I teach a variety of fiddle styles, including bluegrass, old-time, Western Swing, and swing. For beginners, we’ll work on basic fundamentals including proper hand and finger posture, bowing mechanics, and playing in tune with good tone. I use my own materials, including three of my own authored books, and hundreds of additional pieces at all levels.
A major emphasis is on developing proper bowing patterns and playing stylistically in the correct genre, especially important for violinists turned fiddlers. Over the years I have carefully transcribed countless solos from many of the greatest fiddlers for use as lesson material. I do use my own self-published books, Jack Tuttle’s Traditional Fiddle Collection, Jack Tuttle’s Bluegrass Fiddle Primer and sometimes also use The Fiddler’s Fakebook (Oak Publications).
I also work on playing by ear, playing both fiddle tunes and solos for singing pieces. Developing improvising skills is also a major focus for those who are ready and willing. I often play along with the student, sometimes on fiddle, but often accompanying on guitar. Students are encouraged to record the lesson.
Here are some helpful resources for fiddle:
- I have three books on fiddling at my Shop. Note: Jack Tuttle’s Bluegrass Fiddle Primer is a brand new re-write, just out in May 2020.
- Read my Recommended Fiddle Albums and my Recommended Bluegrass Albums on the About Bluegrass page.
- View the transcriptions below for a few tunes to work on.
My list of practice suggestions has always included playing with others. Band-in-a-Box or a similar program to play along with can help you get there. It can also be a good “non-complaining” accompianist for when you want to go through your fiddle tunes for hours on end. It can also be your metronome as you try to play slow cleanly, or get faster. It’s also great for improvising over chord progressions. If you have the Band-in-a-Box program but don’t want to take the time to enter the chords, I have done all the work. You can download a zip file containing the chord progressions for 161 fiddle tunes.
- Soldier’s Joy – a beginner example from my Traditional Fiddle Collection
- Robinson County – Ted Sharp from my Traditional Fiddle Collection
- Seneca Square Dance – Sam Long from my Traditional Fiddle Collection
- Bill Malley’s Shottische – Martin Hayes from my Traditional Fiddle Collection
- I’ll Fly Away – from my Bluegrass Fiddle Collection
- How Mountain Girls Can Love – James Price with Ralph Stanley from my BG Fiddle Collection
- Walls of Time – Stuart Duncan with Ricky Skaggs from my BG Fiddle Collection
- We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart – my version and Jimmy Shumate’s from my BG Fiddle Collection
- East Virginia Blues – two versions, from my Bluegrass Fiddle Collection
- Gold Rush – from my Bluegrass Fiddle Collection
- Shuckin’ The Corn – from my Bluegrass Fiddle Collection
- Bluegrass Stomp – from my Bluegrass Fiddle Collection