How do I play the double shuffle in Orange Blossom Special? Part Two.

In part one of this lesson, we looked at two types of double-shuffle bowing as well as two basic double-stop voicings to use with these bowing patterns.

Once you’re able to play these patterns with good timing and intonation, then you’re ready to tackle the triple-stop (three-note chord) version.

The easiest way to beef up the straightforward double-stop voicing we were using in part one is to simply add a bass note. Using the 2-to-2 bowing pattern (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about here, I refer you again to part one) , this is what that looks like:





You’ll notice that some of the double-stops in this pattern require you to use your first finger to play two notes at a time. With these double stops, rather than pressing on the string with your fingertip as you normally would, put your first finger down between the two strings that you’ll be playing. The very tip of your first finger should be touching the fingerboard while the sides of the fingertip press the strings down.

If you’re new to this type of fingering, be sure to take some time to get comfortable with it. This type of “barre” fingering (similar to the barre chords that guitarists use to reach several notes with one finger), as often as it comes up in the bluegrass fiddle repertoire, can be tricky to master.

To play this type of double-stop in tune, you need to be aware of the angle of your first finger. Changing the angle even slightly, as you’ll soon learn, can make a dramatic difference in pitch. It may take some practice to burn the correct angle into your muscle memory!

Now let’s see what that same chord voicing looks like with the 2-to-1 double-shuffle bowing pattern:





The next lesson will be sort of a master class on the double shuffle in Orange Blossom Special. We’ll look at some jazzier chord voicing that will require some shifting as well as some fairly tricky fingering.

We’ll also look at how to switch between the 2-to-1 and 2-to-2 patterns for maximum syncopation. In the meantime, happy fiddling!





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