Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Learn the Fiddle?

Hi everyone - I woke up this morning and fancy a stab at the fiddle. Did I imagine it or did Ben send something out regarding selling them and giving lessons? Hope I’m not going mad!

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The Store does have a couple models for sale w/bow & case included.

He has mentioned starting lessons on either fiddle or clawhammer banjo, and took a survey to gauge interest, but I haven’t heard anything further on this yet…maybe someone else has…

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It was talked about at camp a little. I think Ben is going to release the clawhammer banjo lessons first, and the fiddle lessons later. I think it might be coming with a new site remodel.

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I concur with @Fiddle_wood Ben gauged interest maybe 2-3 months back and did a survey.

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I’d love for this to be true.

I acquired myself a cheap banjo, mandolin and a fiddle (student violin) recently

I already have too much to learn on my guitar, but would love to have a go at the fiddle.

I didn’t realize - until I’d started to learn - many of the standards were originally fiddle tunes: That people like Doc Watson and Clarence White pioneered to make the flat picked guitar a lead instrument.

I also love to listen to American fiddlers on You Tube - They are so creative and fluid with their melody playing. It a joy to listen to them play and improvise. Quite inspiring

Someone brings a violin (very rarely) to a loud folk night at a UK pub. They don’t play bluegrass, but the sound is incredible, it will cut straight through a crowd of loud drinkers with a melody that cannot be ignored.

In short - I’d love to see lessons for fiddle - Even if I can never learn well - I’d like to know more about how they do what they do.

I love Ben’s parallel versions of bluegrass songs, where he plays, banjo, guitar and mandolin. I don’t expect him to play fiddle, but it would be amazing to see what he could do working with a fiddle player too!

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Randomish question about violins

I am actually left handed - So the violin I got is right handed (student quality)

I am very used to converting over guitars (I do know there are differences) but the symmetry of many acoustic instruments makes the conversion pretty straight forward - I’m not too fussy about changing these instruments over as long as they still sound great. It’s also much cheaper - decent instruments for lefties are often significantly more expensive. I’ve filled in then routed out and converted out new slots on the bridge and changed the saddle on a couple of decent but inexpensive acoustics to get better intonation - Which is the hardest part to do.

I converted an A style mandolin to play left handed and made an new ebony compensated saddle and it sounds great. So I was curious if anyone had experience or could highlight problems with converting a violin.

I was thinking about learning to play right handed, but I’d need to lose my finger picking nails on my left hand. My fingers are also happy with the fingering on a violin as I believe the tuning is the same as a mandolin, so I don’t struggle to confidently fret. My bowing is very raw but I can get a decent sound sometimes - Though it is very loud!

I’m going back to work tomorrow and will have access to a workshop full of woodworking tools again - I am quite handy and can make new parts etc.

Anyone foresee any major problems if I go ahead and convert it?

Does anyone play fiddle left handed?

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Ok well you have a few options. If you were just starting, I would strongly encourage you to learn right handed, but since you already play other instruments lefty, it would probably be unreasonable.
What I would encourage is just learn to play “over the bar” (playing a righty fiddle upside down) so you can play other people’s instruments.
You definitely could convert it, and there are a few people who do that, but most of the high profile lefty fiddlers I’ve seen play a righty fiddle. And it will be a lot more convenient if you ever want to upgrade, you’ll be able to try a lot more instruments.

That’s just my two pennies, but at the end of the day, do whatever makes you want to play the most

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Hi All,

Just looked back at my E mails the survey was done at the tail end of May!

Thanks Dragonslayer,

I think you are right that I should learn to play it right handed and I might do that.

I reality I struggle to make progress with my guitar studies - especially since joining Ben’s site. I’ve spotted a ton shortcomings in my playing that I could devote years of study to.

I’ve played the banjo a few times this year and really enjoyed it. A couple of years ago I was making steady progress on the mandolin, but I’ve only had it out a few times recently - to clean it and see if I can remember the chords. I think I’ll come back these both because they are fun and not entirely different from the guitar.

The fiddle well there’s a whole other world of confusion for me to get my head round. If Ben puts some lessons on the site I’ll be very tempted to annoy my neighbors.

I’ve got to admit that the fiddle may just end up being a wall decoration. It’s cheap, but it looks beautiful to me. One day maybe, one day…

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