Mark O'Connor's fiddle camp in Nashville (1996) and Johnny Gimble's Swing Week in Taos (2001). This year I went to the Centrum Swing Week where Paul Anastasio was teaching. I also have worked with Paul's video and even taken a private lesson from him.

    I play in a swing band called Swing Gitane with 2 guitars and a bass plus my fiddle.

    My reading abilities are pretty poor, though. (You say yours are good) I have some transcriptions of Stephane Grapelli doing "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Hobo Blues" (Paul Simon tune).

    It would be fun to get together sometime and trade licks and/or methods of study.

    I work with Band-In-A-Box too. Do you use that?

    I live in Sonora, BTW. At the Strawberry festivals, I have met some players from Chico. Robert and Pam who play piano and clarinet. (Robert plays guitar, too).

    Rick Barlow
  • MacKeaganMacKeagan
    Posts: 51
    Hi Polkat,
    I just noticed this post as I sift over the various forums/postings, so I thought I'd reply.
    I'm 60-plus, in my 2nd year of serious (as opposed to before) attempting to play swing violin. Mostly I play Irish/Scottish tunes, but I decided one day to "just do it" with the swing, bought Tim Kliphuis' books and banging away at it. I have several violins, but the current favourite is an old yard-sale special which appears identical to a John Juzek student model I recently patched up for a school. Dark tone like a baby viola. Switched to D'Addario Preludes after years of Dominants and Pro-Artes. My Fishman pickup died so I got a Kremona from Amazon, which I'm running through a Fishman Pro-II into an Acoustic AG-30 amp.
    Currently working on transcribing with Amazing Slow Downer. Not the greatest at translating what I hear into 1/8 and 1/16 notes- :D( I'd share stuff, but my scribblings are kinda embarassing :oops: ).
    I played out once last year with a friend's band ( electric guitar, keyboard & drums), and decided I needed to go back to the practice room (they alleged my playing was OK).
    All for now,
  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Musicalia, Bucolo et. al.
    Posts: 342
    hi MacKeagan
    nice to see a few posts appearing on the fiddle forum,
    I've been messing with swing / GJ violin for a few years now, alongside the usual Scottish/ Irish stuff & some technique / classical studies too. I've taken the violin to the local weekly GJ jam session, but I fit-in a lot better on accordion or clarinet, i think. Plus- it's hard hard to make yourself heard , acoustically, above a dozen django-style guitarists pomping away ;-)
    i'm able to read through most of the heads in the Django fakebook, but lack the skills to make them really 'swing', and i need to work on vibrato, pitch bending and harmonics, to really "interpret' those tunes. I've got the "jazz fiddle" book by Glaser & Grappelli, and one of the Kliphuis books. , but they're really tricky reading for violin , though i can read well, on other instruments.
    So welcome, i hope to see some of your scribbled transcriptions soon, i have a few scribbles of my own of Nitescu and Lockwood part-solos which i should share..
    (who recently became "50+" )
    |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
    /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
    |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
    '---''(_/--' (_/-'
  • MacKeaganMacKeagan
    Posts: 51
    Hi Andy,
    yes, you've nailed it--I can play probably 80 or more heads straight-up, but taking all them swell licks and runs in Tim's lessons and making them swing is what baffles many of us. I try to copy Grappelli's solos from the transcriptions, but it's not as clean as his, and doesn't have the spontaneity or originality. I can start off a tune, insert A-minor 9 arpeggio here, a D-minor 6 there, but it doesn't have the musicality of Grappelli, and doesn't make musical sense. Early-to-middle period Grappelli solos have a relationship to the melody which is what I find most appealing, but how to develop that in my playing? I'm less interested in speed and flash, as I feel if it's not tuneful, it doesn't matter how fast you can play up the neck.
    I guess Tim ( and the others) would say just keep playing and experimenting...
    I just got Tim's book of Grappelli licks a few weeks ago, which I can heartily recommend for expanding one's vocabulary of licks.
    So, keep listening and playing and experimenting,
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