Category Archives: Technique

Cluck Old Hen Beginning Fiddle Lesson

Just posted a new video lesson on my Youtube channel. As I mention in the introduction to this lesson, Cluck Old Hen is a good second or third tune, if you’ve just started playing the fiddle.

For most fiddle players, Boil the Cabbage Down is the standard starter tune. I know it was for me. And for good reason. All the fingerings correspond to those three pieces of tape your instructor put on your fiddle at the first lesson, the bowing pattern is the same throughout the tune (long-short-short) and there’s a minimum of string crossing (by this I mean simply moving from one string to another).

In this tune, we have a low 2nd-position fingering (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, just watch the lesson — I’ll explain!) and a little more string crossing, but even so, it’s only a little more challenging than Boil the Cabbage Down. It’s the next step up, let’s say.

If you’d like a copy of the sheet music and back-up tracks that accompany this lesson, click on the subscribe link below and I’ll send you both for free!

Enjoy! And if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch using the contact form on my website.

Intro to Double-Shuffle Bowing (aka, “Hokum Bowing) Lesson

Learn to play Orange Blossom Special in twenty minutes! Well…not quite. But in this lesson we will go over the basics of the double-shuffle bow pattern (the part in Orange Blossom where the audience goes crazy). So, if you’d like to learn Orange Blossom Special, or Back Up and Push, this is your intro. We’ll…Continue Reading

Shuffle Bowing

[1/17/2018: check out my new video lesson on shuffle bowing below] A student once told me that Bruce Molsky in his fiddle workshops calls the violin bow a “rhythm stick.” I love that! Calling the bow a rhythm stick gets to the heart of what makes fiddling distinct from violin playing, and that of course is…Continue Reading

Tune of the Week: “Scotland”

Over the weekend, I did a twin fiddling showcase with Catie Jo Pidel at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s “12 for 12” Fundraiser, and one of the tunes we pulled out was Bill Monroe’s twin (sometimes triple) fiddling classic “Scotland.” Now, this is a tune I hadn’t played or thought about for quite some…Continue Reading

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…Continue Reading

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

UPDATE 1/8/2018: check out my new video lesson on double-shuffle bowing on Youtube.   This is a question that comes up in lessons and workshops a lot. I mean, A LOT! And that doesn’t come as a surprise. Orange Blossom Special is far and away the most popular American fiddle tune, it’s fun to play…Continue Reading