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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: What Is The Simpalist Key To Play In

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fujers - Posted - 06/30/2016:  00:14:37

The question is about keys. I know many of you have a certain key that you like to play in. I too have a certain keys I like you to play in too..

I also now that there are certain keys that you can not play in. Thing/'s change from key to key.

Tell me what key is your favorite. Is it G,A,D,E, or C and F or Perhaps it's Eb,Ab, Bb or other keys. Just a question

There are certain keys that if you play one thing and you change keys you will not be able to play the same thing.

You might have to change positions to achieve the same thing or re tune to get get what you are looking for.

The right combination of what you are looking for is on your strings. Example, I recorded a tune that was in F now I couldn't find the right tonal quality's needed for this tune. It wasn't that I can't play play in F but something just didn't the key that didnt fit. So I retuned my fiddle to the key of E. Now E for me was no different than playing in F. But playing in E gave me more room to play on the upper string's un like F witch takes a lot more precision

So tell me, what is your favorite key to play in. Jerry

buckhenry - Posted - 06/30/2016:  02:56:55

G minor

pete_fiddle - Posted - 06/30/2016:  06:10:44

i like C,G,D, A and there relative minors and modes for most fiddle tunes  C,F,Bb,Eb  and there relative minors and modes for other stuff, (and some other fancy fiddle tunes), i don't really go any sharper or flatter than that if i can help it

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 06/30/2016:  06:10:59

My main fiddle seems to like A above all other keys. I have found D and G equally easy to get around in. Ed Bd and Ad can be managed from closed positions fairly well but I keep it straight forward and don't jump around too much. My thanks go to the person that decided that fiddles should be tuned in fifths. YAY!

BanjoBrad - Posted - 06/30/2016:  10:45:13

I prefer A and D, but then, that's what most of my OT tunes are in anyway.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 06/30/2016:  11:24:32

I once saw a profile of a famous classical violinist on TV.  I can't remember the guy's name but he remarked that all classical violin concertos are in D.  Sure, he was exaggerating a bit but he did strike the nail on the proverbial head.  D is the simplest, most natural key to play least in standard tuning and first position.  You've got an open string for the D, the tonic.  You've got enough tones below the tonic to get down to the G and A, the fourth and fifth.  You've got enough tones in the upward direction to get you all the way to the B. the sixth above the octave. 

Blu - Posted - 06/30/2016:  13:35:31


boxbow - Posted - 06/30/2016:  13:53:25

I like to play in D because it's so common in OT and that's where my proficiency lies.  I've learned tunes in a variety of other keys, though, and I can get used to odd keys in those tunes at least.  Some tunes I like a lot just because of what they sound like in that key or mode.  For improvisation, I can struggle outside of A, C, D, E and G.  But then sometimes it doesn't matter, depends on the music.  Interesting topic.

Astrang - Posted - 06/30/2016:  13:54:36

I like D, E, G, and A. Of those I prefer the key of D. With D, my fiddles seem to sound better, drones seem to work better for me, and with some adjusted turn arounds, I can play several of my tunes in two octaves without having to shift up the neck. (of which I am on the honor system to - “don’t be sliding up the neck no more”)

bsed - Posted - 06/30/2016:  14:04:05

D, G, A are easy keys because you can drone. 

But my favorite key might be F for 2 reasons:

* Most fiddlers don't like F, so I get few opportunities.

* It's one of those 'raggy' keys, and I love playing old rags, cakewalks, etc.

fujers - Posted - 06/30/2016:  14:07:34

I kinda like all the keys. If you start in D you can go up or down pretty easily, If you play A you can go up or down but you are limited to the upside. If you play E your limited to the up side but have a lot of room on the downside. G I like this key because it's in the middle of the range. C I like to but you are limited to the downside. F is a very pretty key but it to has it's limets . Bb is also a nice key but you have to use your fingers more and positions are a little bit hard to find . Eb well lets say has it's limitations but a very nice key it kinds of hard to use your fingers. Ab,,,no ones plays this key unless you are very Ab you have to use all your fingers and position work is very hard to play in. All in all I think playing in D,G, and C are best keys for what I play. But I not scared to play the other keys. Like playing in A you have only so far you can go to the upside and not go past third position above third position the fingering gets pretty dern close. Playing in Eb..You have to use more fingers and playing anything above second position it gets a bit tricky. Playing in Ab is for the birds. Like I said unless you are very very good you don't play in Ab. When was the last time you heard a fiddle tune in Ab...never. Thank you all for your post. Jerry 

