OLD-TIME FIDDLE with Bruce Molsky

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About This Course

Get deep into the roots of Southern Appalachian old-time fiddling. Bruce breaks down the melody, bowing patterns, rhythms, and embellishments of each tune he teaches so you can really learn to play like Bruce and the old masters he learned from.

BRUCE MOLSKY

Bruce Molsky is "one of America's premier fiddling talents" (Mother Jones) and a twice-Grammy nominated artist. The first permanent visiting professor in Berklee College of Music's American Roots Program, Bruce is the go-to guy for the next generation of fiddlers. 

Molsky.sepia.jpg

On the road 250 days a year, Bruce tours the world solo and with super groups Mozaik, The Jumpsteady Boys, the Old-Time Kozmik Trio, and as a trio with Aly Bain and Ale Möller. Bruce's latest solo album, If It Ain't Here When I Get Back, was released in the spring of 2013. No Depression called it "an album from an absolute master."

brucemolsky.com 

 

Old-Time Fiddle Course Overview

Latest Old-Time Fiddle Lesson

Going to Town

“Going to Town” comes from the great Arthur Smith, who was one of the innovators on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s and very influential on old-time and bluegrass fiddlers and all who heard him. “Going to Town” is a happy, bright, uptempo tune in the key of G. With Notation and Play-Along Track

Feedback and Discussion

Let Bruce know what you think of the course and interact with fellow Peghead Nation old-time fiddle students.

Peghead Play-Along Tracks

Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly. 

