Bill Monroe’s fiddle tune “Big Sandy River” has been a favorite of flatpickers ever since Dan Crary recorded it as “Cross the Big Sandy” on his 1970 instrumental album Bluegrass Guitar, one of the first albums devoted to flatpicking guitar instrumentals. “Big Sandy River” has a distinctive beginning in its first two measures, but from there on people play it very differently, and the melodies people choose are based more on the chords of the tune and the general shape of the melody rather than a specific series of notes. This makes it a great tune to jam on, and allows you to easily come up with your own version. The original Bill Monroe version features Kenny Baker on fiddle, and his line on the V chord in the A part is very distinctive but a little unwieldy on the guitar, which is probably one reason guitarists, including Dan Crary, started modifying it right off the bat. In this lesson, you’ll learn Kenny’s original fiddle melody as well as a way to play the tune that is more like the way guitarists generally play it.
"Big Sandy River" (Available to subscribers)