Hey Reddit! Excited for my first AMA! I'm Alex DePue, violinist and fiddler. I began studying classical violin at age five. I won my first university-level competition at age 10, soloing with the Bowling Green State University Symphony Orchestra, and later won a competition which entitled me to a performance at NYC’s Carnegie Hall, serving as Concertmaster under the direction of Joseph Silverstein for the National Guild Youth Symphony Orchestra. I've continued to appear as guest soloist with orchestras at music festivals worldwide.

If you'd like to check out some of my stuff, here's my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwYWlR2KxkokoRL7AhJc3Sw

If you'd like to stay in touch, you can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexDePueOfficial/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefiddlerllc/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexdepue?lang=en

My Proof: https://imgur.com/a/H4bI9y9

Edit: Have to run for now, but will be back in the afternoon to answer more questions!

Comments: 817 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

orangejulius1103 karma

You ever take any trips down to Georgia and play like your soul depends on it?

thefiddlerllc1385 karma

I love these questions. The fact is I actually performed "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" WITH Charlie Daniels, TWICE. IN GEORGIA!! lol So... wow, I'll never forget that. I twinned his lead fiddle line, adding a harmony part on the spot, and he lit up like a Christmas tree. Photos of that are at the FB fan page...

jewfishh56 karma

Is there a video or recording of this performance?

thefiddlerllc143 karma

Only photos, still. Maybe someday, someone will surface with video of those two shows. They both happened in the same day... Hiawasee, GA...

UncleBenji76 karma

Reddit will locate it. That’s what we do.

AssassinKitten12 karma

thefiddlerllc15 karma

UncleBenji, I believe this would be something we could consider ourselves very lucky to find, if indeed it does exist. But it might begin with an online invitation for anyone who remembers attending a Chris Cagle / Charlie Daniels show in Hiawassee, GA within that stretch of time (2000 - 2004). Someone MUST have had their videos aimed at the stage that day. Who goes to hear Charlie Daniels and doesn't get some of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on film? It's out there!

DaMysteriousMustache24 karma

Since theres no footage of the performance, may I ask what did you do for the harmony part so I can attempt to play it back in my brain?

thefiddlerllc102 karma

Thirds. That will almost always be your answer when harmonizing anything at all.

peekaayfire19 karma

Have you ever played out the hypothetical situation where you actually have to duel the Devil ?

Would you play any other song besides that Charlie Daniels one if the situation came up?

thefiddlerllc28 karma

We also performed the Orange Blossom Special at both of those shows in Hiawassee, GA...

VivaLaEvolucion376 karma

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to take up violin but has zero experience with musical instruments before? I may have bought one off amazon on a whim recently...

thefiddlerllc457 karma

You're doing the right thing. Playing the violin will take you further into facilitating and understanding the musical language with regard to other instruments, BETTER THAN ANY OTHER. Ear training comes along with the violin by proxy... no frets. I teach online all day every day. Hit me up on FB!

pretender80305 karma

Do you prefer the term violin or fiddle? Is there really a difference? Do most people who use the two terms really know?

thefiddlerllc681 karma

The difference between a violin and a fiddle? Simply the music you play while using the same wooden block with strings. If you play Mozart? Violin. Merle Haggard? Well, then, you certainly do have a fiddle! It may also be important to make the appropriate face...

schnoodle334 karma

And tuners on all four strings

thefiddlerllc93 karma

*disclaimer - there are some "fiddles" you might not like to play "violin" on... lol

too_manyostriches198 karma

What sparked your interest in violin at such an early age? Did your parents play a role?

thefiddlerllc404 karma

My parents insisted that I did practice, and for that I'm thankful. As a parent in today's age, it is perfectly acceptable (and well within your right as a parent) to insist upon the same from your own kids. As the study of music helps in EVERY AREA OF LIFE, including grades, there is no substitute for this. To me, it is as important as math and/or science.

badhorowitz74 karma

To take a cue from your answer - do you find yourself taking this idea of 'practice' into other areas of your everyday life?

