If the fiddle tunes I go over in my Bluegrass Guitar Essentials course aren’t enough for you, here are some more killer Fiddle Tunes you’re sure to find useful in your own playing!
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The Importance of Learning Fiddle Tunes
The Best Education You’ll Ever Need in Bluegrass Guitar
When it comes to learning to flatpick in the Bluegrass guitar style, I’d have to say that learning as many “Fiddle Tunes” as you can is one of the most important things you can do to improve your playing. You’ve probably heard the adage “You learn best by doing.” Well, in the case of honing your picking skills, playing speed, knowledge of the fretboard, and many other techniques involved in flatpicking, learning more fiddle tunes is your best friend on the road to successful flatpicking Bluegrass guitar.
Why is that? In my opinion—and the opinion of many other Legendary Bluegrass guitar flatpickers such as Steve Kaufman, Bryan Sutton, and Tony Rice—the more fiddle tunes you have in your flatpicking arsenal, the more you know about what licks and phrases you can incorporate into other songs. For example, if I learn a great lick from “Beaumont Rag” in C (video above), chances are I can incorporate the same lick into another tune in the same key such as “Billy in the Lowground” (video above). If I wanted to play yet another tune in D, I can use my capo on the 2nd fret of my guitar and play in the C shape and use the same lick I learned in “Beaumont Rag” in that tune as well. This also applies to licks found in the G shape such as “Blackberry Blossom” and “Gold Rush” (videos above). This is what I refer to constantly in my videos as “Copying and Pasting” licks from one song to another.
Using this method of learning, you’ll find that you are constantly coming up with new ideas, licks, and phrases of your own to incorporate in more and more fiddle tunes. This process is endless and therefore you’re continually growing in your knowledge and expertise of Bluegrass guitar!
So Just What Is A “Fiddle Tune” Anyway?
There are several definitions including those from Jargon Database:
Instrumental song. In the string band days of the 19th and early 20th century the fiddle (violin) was the lead instrument on these songs. In the modern era these are commonly performed on the guitar, which is a trend started by Doc Watson in the 60s.
and one definition from Wikipedia:
Old Time Fiddle
Old time fiddle is a genre of American folk music. “Old time fiddle tunes” may be played on fiddle, banjo or other instruments but are nevertheless called “fiddle tunes”.
Personally, I tend to define a fiddle tune as any piece of Folk, Country, Bluegrass, or Traditional music such as Gospel Hymns that I can create an instrumental from on the guitar using the melody of the song. After you’ve formed the basic melody as a foundation, you can then embellish the song adding your own personal flare. This aids you in finding your very own personal style of playing Bluegrass guitar!
Where Do I Go From Here?
After you’ve watched the videos above for some ideas on how to play many of the popular fiddle tunes in the Bluegrass guitar genre, you can find several more songs and fiddle tunes which I cover in my Bluegrass Guitar Essentials course. As of now, the course is only available in the Webisodes format. The “Songs and Fiddle Tunes” section is almost ready to be completed, so be sure to stay tuned to the Webisodes page and take advantage of limited-time special introductory pricing while you can. Details on the pricing for previous, current, and future Webisodes can be found on this page as well.
So please watch the videos above and be sure to leave your comments below for others to read and benefit from. Also, please take a moment and share this article on your favorite social network (share buttons below). It’s nearly impossible for me to reach everyone with these invaluable resources without your help.
Until next time,
Best Wishes and Keep Practicing,