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Fiddle Lessons: Playing Back Up

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[MUSIC]
All right.
Here's some backup ideas.
What happens when the banjo kicks off the
tune, or when you have a kickoff with
another instrument kicking off the tune
rather than.
The fiddle of course, the fiddle should
be, if,
in a perfect world a fiddle would kick off
everything, and play all the solos.
But, in the real world, that doesn't
happen.
So, occasionally,
you're just gonna have to have that banjo
in there, kicking off the tune.
And that's a very exciting sound
beautiful, you know,
sound that makes the hairs on your neck
raise.
Now one of the things,
that you're gonna be doing is supporting
whatever's going on in the front.
Whether it's the vocal, or the instrument
lead.
And we're thinking about the roles of the
instruments, in the bluegrass band.
If the banjo is playing the lead,
you can pretty be sure that the mandolin
is going to be chopping.
So we probably are not gonna have to be
doing this, [NOISE] boo, boo, boo.
We're not gonna have to do a back beat,
cuz somebody's doing the back beat.
Obvious the bass is holding on the bass.
And that banjo is playing a lot of notes.
That's just the banjo style.
He's gonna cover every subdivision.
So, if we were to play something like say
on $2 bill.
We probably wouldn't wanna go.
[MUSIC]
You know,
because a banjo is totally doing that, so
we need to take advantage
of the fiddle's unique abilities to play
long sustained tones.
And come in very solidly.
And one of the great things about,
bluegrass bands is the way they can come
in.
Every comes in poom, you know.
And it's like this huge sound.
It's like a wave breaking.
And so, we can participate in that by
playing a good long.
Double stop.
[MUSIC]
Just come in really strong, and
that means we're gonna be checking.
[MUSIC]
Our,
our intonation before the band counts off
the tune.
Make sure we're in, and then we're gonna
make a decision as whether we wanna play.
[MUSIC]
Something sweet, or.
[MUSIC]
Something really driving and droning.
[MUSIC]
And then just stay with those long notes.
Kind of spell out the chords.
And just, in general, just kinda give this
nice, kind of, it's like glue or paint.
It just keep everything sounding like it's
together.
Let's kick off Two Dollar Bill.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Now I could do a little bit of a a little
flurry lick right at the end, because
everybody's gonna be doing stuff right
there, and it's kind of nice to hear it,
everything going at once.
If you had it going all the time it would
be boring, but if it just happens for
a few beats right at the end of the
section, it's very exciting.
Okay, how bout backing up that singer?
Let's do let's do a tune called Two Dollar
Bill.
And we'll think about how those lines
connect and
how we can connect the singer's lines, and
make it sense for the singer, and
kinda help the singer wanna sing the next
phrase.
This is huge.
You know, this is the difference between
you know, making the song
difficult for the singer and making it,
make the singer wanna sing.
You know, and we, of course, we want the
singer, it's our band, right?
If we want the singer to sing well, and we
want them to get into the next phrase.
And just make everybody feel good.
That's part of our job as a band member,
and particular as fiddle,
we can do a lot to help that situation.
So one of the first things we can do is
just think about how the melody goes.
[MUSIC]
So
we got these little phrase, these little
breaths.
Two dollar bill.
Two dollar bill two dollar bill.
Our utility voice.
Lost all my money, but a two dollar bill.
So we got these little, two dollar bill.
Breath.
Sings, pause.
So we can, make little connection between
those pauses, and so.
We don't wanna step on what the singer is
singing,
we don't wanna play the same note, there's
nothing more annoying for
a singer than if we're following playing
the same notes as the singer.
[MUSIC]
It's very
annoying maybe some of you singers.
Know what I'm talking about.
Somebody's like, trying to kinda sit on
the same notes as you,
it's very distracting.
But, we can play connections and make the
spaces,
between the lines work for the singers by
playing notes that sort of harmonize.
So, what's the last note he sings in that
phrase?
[MUSIC]
Comes right on the melody.
[MUSIC]
So
that's the note that we don't wanna play.
And he ends.
[MUSIC]
And then he starts with.
[MUSIC]
So, he starts with a D note.
[MUSIC]
And he ends with a G note.
[MUSIC]
So, what if we start.
He's got an end, two dollar bill, which is
where we start.
So, we could start with a note which is
not a G note.
It could be a B note, right?
That's in them.
And then we could go down.
[MUSIC]
So, we're actually echoing him.
Because, he's gonna come in on two.
[MUSIC]
And then he stops with.
[MUSIC]
That's really fun.
Should try that.
Okay.
So we're gonna go in on this backing track
of two dollar bill,
and we're gonna play some connections
there.
[MUSIC]
And then, of course, at the end of each
line, when we had a little bit more room,
we kind of went crazy, and played a whole
lot of notes.
Played some fiddle tune licks, and that's
another thing we can do.
We play the connections between the lines
and then during the.
At the end of a whole phrase, at the end
of a verse, we can kinda go nuts and
play a little flurry.
[MUSIC]
Backup's such a crucial subject for
a bluegrass fiddle that I think I'm going
to, make another call for video here.
This is just gonna be optional.
You could send this in or not.
But, I think you might want to, you know,
at least start on this.
I'd love to see an example of you playing
these loud, and
soft tones and trying different things.
Just, that could be just a few seconds of
each.
Just, to see how you're doing with that.
It maybe you'll find another tone,
another way of playing soft sounds that
you're excited about.
Maybe you'd wanna share that.
And possibly play something
on one of these downloaded backing tracks
where you're actually connecting
connecting those lyrics.
I was thinking about that that big track
with the big band.
Well just go ahead and
play some connection notes in between the
phrases for your playing notes.
Go with the last first notes of the phrase
to see how that works for you,
with the little flurries at the end of the
phrase.
It'll be interesting to see how that's
coming, and can work with you on that.
That's, such a huge subject in that we'll
probably be doing a lot of work on that,
so, yeah.
It it feels good and if you are playing in
a band.
You got your own band, you could try it
with your own band.
Record, with the singer singing like one
verse.
Of a song.
It just kind of, just play some connecting
notes.
And that would be a great subject to give
you feedback on.
[MUSIC]