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 06/30/2016:  16:14:58

I learned to play in the odd keys from closed positions because many guitar playing singers have a capo and are unafraid to use it. They often have little clue what key they are inflicting on the other players / instruments....... But then again I have also learned to sit out

fujers - Posted - 06/30/2016:  17:25:29

I play a lot of western swing and country not to much bluegrass but I can play it...just comes out swingy anyway. I think I like G and C the best because those keys really end theme selves to the kind of music I play. I like playing in D or A or E and F for the slow tunes but sometimes I'm not offered this and I need to play in other keys. The other keys I don't mind that much it's just not my preference. I kinda like playing ot but don't get chance to play it very often always concentrating on other things in my life. I like sometimes playing outside of the box you now not playing what is expected just different It allows me to explore my fiddle further. I guess that's why I preach practice I hope I don't get on your nerve about this practice. But I believe that if you practice good things will come. Enough of that.

We are all fiddlers and we should help each other be better fiddlers. I don't mean you any harm I'm here to help you be better. Trust me I don't mean you any harm. Jerry  

bsed - Posted - 06/30/2016:  17:28:03

Loved your insights, Jerry. What's this upside and downside stuff? (It's probably obvious, but somebody has to be oblivious to the obvious.)

fujers - Posted - 06/30/2016:  17:47:47 playing higher than your root playing lower than your root

buckhenry - Posted - 07/01/2016:  04:08:12

I never realized all those limitations existed, what with all those upsides and downsides, I just learned all my scales so I could play something in any the key....

Now lets see which fiddle tune can we play in Ab...............?

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/01/2016:  07:05:27

I thought it was called G#☺

When I read the topic title, the key of D is what came to mind, and I see it's popping up a lot in the comments. Then, after reading Jerry's actual topic post, he asks if there is "a certain key you like to play in" which to me is a different question.
I like Bb and F mainly for the tunes and the unique licks they provide. And like bsed says, most fiddlers don't like those keys so there's opportunity to play when those keys get called in a jam. Happens like, once a year unless bluegrass is involved, but when it does, I'm in!

Dave S - Posted - 07/01/2016:  11:03:10


Originally posted by FacePalm


I never realized all those limitations existed, what with all those upsides and downsides, I just learned all my scales so I could play something in any the key....

Now lets see which fiddle tune can we play in Ab...............?

Like playing in Eb or Bb if barred down there on the last two strings, but only a half step of downside (to use Jerry's term) to the open G from there unless you have a 5-string fiddle, so it's a bit tricky to pick an "only-upside" tune that would work. If you play Mineola Rag in it's original Eb, the last part is in Ab down there. Otherwise it's more closed positions, barring at the same position but one or two strings up. Not easy unless you're comfortable with closed positions, in which case it's just another key. Sounds like that's where you are, Henry. I'm envious. 

Edit: Fisher's HP in closed position at that low barre (Eb on D string, Ab on G string) works.

Edited by - Dave S on 07/01/2016 11:15:13

abinigia - Posted - 07/01/2016:  13:10:58

All the sharp keys and C are good for me. Some people find E to be difficult but once you get used to it it's good too. the flat keys get progressively harder. F, Bb, Eb not too bad. After that I don't think I ever use them.


Fiddler - Posted - 07/01/2016:  14:58:29

Ab is such an easy key on the fiddle.... said no one --- EVER!

DougD - Posted - 07/01/2016:  16:00:14

I've just read that Bob Dylan's song "Like a Rolling Stone" was composed (at an upright piano) in the key of G sharp, although it was eventually recorded in C. I happened to be in the audience when it was first performed, but I'm not really sure of the key.

The flat keys are great for horns, and piano (especially stride style). So if you want to keep up, you might need to practice a bit more.This key problem may be one reason why the violin kind of died out in jazz (as well as volume). As someone once said "One saxophone is worth fifteen violins."

Can't beat D,A,G, and C for fiddle tunes though!

fujers - Posted - 07/01/2016:  19:38:11

Doug I pretty much like the same keys. Anytime you don't have to close a note to play makes things so much easier.