Old-Time Fiddle Lessons

Subscribe to Old-Time Fiddle for access to all these old-time fiddle lessons and new material every month! All lessons include notation.
  • Intro to Old-Time Fiddle Bruce Molsky introduces you to the wonderful world of old-time fiddle, playing a number of great tunes and explaining how the music was passed down, and how he’s going to pass it down to you.
JENNY BAKER
  • Jenny Baker, Part 1 Bruce talks about how, when learning fiddle tunes, it’s important to think of melodies the same way you think of spoken language. And he starts the process by breaking down the melody of the A part of “Jenny Baker” phrase by phrase. 
  • Jenny Baker, Part 2: B Part Melody Bruce teaches the melody of the B part of “Jenny Baker” phrase by phrase. Then he puts the two parts together, so you have the melody of the entire tune.
  • Jenny Baker, Part 3: Bowing In dance fiddling, the fiddle is a melody and percussion instrument, and the bow is the drumstick. In this lesson, Bruce shows you the bowing for “Jenny Baker.”
  • Jenny Baker, Part 4: EmbellishmentsSample Lesson Once you’ve learned the melody and basic bowing pattern, you can add bowing variations, accented bow strokes, and drone strings to give “Jenny Baker” a syncopated pulse. 
  • Jenny Baker, Part 5: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Jenny Baker” at a medium tempo and an easy dance tempo. Get your fiddle and play along with Bruce.
FINE TIMES AT OUR HOUSE
  • Fine Times at Our House, Part 1 The version of this great old tune comes from West Virginia fiddler Edden Hammons. It’s played with the low G string tuned up to A. Bruce breaks down the melody of the A part, note for note.
  • Fine Times at Our House, Part 2: B Part Melody The B part is a little more straightforward than the A part, with a regular stream of eighth notes. Bruce walks you through it phrase by phrase, and reviews the entire tune.
  • Fine Times at Our House, Part 3: Bowing Bruce’s bowing to the A part of “Fine Times at Our House” is not so much pattern-oriented as it is designed to put the accents in the right places. The B part can be played either with a straight shuffle bowing or the more-syncopated bowing that Bruce shows you here. 
  • Fine Times at Our House, Part 4: Embellishments Bruce shows you some double stops and drone strings you can add to the melody of “Fine Times at Our House.”
  • Fine Times at Our House, Part 5: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Fine Times at Our House” at a medium/slow tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo, so you can practice playing it with him.
THE BLUE GOOSE
  • The Blue Goose, Part 1 “The Blue Goose” comes from Kentucky fiddler Buddy Thomas. Bruce plays it a few times through and then breaks down the melodies of the A and B parts, which include some nice trills, slides, and blue notes. 
  • The Blue Goose, Part 2: Bowing and Embellishment In a simple tune like “The Blue Goose,” the bowing is very important. Bruce demonstrates a specific bowing for “The Blue Goose” as well as a few places to add open-string notes or double stops to the melody. 
  • The Blue Goose, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “The Blue Goose” at a medium tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo.
SOLDIER’S JOY
  • Tommy Jarrell’s Soldier’s Joy, Part 1 “Soldier’s Joy” is one of the most popular in the fiddle tune repertoire. The version Bruce teaches here comes from the great Tommy Jarrell. 
  • Tommy Jarrell’s Soldier’s Joy, Part 2: Bowing the A Part Learn Tommy Jarrell’s bowing style in this lesson. Bruce starts with a couple of exercises so you can get comfortable with the bowing patterns you’ll use before you add the bowing to the melody. 
  • Tommy Jarrell’s Soldier’s Joy, Part 3: Bowing the B Part The bowing in the B part of “Soldier’s Joy” begins with a simple shuffle pattern and is followed by a bowing with a nice counter rhythm.
  • Tommy Jarrell’s Soldier’s Joy, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Soldier’s Joy” at a medium tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo so you can practice the tune along with him.
KATY DID
  • Katy Did, Part 1: Melody The great old-time fiddler Lowe Stokes recorded “Katy Did” in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929. “Katy Did” is played in standard tuning in the key of C and has some nice bluesy, ragtime elements to dig into. 
  • Katy Did, Part 2: Bowing and Embellishment The bowing to the A part of “Katy Did” starts with a couple of slurs, followed by a lot of single “saw” strokes, of which Lowe Stokes was a master. The B part uses shuffle bowing all the way through. 
  • Katy Did, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Katy Did” at a medium tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him.
GEORGIA HORSESHOE
  • Georgia Horseshoe, Part 1: The A Part, Melody and Bowing “Georgia Horseshoe” comes from Bill Hensley, of western North Carolina. It’s a four-part dance tune in A tuning: A E A E. Bruce shows you how to get into A tuning and walks you through the melody and the bowing to the A part. 
  • Georgia Horseshoe, Part 2: B and C Parts The B part of “Georgia Horseshoe” is very similar to the A part. The first measure is the only measure that’s different. Bruce plays the A and B parts together slowly, and then teaches the C part melody and bowing. 
  • Georgia Horseshoe, Part 3: D Part and Drones Bruce teaches the D part of “Georgia Horseshoe,” which is similar to the A and B parts, and puts all four parts together so you can practice playing along with him at a slow tempo.
  • Georgia Horseshoe, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Georgia Horseshoe” at a medium tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him.
CUMBERLAND GAP
  • Cumberland Gap, Part 1: The A Part This version of the well-known old-time fiddle tune “Cumberland Gap” comes from the great North Carolina fiddler Tommy Jarrell. It’s in an unusual tuning: A D A D, which gives your fiddle a unique resonance. Bruce teaches the A part phrase by phrase.
  • Cumberland Gap, Part 2: The B Part The B part of "Cumberland Gap” includes a trill with a little bluesy microtone. Bruce shows you how to play this trill and takes the tune apart phrase by phrase.
  • Cumberland Gap, Part 3: Bowing and Embellishments Learn Tommy Jarrell’s bowing to “Cumberland Gap.” Bruce starts by showing you a couple of bowing patterns and then shows you how they fit with the melody of “Cumberland Gap.” 
  • Cumberland Gap, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Cumberland Gap” at a medium tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him.
CITACO
  • Citaco, Part 1: A Part Melody and Bowing The great dance tune “Citaco” comes from Georgia and was recorded in the 1920s by one of the most famous fiddlers of that era, Lowe Stokes. “Citaco” is in G D A D tuning. 
  • Citaco, Part 2: B Part Melody and Bowing Learn the B part to “Citaco,” both the melody and bowing, which starts with a regular shuffle bowing pattern. 
  • Citaco, Part 3: Variations Bruce shows you a couple of bowing variations to the B part and talks about the drones he’s playing on both parts. 
  • Citaco, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Citaco” at a medium tempo and then at more of an easy dance tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him.