What other things do you 'practice'/enjoy getting better at in your own time when you're not playing the violin?

thefiddlerllc170 karma

Oddly, skateboarding is your answer. But the fact of the matter is, that if and when anyone dedicates themselves toward progress on whatever it is the hand chooses to do in life, you can expect from your own self... first, progress. Then, success.

Beefy-queef133 karma

Have you ever played on a roof?

thefiddlerllc285 karma

Yes. Thank you, LSD.

fuck-to-love127 karma

Have you watched Twoset Violin? What're your thoughts!

thefiddlerllc172 karma

Those guys are the comic outlet for anything and everything strings... I'm a subscriber, and absolutely love their stuff. Hilarious. If YOU play a stringed instrument, you will laugh yourself silly watching their videos!

weirdowszx123 karma

What is your opinion on Lindsey Stirling :)?

thefiddlerllc293 karma

Who??

orangejulius86 karma

Where's your favorite place you've ever performed?

thefiddlerllc215 karma

With Vai, we were on the same show as Toto, and then Aerosmith closed... with an audience of 60,000 people out there in Germany, that was a very memorable experience. A buddy of mine put phones on my skull as Aerosmith took the stage, and for their whole show, I had Steven Tyler's mix in my ears, AS it was happening!

mlaturno65 karma

What’s the difference between touring in the US compared to other continents?

thefiddlerllc147 karma

My experience with guitarist @Steve Vai would indicate the level of enthusiasm changes considerably overseas. In the US, maybe we're so accustomed to quality entertainment that the initial excitement level tends to waver... of course, and for those US shows, we certainly had 'em by the third tune! But, take the same Vai show to S. America, and people lose their bloody minds!

thergoat64 karma

Do you feel that you’re naturally gifted, or that your success is the result of significant hard work and effort (or both)?

How do you feel, looking back on a professional life that began at such a young age? Most of us don’t really begin making accomplishments until our late teen years or early 20s at best.

thefiddlerllc148 karma

I feel that hard work and PRACTICE led me toward the discovery that I was also naturally gifted, perhaps. The fact is that one MUST practice whatever he/she wishes to do musically. Your competition is too great. There are those who have innate musical ability, but however would that one find whatever those abilities are until enough time and practice has been invested toward its discovery? Did I just answer a question with a question? lol

Rubyshoes8359 karma

Do you prefer violin or fiddle? Sitting in an orchestra at Carnegie Hall or sitting in a Irish pub for a good ol' trad session?

thefiddlerllc89 karma

I don't have yet a preference, but will say that the freedom improvisation allows? To THAT, I am addicted. Take the player away from the written score, and then listen to what comes from the f-holes without prompt, and then you're in for a great time. Unless that player is yella, of course. lol

LeftHandedFapper50 karma

Did Vai tell you any good stories about his Zappa days?

thefiddlerllc80 karma

OMG, yes. lol His audition, for example... when you're old enough, maybe... lol

Oliverkahn98737 karma

Could you beat Ling Ling head to head? I hear he practices 40 hours a day.

thefiddlerllc73 karma

I'm workin' on it... but still I say that my version of the Flight of the Bumblebee is more accurate, and faster than any else... you bee the judge? lol

ExtraordinaryFailure37 karma

Do you have a favorite concerto? Personally, I'm in love with the Sibelius concerto.

thefiddlerllc70 karma

You should be! That is one of the GREATS. Actually, one of my premiere violin teachers at University of MI, Camilla Wicks, became the first female soloist on the violin to gain international traction with her interpretation of the Sibelius... that recording became the go-to reference for violinists all over the world who were embarking on this Sibelius journey!