Fiddle players love those open notes where you don't have to close notes.

Just like drones. you can hit an E and a E to get a drone. You can hit an A and an A to get a drone and the same goes for and D and G.

Guess what you can not get a drone out of something that is not there. Eb you can't get a drone, Bb you can't get a drone, Ab you can't get a drone F you can't get a drone and the same goes for B and Bb. At this point they called double stops if you hit two of the like notes.

Makes me wonder sometimes why some fiddlers like playing in the off keys. Now F is fine because you will hear a lot of fiddle players play in that key the same goes for B and Bb.. I wonder why they say they like playing in Eb and Ab witch is what it's called Ab. Why, there are other keys many other keys that you can play in that doesn't use as many closed notes. I mean have you ever heard a fiddle tune played in these keys. I haven't perhaps it might of been a classical player but fiddling no.

I worked a show at the Maryland Theater a couple of years ago with Mandy Barnett and Andy Reese form The Time Jumpers. Andy sent me over charts so I could review them and practice this was around Christmas so all the tune where Christmas tunes. Now Mandy wasn't you typical singer just playing E A D G no she had to play most of her songs in off keys. I was alright with that until I look at the charts and a tune was in Ab. Now Stuart Duncan was playing the fiddle and he played some really nice stuff...but at the very end he hit a bad note you could hear it Stuart Duncan. You see if a man like Stuart Duncan hit a bad note in Ab how hard do you think it would be for us little people to play in that key. That key is booger to play in  True story.

So I wonder why they say they like to play in these keys they profess that they can play in. Me I go for the keys I know I can play in and just fool around with keys I can't play.

If you want some good advise..I mean some really good advise.

Stick with the keys that you know you can play in and dabble with the keys you don't understand, If you stick with the keys you know you will get a lot further on down the road. Jerry




bluesmode - Posted - 07/01/2016:  20:32:03


Originally posted by FacePalm


G minor

I also like G minor. If I'm in G minor I can usually work in a full 4 string Bbmaj7 and/or Ebmaj7 arpeggio. it adds vertical interest. 

jefferylong - Posted - 07/01/2016:  21:09:15

I like D

bluesmode - Posted - 07/01/2016:  21:13:31


Originally posted by fujers

 >>Playing in Ab is for the birds. Like I said unless you are very very good you don't play in Ab. When was the last time you heard a fiddle tune in Ab...never.<< 

No, not for fiddle tunes..but for other stuff. Ab = C Phrygian. Eb = C aeolian & G phrygian. Bb = G aeolian & C dorian.

 Or, if you are playing with guitar players who use Capo's. I find myself in these keys fairly frequently down at the jam shack. Guitar strummers/singers will not hesitate to pull out a capo if it's a better key for them to sing in. 


Edited by - bluesmode on 07/01/2016 21:26:02

bluesmode - Posted - 07/01/2016:  21:42:44

....and then there's F. the F maj scale is quite often used in different modal tunes....G dorian, C mixolydian,, D aeolian, A phrygian. I've used the F maj scale for these modal keys down at the jam shack.

yes, I like G D A E C, But I don't mind Ab Eb Bb F.

fujers - Posted - 07/01/2016:  21:46:59

You know Dave, I play guitar too. I play weird if you ask me. I pick up a right hand guitar and play it backwards.

I don't play the things I can play on fiddle. I play something completely different. I play light jazz and blues rock and other stuff. I'm one strange person and my wife can tell you. The video I think you or somebody else showed on this site about this feller playing all these scales and what not reminds me of me.

I play fiddle yes and I also play guitar and they are two different beasts. Am I confused..I don't think so because I play one as well as the other. Mybe I'm crazy..but there again you have to explaine what crazy is

Getting into the deep end now so I will shut up. Jerry 


gapbob - Posted - 07/02/2016:  12:05:54

G is probably simplest, because you only have to use two patterns, and the A and E string pattern is easier being 1 and 2 fingers close rather than the high 3 that is on the low strings in the A pattern.  D is often the key folks start with, but it actually uses 3 patterns, as opposed to 2 for A and G.  They also feature the open strings which is easier.  Flat keys have 2 patterns also, but not so many open strings, though the tonality of those keys can be quite catching.


bluesmode - Posted - 07/02/2016:  21:05:58


Originally posted by gapbob



patterns is mostly how I play. There are 7 different closed finger patterns over 4 strings for the major scale, and they can be used modally for all 7 modes. Knowing these 7 closed finger patterns is very helpful when going up the finger help you not to get lost.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/03/2016:  02:54:28

modes are your friends :o)

fulfillingsoul - Posted - 07/06/2016:  03:25:43

Greetings! I have playing violin for a year and prefer 6 keys. C D G F, and lately Eb Bb.