BLUE TAIL FLY

  • Blue Tail Fly: Part 1: The A Part “Blue Tail Fly” was recorded in the 1920s in a skit by Seven-Foot Dilly and His Dill Pickles. It’s in the key of G in standard tuning. Bruce talks about ways of getting the tune in your head and fingers and then takes apart the melody of the A part phrase by phrase.
  • Blue Tail Fly: Part 2: The B Part The B part of “Blue Tail Fly” has a lot of similar phrases strung together, so Bruce takes it slowly, showing you each bit of melody one at a time. 
  • Blue Tail Fly: Part 3: Bowing The bowing of the first two phrases of the A part is exactly the same, so once you get the bowing to the first phrase down, you’ll have it for both phrases. And that bowing is similar to the first phrase of the B part.
  • Blue Tail Fly: Part 4: Drones and Double Stops Make the tune come alive even more by adding some drones and double stops. Bruce also shows you how to punctuate the rhythm by accenting some of the drones.
  • Blue Tail Fly: Part 5: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Blue Tail Fly” at a medium tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him.
SINGING AND FIDDLING
  • Singing and Fiddling: “Green Grows the Laurel,” Part 1 Bruce teaches you one of his specialties: singing and playing the fiddle at the same time. Specifically, playing harmony parts with the fiddle. You’ll learn the traditional song “Green Grows the Laurel,” but first Bruce gives you a couple of exercises to get started thinking about singing with the fiddle. 
  • Singing and Fiddling: “Green Grows the Laurel,” Part 2 Bruce shows you the melody of “Green Grows the Laurel” first, along with the words, so you can sing the melody with the fiddle. Then he shows you how to play chords behind the melody, and a simple parallel harmony below the melody. Finally he shows you how he combines all of these elements into an effective arrangement. 
JENNY ON THE RAILROAD
  • Jenny on the Railroad, Part 1: A Part Melody The dance tune “Jenny on the Railroad” was recorded by the Carter Brothers and Son in 1928. It uses an A Mixolydian scale and has several parts that share melodic phrases. Bruce plays the whole thing and then walks you through the A part’s melody. 
  • Jenny on the Railroad, Part 2: B, C, and D Parts Learn the melodies to the B, C, and D parts of “Jenny on the Railroad” in this video. The B part is short and includes the ending phrase from the A part, while the third part has an unusual structure but still ends with the same phrase as the A and B parts. The D part uses melodic phrases you’ve already learned and is half as long as the other parts. 
  • Jenny on the Railroad, Part 3: Bowing A good approach to the bowing of “Jenny on the Railroad” is to think about the sense of “gallop” in the rhythm. You can achieve that by using straight shuffles and using a few early bow strokes to give it some excitement. Bruce shows you how the shuffle rhythm fits the melody of the tune and gives you a few options to try. 
  • Jenny on the Railroad, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Jenny on the Railroad” at a medium tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him.
SHOVE THE PIG'S FOOT A LITTLE FURTHER IN THE FIRE
  • Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire, Part 1: A Part Melody “Shove the Pig’s Foot” is a popular tune in the old-time repertoire. It comes from Marcus Martin, from western North Carolina, who recorded for the Library of Congress in the 1940s. 
  • Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire, Part 2: B Part Melody Learn the melody of the B part of “Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Bit Further in the Fire” in this video. Bruce plays the melody phrase by phrase, and then plays through the entire tune (A and B parts), so you can play it along with him. 
  • Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire, Part 3: Bowing The bowing in “Shove the Pig’s Foot” isn’t as pattern oriented as some tunes. The bowing, instead, responds to the phrasing and rhythm of the melody, which can be likened to speech, with punctuation, breath, etc. Bruce walks you through his bowing of both parts slowly. 
  • Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire, Part 4: Drones and Harmonies Marcus Martin didn’t really embellish “Shove the Pig’s Foot” with anything other than an occasional simple drone note. Since the tune is in the key of G, you can add either a G or D string drone below the melody. Bruce also shows you some harmonies and double stops that he likes to add. 
  • Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire, Part 5: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Shove the Pig’s Foot” at a medium tempo so you can practice playing the tune along with him. 
PICKIN’ THE DEVIL’S EYE
  • Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye, Part 1: Melody “Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye” comes from Mississippi fiddler Enos Canoy, who had a bluesy, syncopated style of fiddling. Bruce’s version has evolved since he first learned it and the tune has become a vehicle for different ways of creating rhythm on the fiddle. It’s also in an unusual tuning, A E A C#, sometimes called “Black Mountain Rag” tuning. Bruce plays  “Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye” through a few times, with some of his variations, and then breaks down the basic three-part melody.
  • Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye, Part 2: Bowing and Drones You’ll learn the bowing to “Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye” in this lesson. Bruce shows you the “pulses” that emphasize the second note played with one bow stroke, and shows you where you can play drone notes, which sound particularly good in the A E A C# tuning. 
  • Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye, Part 3: Variations You learned the basic tune in the first two videos. In this video Bruce teaches you a couple of rhythmic parts that he has added. He also gives advice on adding pulses to your bow strokes, a technique that is featured in the new parts. 
  • Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Pickin’ the Devil’s Eye” (with variations) at a medium tempo so you can play the tune along with him.
GREASY COAT
  • Greasy Coat, Part 1: Melody West Virginia fiddler Edden Hammons was recorded in 1947 by a collector named Louis Chappell. Hammons’s playing has a Scottish influence, with strongly detailed phrases and an old-fashioned style of intonation. You’ll learn his version of “Greasy Coat” in this lesson. “Greasy Coat” is in A E A E tuning, and Bruce starts by playing the tune through a couple of times, before breaking the melody down for you phrase by phrase. 
  • Greasy Coat, Part 2: Bowing and Drones Learn the bowing to “Greasy Coat” in this video. The first three phrases of the A part start with a shuffle and end with a flourish. The fourth phrase starts with a trill and ends with saw strokes. Bruce walks you through the bowing and then shows you where you can add some drones to punctuate the melody. 
  • Greasy Coat, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Greasy Coat” at slow and medium tempos so you can play the tune along with him.
ACORN HILL BREAKDOWN
  • Acorn Hill Breakdown, Part 1: Melody Tommy Jackson was a Nashville session fiddler in the 1950s. He also recorded a series of square dance records designed for people to dance to, and wrote the tune you’ll learn in this lesson: “Acorn Hill Breakdown.” Bruce plays it through and then breaks the melody down, phrase by phrase. You’ll learn the melody to both parts of “Acorn Hill Breakdown” in this video. 
  • Acorn Hill Breakdown, Part 2: Bowing Bruce takes shows you the bowing for “Acorn Hill Breakdown” in this video. Most of the tune is played with a shuffle bowing, with a few exceptions. Bruce starts by reviewing the shuffle bowing pattern and then starts going through the tune, pointing out string crossings to watch for as well as the variations in the shuffle pattern. 
  • Acorn Hill Breakdown, Part 3: Drones and Double Stops Bruce shows you some of the drones and double stops he likes to use in “Acorn Hill Breakdown” and gives advice on how much and when to use them. 
BACKSTEP CINDY
  • Backstep Cindy, Part 1: The A Part, Melody and Bowing One of the most popular fiddle tunes in the Round Peak area of North Carolina is “Backstep Cindy,” the subject of this month’s lesson. It’s a three-part dance tune with crooked phrasing and interesting bowing, played in a high-bass tuning with the G string tuned up to A: A D A E. Bruce plays the melody of the A part through and then starts breaking it down phrase by phrase, along with the bowing, which is integral to the melody.
  • Backstep Cindy, Part 2: B and C Parts, Melody and Bowing You’ll learn the melody and basic bowing to the B and C parts of “Backstep Cindy” in this lesson. 
  • Backstep Cindy, Part 3: Circular Bowing Learn some ways to add double stops and chords with a circular bow movement. Bruce starts by showing you a couple of bow pattern exercises and then shows you the circular bow movement, using the bowing patterns and then the melody to the A and B parts of “Backstep Cindy.” 
  • Backstep Cindy, Part 4: C Part Variations Fiddlers play the C part of “Backstep Cindy” in many different ways. Bruce shows you some here, starting by adding pulsing and the circular bowing pattern you learned to the basic melody and moving to some rhythmic variations used by Tommy Jarrell and others. 
  • Backstep Cindy, Part 5: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Backstep Cindy” at a medium tempo so you can play the tune along with him.

