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Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by basskidd, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. basskidd


    Jul 25, 2011
    So, I don't really play bluegrass all that much. That being said, I love to listen to it, and take special pleasure from hearing someone rip it up on a fiddle. I was wondering how its done? Is it all about articulation of notes, are there certain scales or harmonies that are favored, or is it really all about the timbre of the instrument itself?
    Also, has anyone had any luck in transposing a fiddle part to be played on bass? I realize this is in the Double Bass Forum, but I'd be trying to get it on electric...
  2. shadygrove


    Feb 14, 2008
    Marysville, WA
    So you want to play the electric bass and make it sound like a fiddle? Did I get that right?

    Sure, you can transpose a fiddle part to play it on the bass, but in my experience playing DB with a bow you cannot play at nearly the speed a fiddle can just because of the physics of the instrument. The notes are a lot farther apart, the bow is heavier and it takes more time and effort to get a string moving. On EB I suppose you can play the notes, but that instrument is even more lacking in most of the qualities that make a fiddle a fiddle such as ability to sustain notes and the slurs and slides between notes as well as playing drones, doublestops, etc... that make fiddles sound like fiddles.

    I say if you want to make a sound like a fiddle, then get a fiddle and play it. If that sounds good, check out Fiddle Hangout - fiddle forum, lessons, videos, jukebox, and more - Fiddle Hangout for a whole lot more info on fiddle playing than you're going to find on TalkBass.
  3. basskidd


    Jul 25, 2011
    Yeah, thats pretty much what I was asking about. I mean, it would be cool to learn, and I think there are a lot of great subtleties to fiddle playing that it would be pretty cool to figure out on bass. That forum will be a great place for me to start though, thanks for the link!

    I may very well invest in a fiddle sometime soon though... Should be fun to learn

    Be well
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Jason is so awesome at that -- very inspiring and impressive.

    Don't forget that fiddles and basses are tuned differently. So, in addition to dealing with the bow and getting those big strings stepping lively, you're dealing with a repertoire that's built on a different tuning.
  5. Actually, several different tunings!
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    There ya go... several.

    Some readers may not get why it's a factor. A piece that has a realistic fingering on one instrument and one tuning may not be so realistic on another instrument and another tuning. Open strings in particular are a factor here.

    So, in moving tunes from fiddle to bass, you've got to think about fingering and tuning. It could be that some tunes move well and some tunes don't.

    I think we might have talked about this a bit back when Jason was showing we TB'ers his work with fiddle tunes. Can't be sure and I'm too lazy to search for y'all. There certainly were discussions on fiddle tunes and bass, though. I'm thinking 2003, 2004-ish?

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