It is great that the first note of scale (tonic note) can be played with vibrato.

So that i can end the song with a nice vibrato. Most songs end with that tonic note. 


Keys like D and G uses the open string as the tonic note.

So if i need to play that tonic note with vibrato, i need to use pinky on the string above. And pinky is not a preferred finger to use. Another option is to play in third position and not first position.


fujers - Posted - 07/06/2016:  19:31:52

You got it. Some of use can't use the pinky. Solution...use your other fingers to do the same. The fingers would be your second or third. I myself make most use of the second finger because it get me closer to third position. Who cares anyway. So if you can't use your provise

I say this to fulfullingsoul. You have come to the right place for learning and I hope that you enjoy the stay.

I don't think there's one place on this earth that you will not learn something. Like scales,modes,bowing, theory, MP3's and that's just the start of it. I would like to welcome you to the FH's  Fiddle World. Jerry

graeme - Posted - 07/07/2016:  04:02:00

I refuse to let what  I read on a forum upset me.

Just a hint: What has a highly disciplined, well-trained musician been through in learning playing our favourite instrument?  And why did he or she show such application to achieving high standard playing?


Let me assure you that if you lift the fall board (that covers the keyboard) on a piano, and play the black notes, any black notes, in any combination and in any order, you will not create dissonance, and you won't sound "out of tune". Gee, this can be fun.


Closely related to this "pentatonic virtuosity" is the achievement of "white key fever".

Play a somewhat in-control left hand sequence of octaves or fifths, using only white notes, and then play any melodic ruff and sluff you like in the right hand, using only white notes, and you will sound OK at worst. Perhaps you might sound inspired and ultra-contemporary. (Tone it down a bit, and play with rhythmic patters and phrasing, some dynamics, and only white notes of course, and you might even kid yourself you can play piano.) This can be a lot of fun, for the performer.

It means little to play fiddle only in D, G and A, and connected minor keys.  No matter how much fun you might have.

Now, I'm not trying to upset anyone.  But I do care for all of our members. I care enough to want to suggest that we should be thoughtful about our levels of musicianship, about what we can do, and what lies yet out of our reaches.

Keep an open mind.  Keep learning. The more you can do on the fiddle, the more fun you will have, and more people will have fun playing with you.

Just sayin'.

Fiddler - Posted - 07/07/2016:  06:49:19

What are the "easy" keys is relative. What is true for me may not be true for someone else. Yes, I found D,A and G fairly easy when I was learning, but I know there is more. Because of the limitation of folks with whom I play, those "easy" keys are predominant. If I were to associate more with fiddlers who play exclusively (or heavily) in the flatted keys, I would likely find those keys "easy."

Most string teachers will start new students with tunes in D,G or A. There is a reason - these keys use open strings and are forgiving.

From my vantage point of playing since 1977, I am still learning and frustrated at the same time. Yes, I have fun! However, I always keep in mind that creating music with others is a sacred act and connects me in a very special way.

fujers - Posted - 07/09/2016:  22:00:39

Kirk I think you are right about fun. This is no monster you are going to play overnight.

But if you just have fun with it who matters...who cares..just play it....have fun. Jerrytongue

First time I was able to put a smiley on a page.....  I may be old....but time keeps going on...oh well

dgoldmule - Posted - 07/14/2016:  15:07:15

I don't get to pick the key on most of our tunes the singer does.  So I try to play and learn a lot of tunes in Bb and Eb.  I can then play in any key by just moving up the neck.  I hate it!  I love A.

fujers - Posted - 07/14/2016:  15:52:44

Well Denny, I know what you mean a bout playing in the off keys they can be a booger can't they. I too have a preference of keys I like to play and A is one of them. I cring when someone calls a Bb or Eb because it greatly takes away what I can play in regular keys like G,D, E, F. C. But we all have to play in the off keys sometimes.