L&N RAG

  • L&N Rag, Part 1: Melody This ragtimey tune in the key of C comes from Corbin, Kentucky, and the playing of Alex Hood and his Railroad Boys, who recorded it in 1930. Bruce plays “L&N Rag” through and then starts breaking it down, phrase by phrase. The B part of “L&N Rag” has a repeated phrase with an extra beat. You’ll learn the melody to both parts of “L&N Rag” in this video.
  • L&N Rag, Part 2: Bowing You’ll learn the bowing to “L&N Rag” in this video. It can be played with a straight shuffle, but Bruce shows you some variations, which sound especially good at the beginnings and ends of phrases.
  • L&N Rag, Part 3: “Play-Along Track” Bruce plays “L&N Rag” at a medium tempo so you can play the tune along with him, and then he plays it through a few times with mandolinist Joe Walsh at the tune’s usual tempo. 

SINGING AND FIDDLING: “GOODBYE OLD PAINT”

  • Singing and Fiddling: “Goodbye Old Paint,” Part 1 The song “Goodbye Old Paint,” which you’ll learn in this lesson, is in the Alan Lomax cowboy song books and was recorded years ago by Harry McClintock, the version closest to the one Bruce teaches here. Bruce sings “Goodbye Old Paint” in the key of A and plays it on the fiddle in AEAE tuning. He starts with an exercise to help you get used to singing with your fiddle, first by singing an A major scale in unison with your fiddle and then in harmony with your fiddle. Then Bruce shows you the song’s melody on the fiddle, both the verse and chorus, phrase by phrase.
  • Singing and Fiddling: “Goodbye Old Paint,” Part 2 After learning the fiddle melody, in this lesson you’ll learn to accompany your singing using the fiddle. Bruce starts by showing you some basic chord double stops for the chords of A, E, and D, and then sings the verse and chorus with simple chords. Then he shows you how to play the melody along with your voice, and even add some harmony notes on the fiddle.
  • Singing and Fiddling: “Goodbye Old Paint,” Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce sings and plays “Goodbye Old Paint” all the way through so you can play (and sing!) along with him. 

APPLE BLOSSOM

  • Apple Blossom, Part 1: Melody This version of “Apple Blossom” was recorded by the John Lusk String Band for the archive of the Library of Congress in the 1940s. “Apple Blossom” is in the key of D, played with the G string tuned up to A, and it has a lot of similarities to “Sally Ann.” It’s a very rhythmic tune, so Bruce spends some extra time on the bowing in this lesson. He starts by playing the basic melody of the A part through, and then breaks it down phrase by phrase, followed by the B part melody. You’ll learn the melody to both parts of “Apple Blossom” in this video.
  • Apple Blossom, Part 2: Bowing In this video, Bruce shows you the bowing for “Apple Blossom.” The bowing to the A part is built around the phrase of the melody, while the bowing to the B part is straight shuffle bowing. Bruce walks you through the bowing to both parts and then plays it a couple times, so you can play along. He also shows you the double stops and drones you can add, and how to give your playing a little more rhythmic “bite.” 