Ducky_198735 karma

Hi! When did you know you were like... GOOD good? :)

thefiddlerllc99 karma

At age 14 I began to win trophies which were coveted among adult fiddlers, and also the kinds of awards for which there was much competition in the Classical world, including Josh Bell, even, for the Stulberg Competition in Grand Rapids, MI... when I would win top honors for awards such as those, I knew there was more to this game than just showing up and continually trying to look cute. (as I had been doing, prior). It was time then to play PRO BALL.

copper_tone22 karma

Would you be able to beat the Devil?

thefiddlerllc54 karma

Who??

oldamilyas20 karma

Violin vs viola?

thefiddlerllc37 karma

I enjoy both, and played viola all the way through college at BGSU!

sad_quixote18 karma

What's your favorite piece to perform?

thefiddlerllc52 karma

In Vai's show, there was a ridiculous composition he had written called, Freak Show Excess... and ya just can't ever get bored with that. By show 86, I was STILL just as interested in what Steve had to say with that guitar, as I was with show one... Search that on the YouTube, and bring a change of shorts.

quicktick15 karma

How old do you think would be too old to start violin and become competent at it?

thefiddlerllc15 karma

Short answer - three years. Playing the violin will take you further into facilitating and understanding the musical language with regard to other instruments, BETTER THAN ANY OTHER. Ear training comes along with the violin by proxy... no frets. I teach online all day every day. Hit me up on FB!

Afk9411 karma

I played violin for for 7 years and was still big trash. Explain

thefiddlerllc30 karma

Sounds like you need one good dose of "SMART PRACTICE". Hit me up.

Thatsignguy15 karma

Have you ever heard of, or met Nashville show-fiddler Ronnie Martin? He was a wonderful, talented man whom my father played in a band with in Oklahoma back in the 1980's. Ronnie mainly played guitar in that outfit, but he would always do his Nashville show tricks during their performances, including undoing (not sure of the correct vernacular) his bow and wrapping it around his fiddle and reattaching it and playing some of the craziest licks I ever did hear.

thefiddlerllc22 karma

...a familiar name, and I have seen (and tried) this technique with wrapping the hairs of the bow around the fiddle... as the result, the violin assumes the kind of unique timbre which can be found no other way.

baiser14 karma

Hi Alex! Congratulations on your impressive and incredible career. Out of curiosity, would you say you were happy with your childhood? You were studying classical violin very early and competing when most young boys were running around climbing trees. Do you ever wistfully wish things had gone differently? Or are you happy with your journey?

thefiddlerllc33 karma

I AM happy, yes. And thankful to have had the kind of structure in my life which was indeed necessary for this level of success... did I HATE my Dad at times for literally MAKING me do it? Not unlike the third reich?? Yes. But in retrospect, soooo thankful. He said, "Son, you can either WORK from age five until you're 18, and then plaaaay from age 18 'till you're 80... or you can WORK from age five 'till you're 18, and PLAAAAAAY from age 18 'till you're 80. Which would be better for you?"

gmips11 karma

How do I play in tune? I practice scales all the time and I don't feel like my intonation is improving.

thefiddlerllc17 karma

Connect your ears with the contact point (where the hairs meet the strings of the violin). Until you're CRITICAL about pitch center, this will stay your reality. But when you DO listen... when you DO center on those sounds emanating from your own fiddle, that will be the moment your intonation begins a new life. Call me for details.

lynxminx11 karma

How do you feel about looping? If you're not familiar with the term, it's where you record 4-8 bars worth of chord changes and play over the recording on repeat.

I do some busking and I hate it, but crowds love it.

thefiddlerllc34 karma

I'm all over the internet with videos looping the violin. Using a Whammy pedal, I can reach into the lower frequencies and get butts wiggling, only to unleash the actual melody to whatever is being constructed... later. And usually, to the audience's delight... the latest can be found from last month as I opened for Jefferson Starship...

Afk9411 karma

Are you related to violinist Zach Depue?

thefiddlerllc29 karma

Zachary DePue is my youngest brother (of three) and I taught him everything I know! Since then, he learned a whoooole lot more!