I see that you are new here. Let me welcome you to the FH. I think that you will find this site a very comfortable place to ask question about just about everything in regards to fiddle playing.

Enjoy your stay. Jerry

fujers - Posted - 07/14/2016:  16:10:46

Well Kirk, I think you will find that most fiddlers play in the keys you pointed out. There are so many tunes that you can play by just using the regular keys that boggle's the mind. Now, if you want to play in the off keys be my guest because it won't hurt you just makes you stronger. But to me learning how to play in the B's will take you a lot longer than playing in regular keys. You can learn a lot faster playing in regular keys than you could ever play in B's..

Most fiddlers use the regular keys in all there playing like E,A,D,G, F, and C. These keys offer open strings and we love open strings. Ever heard of cross tuning. This where you re tune your fiddle to suit your playing. If you can't use your pinky finger like hitting a high E...well you cross to where you can hit the note. There are all kinds of ways to cross tune...I would get in touch with Tony or Lee about this.

Fiddle playing is not hard you just have to know what it is that you want to play. I have heard some amazing stuff played by cross tuning and It's as simple as it gets.



Fiddler - Posted - 07/15/2016:  12:17:48


Originally posted by fujers


Well Kirk, I think you will find that most fiddlers play in the keys you pointed out. There are so many tunes that you can play by just using the regular keys that boggle's the mind. Now, if you want to play in the off keys be my guest because it won't hurt you just makes you stronger. But to me learning how to play in the B's will take you a lot longer than playing in regular keys. You can learn a lot faster playing in regular keys than you could ever play in B's..

Most fiddlers use the regular keys in all there playing like E,A,D,G, F, and C. These keys offer open strings and we love open strings. Ever heard of cross tuning. This where you re tune your fiddle to suit your playing. If you can't use your pinky finger like hitting a high E...well you cross to where you can hit the note. There are all kinds of ways to cross tune...I would get in touch with Tony or Lee about this.

Fiddle playing is not hard you just have to know what it is that you want to play. I have heard some amazing stuff played by cross tuning and It's as simple as it gets.



I am a huge fan of cross-tuning! Because of the OT genre I play, D,G,A,C and their relative minors come easily for me. I've been playing since 1977 and have on occasion wandered into flatted keys, B and E. (I like them because it really shows the qualities of the instrument.) But I found myself alone in the forest. No one else around me was playing anything in those keys. However, since I have been playing for English Country dances for the past 5 years, I have run into flatted keys, Gm, etc. and having to move out of first position.  I do enjoy them and the focus that is required for proper intonation, phrasing, etc. Going to folk and bluegrass jams and getting into B and E, as well as Ab(!!) is no longer a fearful activity.

So, knowing scales and positions is something I never really had to do early in my playing. It is a different story now.  Yes, playing in other keys does make you stronger.

I have two music-related regrets. One is that I did not pay attention during my 11 years of piano lessons, although I am able to read notes at a basic level. I was to be the heir-apparent to Van Cliburn. As you can see, I successfully resisted.

The second is that I did not find a qualified violin instructor who could teach me proper techniques when I first started. I was poor and stubborn. I taught myself. That one thing has hindered me through all of my years of fiddling. I hear things that I can not do. So, I am now unlearning bad habits.

coelhoe - Posted - 07/19/2016:  15:27:04


When I started playing in '67 (I think it was) I was advised to keep it "middle of the fiddle" that is: in the key of D.  I keep an 'working" list of about 80 tunes and I see that most are in D, followed by in G, a few in A, and maybe four in the key of C.  (I have one, "Sail Away Ladies" that I play in F. I don;' know why.)  Following Miles Krassin's lead in "Appalachian Fiddle,"  I start students in D and then go to G.  For the fiddler, as opposed to the violoinist dabbling in fiddle repertoire, the key of G gives the new player two full octaves and a bit more, all from so called first position.  for those with extraordinary long pinkies, you can get almost the same thing in the Key of C, but that high C on the E string is a stretch.  As to developing a flexible wrist:  a summer in the early 70's I was out at Beanblossum, helping out a bit as they got the park ready for the festival.  There was a fellow in his twenties, I guess, from eastern Kentucky, who had been taking lessons from Kenny Baker.  When asked about how to develop that smooth wrist, he said thaqt Kenny told him to sit in straight back chair up against the wall and fiddle while keeping your elbow at your side.  This seemed pretty hard to do, but just then Kenny walked by helping to strong up lights and the young man called out "straight back chair, right"  and Kenny nodded in agreement.  So the three or four of us went over to the barn to get a chair and try it.  I can't say that I've ever been able to completely  do it wiithout moving my upper arm, but I can see how it would help in trying to keep the wrist limber. Nowadays, I  seem to play mostly sitting with my elbow close in.   As to intonation:  I encourage beginners to play the scale to a tuner to try to learn the sound of the exact pitch.  Practicing the scales on a mandolin is quite helpful as well.    BTW, I do include a dose of theory along the way, stuff I wish I had known in the beginning, but not too much to overwhemm them, which is easy to do.     