FORT SMITH

  • Fort Smith, Part 1: Melody Luke Highnight and His Ozark Strutters recorded “Fort Smith Breakdown” in the 1920s, which can be found on a County Records compilation called Echoes of the Ozarks. “Fort Smith” is in the key of G in standard tuning. Bruce plays the unadorned melody through and then takes it apart slowly, phrase by phrase.
  • Fort Smith, Part 2: Bowing Bruce shows you the bowing he uses for “Fort Smith” in this video. Most of it is played with a straight shuffle, but in the first anticipated phrase of the A part, you stretch the bow strokes out to match the rhythm of the melody, and there are a few other variations to the shuffle pattern as well. Bruce also shows you how to play the A part in the higher octave in this video, and shows you how can add some punch to the rhythm with some open string hits.

GLORY IN THE MEETING HOUSE

  • Glory in the Meeting House, Part 1 Alan Lomax recorded a lot of great fiddlers on his 1937 trip to the South, including Eastern Kentucky fiddler Luther Strong, the source for this version of “Glory in the Meeting House.” It’s in the key of E minor, but in an unusual tuning: E D A E, with the lowest (G) string tuned down to E. Bruce starts by playing the unadorned and unaccented melody through, and then breaks the A part melody down, phrase by phrase. You’ll also learn a nice syncopated bowing for the first part of “Glory in the Meeting House” in this video.
  • Glory in the Meeting House, Part 2 The B part of “Glory in the Meeting House” is made up of four short identical phrases. Bruce plays it through and then takes it apart slowly. You’ll also learn the bowing to the B part in this video. Bruce starts with straight shuffle bowing and then shows you some variations including how to put an emphasis on the downstrokes of the shuffle pattern.
  • Glory in the Meeting House, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Glory in the Meeting House” at slow and medium tempos so you can play along with him.

SUSANANNA GAL

  • Susananna Gal, Part 1 The old-time favorite “Susananna Gal” is known by a few other names, including “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss” and “Western Country.” The version Bruce teaches you here, which is in A D A E tuning, is from the Round Peak area of North Carolina, home to great fiddlers like Tommy Jarrell, Kyle Creed, and others. Bruce plays the basic melody through and then takes it apart, phrase by phrase. You’ll also learn the bowing to the first part of “Susananna Gal” in this video.
  • Susananna Gal, Part 2 You’ll learn the B part of “Susananna Gal” in this video, including the bowing. Bruce also talks about playing the G on the high E string a little bit sharp and shows you the drones, double stops, and pulses you can use in “Susananna Gal.”
  • Susananna Gal, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Susananna Gal” at a slow tempo so you can play along with him.

NEW MONEY

  • New Money, Part 1 The tune “New Money” comes from Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts, who recorded it in the 1930s. It’s a lyrical tune in the key of C in standard tuning and has a bit of a ragtime flavor. Bruce plays it through without embellishments and then takes the A melody apart phrase by phrase. He also shows you the bowing for the A part, which mostly uses shuffle bowing, but with a couple variations for the syncopated “raggy” parts of the melody.
  • New Money, Part 2 You’ll learn the B part of “New Money” in this video. Bruce plays the melody through and then takes it apart phrase by phrase, giving you advice on fingering the C arpeggios that begin the B part. He also shows you the bowing, which has a a few more variations on the shuffle pattern, including a syncopated bowing Doc Roberts often used.
  • New Money, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “New Money” at slow and medium tempos so you can play along with him.

KANSAS CITY REEL

  • Kansas City Reel, Part 1 This great old tune is from Fiddlin’ Bob Larkin, who played with a band called the Melody Makers in the 1920s. It’s played in AEAE tuning, with the G string tuned up to A and the D string tuned up to E. Bruce starts by playing the tune through and then takes the melody apart phrase by phrase. You’ll also learn the bowing to the A part, a straight shuffle pattern except for the very end.
  • Kansas City Reel, Part 2 You’ll learn the B part melody and bowing in this video. Bruce plays it through and then breaks it down phrase by phrase. The bowing of the B part has some variations on the shuffle bowing to match the phrasing of the melody. Bruce also shows you some drones to play on both parts. 
  • Kansas City Reel, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Kansas City Reel” at a medium tempo (and then more of a dance tempo) so you can play along with him.