IThinkImDumb12 karma

And your other brother is Jason De Pue? He was a guest soloist at an orchestra I subbed for and I got to play in the same concert as him. I was a little star struck because I remember your brothers from a documentary about the Philadelphia Orchestra (I think?). I just remember your brother being really nice. He came up to me after the concert and said I played well which meant a lot to me because I was having a TERRIBLE day and I was hoping it wasn’t leaking into my playing.

Anyway, no question I guess but so many people in my family are musicians but I was the one learning from them :)

thefiddlerllc23 karma

IThinkImDumb, if and when Jason DePue exclaims anything like satisfaction even... or in your case, "played well"? Then your accolades from Mr. DePue (1st vln Philadelphia Orchestra) were EARNED. That's not a "habit" for J... he could have as easily said nothing, which would definitely be his usual. Your performance must have been GREAT. Know it now and get the fiddle out of its case!

SKRATTADUUUUUU10 karma

Have you ever just messed around with your violin and ended up creating a masterpiece? And how is steve vai irl?

thefiddlerllc18 karma

The best example of exactly that is the video which subsequently went viral in 2006 @ YouTube... it's called, "Owner of a Lonely Heart / Smooth Criminal", and was just my way of filling time in the moment for an open mic night in San Diego, CA. It was that video which prompted a call from Steve Vai's management to audition for the role I ended up winning, resulting in a world tour with the rock guitar virtuoso, and more stories than we have time for here on Reddit AMA! lol Maybe...

bertbob10 karma

Have you been to Weiser, ID, and do you enjoy the Old Timey style?

thefiddlerllc10 karma

Yes, and yes...

Rounder0579 karma

Do you think the devil should have won in “the devil went down to Georgia?” I always thought his part was better but I don’t have a trained ear.

thefiddlerllc9 karma

I believe you will be entertained by TwoSet's video about the "glissando", and those techniques which seem so deceivingly difficult to execute on the instrument. haha You'll enjoy that just for the entertainment, but it's also an educational video which SHOULD be viewed by anyone and everyone who has ever seen/heard a violinist on America's Got Talent.

In answer to your question, I believe that it is the picardie third which brings to light the clear opposition to the devil's previous "minor" vibe, and brightens the listening room with what is now a MAJOR chord, being sawed upon by Charlie's "Johnny" character. That change in tonality also indicates the "win" by Johnny, because SO MUCH, ladies and gents... SO MUCH can be communicated with nothing more than a 1/2 step.

TunerOfTuna8 karma

How often do you get asked to fiddle on the roof?

thefiddlerllc9 karma

How often do you ask us to play it?

sanjitjain27 karma

What advice would you give to someone who has just started learning how to play violin and is in his early 20s?

thefiddlerllc16 karma

PRACTICE.

salajomo6 karma

Can you dance?

thefiddlerllc10 karma

I CAN, yes, but don't. lol

lula24886 karma

You have to prepare one dish for Gordon Ramsay. What would you pick?

thefiddlerllc11 karma

Spaghetti Pie! @Aria?? Back me up!

SayFriendAndEnter5 karma

How hard do you think the violin is to play compared to other instruments?

thefiddlerllc15 karma

1) Voice 2) Violin 3) French Horn 4) Classical Guitar

BeaconRunner5 karma

Where is home base for you?

thefiddlerllc7 karma

San Diego, California... yet no one can seem to understand that much here! lol

Echo41175 karma

How much practise is ample for learners compared with pros?

thefiddlerllc13 karma

One hour per day. Once ya tune and rosin your bow, you'll find yourself with 30 mins left for solid practice.