DougD - Posted - 07/19/2016:  17:11:06

Dennis, good to hear from you again. Seems like its been a long time. Hope you're OK. Good advice too.

fujers - Posted - 07/19/2016:  20:58:28

Fiddler, I too was self taught. It was hard at first and little by little I found my way out of the forrest. I couldn't read a lick but I didn't let that stop me. Some of the people I love to listen too did the same thing...they just used there ears.

Some people think that you must read to get really good. Thats not true. I mean if I can do it you can too

Cross tuning is pretty cool isn't it. I don't cross tune that much anymore but I like it because you don't have to use all your fingers. There are so many ways to cross tune it boggles the mind...well it boggle's my tiny mind.

Coelhoe, Playing in the middle is a cool phrase. Thats were I like to play too. We fiddlers love anytime we can get to play with open strings. I play a lot in C and F and I sometimes play in Bb and Eb. Ab is very difficult to play in but I try.

As far as it goes for playing the upper C. I don't think you have to strech or have long fingers. What you do is go into 3rd position and it sitting right in front of you. Now this what I do...I don't know if this right or wrong but I hit it.

I take and go into 3rd and C is right there and I use my 3rd finger to close it...sometimes I use my pinky just depends on what I'm playing. So high C is not really that diffacult to play just going to have to get used to -playing in 3rd.

ooops..time to talk my medicine. I'm on these pycoanuminal medicine thats suppose to help me not be syco. I missed taking them last nite. Jerry



Fiddler - Posted - 07/19/2016:  21:16:58

Jerry, I enjoy playing in  cross-tuning not because of the ease or use of fewer fingers (I still use them all!), but because of the harmonics that you can't get out of standard tuning. For example, Midnight on the Water is ok in standard, but play it in DDad tuning and it is quite different. Same with Bonapart's Retreat (any of them) - they are quite different in DDad. I can go on with example after example. Hangman's Reel is another - ok in standard, but in AEac# -- it'll knock your socks off. (Most of the tune I play out of cross-tuning, I can also play in standard.)

I feel that I am a quite adequate contra/sqaure dance fiddler. I have no interest in contests or honky-tonk stuff - just not my thing. Like you, being self-taught has been a struggle, but I have been fortunate to have some very good mentors who helped me along the way. I am at a different place and working through some technical issues - bow control, intonation, moving out of 1st position, dynamics, etc. Things are coming, just slower because of the various distractions of life that keep me from playing. Having a qualified teacher early sure would have helped out!

fujers - Posted - 07/19/2016:  21:40:06

Well Kirk. I really can't tell you what's better or not better for you to play. I also play bonaparts but just a little different than you will normally hear.

I just know how I play...a little off center is how I I can't say either way if it is good or bad but I seem to make it work and we kind of do the same sometimes.

I know a little about harmonics in cross tuning and It does have some unusable sounds doesn't it. I just wished that I played cross tuning more...but I don't like re tuning my fiddle. I don't know maybe oneday I might but not right now.

I'm glad to hear that you cross tune...or atleast now how to croos tune because you can play some very nice tunes.

You mentioned AEAC# I think this was the tuning for black mountain rag. I haven't played that tune in a very long time. Was that the tuning. Jerry 

Fiddler - Posted - 07/20/2016:  04:03:58

Yes, AEac# is sometimes called "Black Mtn Rag" tuning.

One solution to retuning is to get another fiddle. I have one that is strictly for cross-tuning. Its "native" tuning is AEae. The other is always in standard tuning. Yes, it means having to carry two fiddles, but...