GARFIELD’S BLACKBERRY BLOSSOM

  • Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom, Part 1 The version of “Blackberry Blossom” you’ll learn in this lesson is not the tune common in the bluegrass world and which comes from Arthur Smith. This tune is much older and is sometimes called “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom” to differentiate it from the bluegrass fiddle tune. There are a number of great recordings of this version of “Blackberry Blossom” from Ed Morrison, Snake Chapman, and Ed Haley. Bruce starts by teaching you the basic melody of both parts and then starts breaking down the A part, phrase by phrase. He also shows you the bowing he uses for the A part, much of which is shuffle bowing, with a couple of variations. 
  • Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom, Part 2 You’ll learn the melody and bowing to “Blackberry Blossom” in this video. Bruce plays the melody through slowly, phrase by phrase, and then shows you the bowing, which is pretty straightforward. Bruce ends by playing the tune through at a medium tempo, with some of the variations he likes to add. 
  • Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom, Part 3: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Blackberry Blossom” at a slow tempo so you can play along with him.

OLD VIRGINIA 

  • Old Virginia, Part 1 The beautiful old love song “Old Virginia” is a great song to sing with the fiddle. You’ll learn a few different ways to accompany your singing in this lesson, starting by just doubling the melody on the fiddle. Bruce plays and sings the first verse and then breaks each line of the verse down, showing you how to match the phrasing of your voice with the fiddle. Then Bruce gives you an exercise in which you sing and play the notes of the G major scale. 
  • Old Virginia, Part 2 Once you’ve learned to play and sing the melody together, Bruce shows you some simple double stop chords and how to add them to the melody. He finishes by singing the entire song all the way through. 

JEFF STURGEON

  • Jeff Sturgeon, Part 1: Melody The great old-time fiddle tune “Jeff Sturgeon” comes from John Morgan Salyer of Salyersville, Kentucky. It’s a “crooked” tune in A E A E tuning, and uses the major and Mixolydian scales. You’ll learn the basic melody to all three parts in this video.
  • Jeff Sturgeon, Part 2: Bowing Playing fairly straightforward bowing on “Jeff Sturgeon” works really well, and that’s how John Salyer played it. Bruce starts by showing you the straighter bowing, which mostly uses a shuffle pattern and a quarter note pattern. You’ll learn the bowing to all three parts in this video. Bruce finishes by playing the whole tune through with the basic bowing a couple of times. 
  • Jeff Sturgeon, Part 3: Variations In this video you’ll learn some of Bruce’s favorite variations to “Jeff Sturgeon,” a lot of which involve taking straightforward rhythmic phrases and syncopating them, and adding open strings to get counter rhythms. You’ll also learn some cool double stops as well as a bow triplet. Bruce also shows you how to add a pulse to the bow pattern. 
  • Jeff Sturgeon, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Jeff Sturgeon” at medium and fast tempos so you can play along with him.

Going to Town

  • Going to Town, Part 1: Melody “Going to Town” comes from the great Arthur Smith, who was one of the innovators on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s and very influential on old-time and bluegrass fiddlers and all who heard him. “Going to Town” is a happy, bright, uptempo tune in the key of G. Bruce plays the basic melody through and then takes it apart, phrase by phrase.
  • Going to Town, Part 2: Bowing Bruce shows you the bowing he uses for “Going to Town” in this video. The bowing starts with straight shuffle bowing, and then Bruce varies it with some longer bow strokes. The B part has a lot of nice syncopation and Bruce uses the bow to make that stand out. 
  • Going to Town, Part 3: Double Stops In this video, you’ll learn some things that Bruce does to flesh out “Going to Town,” including double stops and syncopated rhythmic accents. 
  • Going to Town, Part 4: Play-Along Track Bruce plays “Going to Town” at medium and fast tempos so you can play along with him.

Old-Time Fiddle Source Material

Here are some of the original source recordings for the tunes you're learning in the Old-Time Fiddle course. 


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