Viper76674 karma

How much do you focus on trying new songs or new ways of your own playing? Also what’s your favorite non music activity that you hold as your guilty pleasure.

thefiddlerllc6 karma

All the time, every time... favorite non-music activity? uhhh... hmm. ARIA?? Aria is my favorite non-music activity, bar none.

hummingbirds_R_tasty4 karma

Is their a piece of music you've played that has emotionally or physically moved you? I find string instruments have the power to convey such feeling in their sound. There have been times I've been brought to tears when hearing something the first time.

thefiddlerllc11 karma

Performing Barber's "Adagio for Strings" in Carnegie Hall while under the baton of Joseph Silverstein is a moment I'll never forget. If any of you ever wish to become moved by music, just find a great orchestra performing that work, and then LISTEN. Undisturbed. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE.

drsboston3 karma

How old would you recommend a child be exposed to playing an instrument? and would you suggest piano as a first instrument?

thefiddlerllc6 karma

I started at age five... I have heard success stories with those who began even earlier (age three?) and can't imagine that to be detrimental in any way... my Dad chose age five for we DePues because his ears couldn't stand to hear "music" coming from violins any smaller than 1/4 size. This is certainly to become contested. lol Have at it.

aseroboom133 karma

So, what's your life outside music?

thefiddlerllc12 karma

Is there such a thing? A life outside music... a life outside music... hmm. lol

Prepheckt2 karma

Do you have a favorite piece? Conversely, is there a piece that you just can't stand to play anymore?

thefiddlerllc4 karma

The ages old, often requested "Orange Blossom Special" is one that makes me tired just thinking about... I share this same sentiment with the current national fiddle champion, Katrina Nicolayeff! lol ...but we'll still play it for ya anyway.

hoyton2 karma

Hi Alex, thanks for doing this AMA. When I think of the "modern paganini", among many other musicians, including yourself, my mind often goes to Jason Becker. Like Steve Vai, have you had the chance to work with him?

thefiddlerllc3 karma

I know not this name, but will look him up thanks to you! Thank you...

Art-Vandelay412 karma

When was the most frustrating time for you along your journey to get to where you are now?

thefiddlerllc12 karma

This is an easy answer, yet troublingly personal... it centers on the subject of addiction, and CAN be overcome. I would like to become the poster boy for proving it, too. It's amazing of what the human psyche can convince us... it's important to wave that BS flag whenever things don't add up...

112121962 karma

[deleted]

thefiddlerllc2 karma

I do not... at least not my name! I would only imagine they're spectacular, though!

cantwaitforthis2 karma

Do you play any bluegrass?

thefiddlerllc5 karma

YES! All day long...

TheManlyManperor1 karma

Which composer, living or dead, would you most like to have compose a piece for you?

thefiddlerllc4 karma

That much has happened already... his name is Dr. Wallace DePue, Sr. A close second might be W.A. Mozart... but only AFTER he were to hear what I'm doing with the instrument in 2019.

_straylight1 karma

I had to put this in the form of a question... So... Did you love BGHS in 1990? So fun seeing you here! Sending big love from the hometown.

thefiddlerllc2 karma

I loved BGHS as soon as I could understand that what I was preparing to do was suddenly deemed "cool" by the hep crowd. Then it was game on.

Unsimulated1 karma

Is it hard to continue an upward career trajectory when you have such success at an early age?

Or do you invent new challenges to overcome?

thefiddlerllc2 karma

The latter... always keep yourself working. If you have something presenting you with an "itch" to achieve, just delve on in there! There is no time like the present. "Tomorrow" is for those who can justify procrastination.

alexx30641 karma

Do you have a favorite piece that you adlip or have your own version of?

thefiddlerllc2 karma

Honestly, I'm particularly fond of the work I did with Journey's "Separate Ways" (arrangement for solo violin). It's pretty sick, and would require the player to find out all of my own fingerings and bowings just to get that job done on the level I have recorded. An easier, yet just as pleasing arrangement, in my opinion, is "Take On Me" by A-ha... both are found all over the place.

DayBeast0 karma

Isn't bowling green state a shitty school?

thefiddlerllc1 karma

The Bowling Green State University Falcons are FORMIDABLE. In the 90's, we had a great music program. Since then, it has only grown and become GREATER. Our choral program alone used to beat up on Ohio State's chorus every season.