Also, a friend solve the retuning issue for him by putting a set of geared tuners (Perfections or such). It's cheaper than a new fiddle and he is able to retune very quickly.

fujers - Posted - 07/20/2016:  18:51:32

I've seen those before. In fact I have one here at the house. It's a very old fiddle and it was my friends daddy fiddle. I never played it because I play left handed. I can see where it would easier to tune but I'm stuck in the old world of playing.

Tell me where are you at in your fiddling. I know it might be a hard Question to answer. I mean it would be for me to answer...and frankly I wouldn't answer it. So you don't have to answer the question either.

I went and heard one of my favorite bands last night and they played there butts off. Now they don't play bluegrass or nothing like that they play swing and country. I sometimes work with them but decided I need a night off. My wife went with me,,and we had a good time. Besides now a days I like sitting a home and just write a few tunes

I'm getting ready to retire soon...not from music...but life itself. In all my years I haven't seen so much hate and all that goes along with it than I am seeing now. There doesn't seem to be any stop to it and I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better. As The World Turns I guess.  Anyway nice to talk to ya. Jerry

Fiddler - Posted - 07/20/2016:  21:16:30

Where am I in my fiddling? Like I said, I consider myself an adequate (well, good, strong) dance fiddler. My roots are in the fiddler music of the southern Appalachians, but I am drawn to the driving tunes of the Ozarks and Missouri, and in general, the midWest. (I learned from fiddlers in the Ozarks.) I like maritime fiddling and Cape Breton fiddling - a lot! But, I haven't immersed myself in that style.

I have no interest in contests - at least not now. Flash and hokum is a very poor disguise for mediocre playing. Yes, it might make for showmanship, but it does not impress me. I am a life-long fan of classical music. I appreciate the skill and talent they possess and the practice time they put in - something I did not do when I was younger. I appreciate good swing and jazz violinists, too!

Because of my interest in classical music, I have come to enjoy Baroque music quite a bit. I find it very accessible. In addition, this is the music era of many of the colonists who came to this country. This is the music that came with them and is the root of much of American fiddling. Yes, American fiddling has a foundation in celtic fiddling, but I find much in common with Baroque technique. Yes, they even cross-tune!

Because of this interest in Baroque music, I have come to enjoy English country dance fiddling. Some of the tunes are simple, but many are quite challenging! Playing the English dance tunes informs my approach to old time fiddling. Because of my childhood background, I am able to read notes, but at a very basic level.

Yes, I do not sound scratchy or primitive. I do not pay attention to bowing patterns. However, I am very much aware of phrasing. I also alter the dynamics as I play to add more expressiveness to the music.

I am currently focusing on two things: 1. intonation, especially in higher fingerboard positions. 2. Ear training / improvisation skills (learning tunes on the fly and harmonization)

So, as to not hijack the thread, the simplest keys to play in are those in which I am playing.

(I get discouraged about "life" too, but then I pull out my fiddle and all is better. Hang in there, Jerry.)

fujers - Posted - 07/20/2016:  22:07:29

Aww Shoot. I'm hanging in there. Well Kirk all I can say is hang in there buddy. We try to do the best we can and sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't. We ain't on no timeline anyway. I mean who cares if you can;t play a certain song heck I can't play a lot of songs no more but at least I try.

Remember this, It does not matter how you tune and it does not matter how well you play. All that matter's is that you play.....I have had a couple of strokes and a bunch of seizures and still I practice every night. Dedication to this instrument is my lives blood. I can see by the clock on the wall it's time to go to bed. I wish you well in your adventure and wish you well. Got to go now and it was a pleasure talking with you. Good night. Jerry  

Dick Hauser - Posted - 07/25/2016:  17:32:30

I like playing in D, F, and Bb. For a while there I learned some Kenny Baker tunes, and they all were in Bb. He must have been going through a phase.

fujers - Posted - 07/28/2016:  16:42:44

Dick, Do you really think that playing in Bb is easy. My experience is that it is not. I mean why play in keys that arin't inherent to the instrument. Like G,D,A and E. These keys are the most important keys to learn on the fiddle.

If you want to discover the other keys go ahead didscover. There are worlds for you to discover in these simple keys and you just don't know it yet.

If for some reason you like Bb then go ahead and play it. But while you doing that...the people in the regular keys will be light years ahead of you. Think about it. Jerry

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