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Oct 18, 2022 - 3:11:15 AM
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2317 posts since 7/4/2007

I've recently been having some "Ah ha!" moments on intonation and playing in tune. I feel really confident in G for sure, but really anything with an open string or two to work off of.

It's this: the fiddle is basically tuned in Open G Pentatonic tuning - G D A E. Play the G pentatonic from the low G string. There are four notes on every string. You should be able to reach all those notes with one hand position. That grid will give you everything for any key.

G string- G A B D
D string- D E G A
A string- A B D E
E string- E G A B

This is essentially the most useful fiddle grid in standard tuning.  Every note can be played with an adjacent open string. 

Play the G pentatonic scale until those tones start jumping out at you. I think this is the loudest scale on the violin and thus, the easiest to master. The open G and D strings will hum in harmony when you play the notes on the A and E strings. Use the open strings as drones for all these doublestops. Use the open strings to keep you in tune. The open A string and open D string will help you find your G note on the D string. Listen to the open strings. G is your home note but the open strings will help guide you there.

Play the modes to. From G to G, from A to A, B to B, etc. The fiddle really sings on this scale.

Make sure your fiddle is in tune with itself. TUNE IT EVERYDAY! Even if you think you're already "in tune", tune it anyway.

Can you sing "Do Mi So" starting on G? Use an electronic tuner that will make those tones. Check yourself everyday and learn to be able to hum "Do Mi So" in your head. Start with any random "Do" and see if you can hear the "Mi" and "So". You can do it if you work at it a little. We all know the pentatonic scale. We've heard it all our lives.

This G major Pentatonic scale is also an E minor Pentatonic scale. So you can target landing on the E note with a minor or bluesy feel.

Play nothing but those 5 notes for a while and really memorize the finger spacings on each string. If you've got decent left hand and bowing technique, that scale should start to build a foundation for your intonation. Remember: the open strings are RIGHT! Use them to be in tune in this G major pentatonic scale. A huge part of fiddling is playing chords and playing pentatonics gives you the chord tones.

There is a ton of fiddle music in this one scale and I think because of the low G and D string, the fiddle's key is G!  D and A and C are right there too with lots of good open strings. 

Edited by - fiddlenbanjo on 10/18/2022 03:20:16

Oct 18, 2022 - 10:23:04 PM

2317 posts since 7/4/2007

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlenbanjo

I've recently been having some "Ah ha!" moments on intonation and playing in tune. I feel really confident in G for sure, but really anything with an open string or two to work off of.

It's this: the fiddle is basically tuned in Open G Pentatonic tuning - G D A E. Play the G pentatonic from the low G string. There are four notes on every string. You should be able to reach all those notes with one hand position. That grid will give you everything for any key.

G string- G A B D
D string- D E G A
A string- A B D E
E string- E G A B

This is essentially the most useful fiddle grid in standard tuning. YMMV. Every note can be played with an adjacent open string. 

Play the G pentatonic scale until those tones start jumping out at you. I think this is the loudest scale on the violin and thus, the easiest to master. The open G and D strings will hum in harmony when you play the notes on the A and E strings. Use the open strings as drones for all these doublestops. Use the open strings to keep you in tune. The open A string and open D string will help you find your G note on the D string. Listen to the open strings. G is your home note but the open strings will help guide you there.

Play the modes to. From G to G, from A to A, B to B, etc. The fiddle really sings on this scale.

Make sure your fiddle is in tune with itself. TUNE IT EVERYDAY! Even if you think you're already "in tune", tune it anyway.

Can you sing "Do Mi So" starting on G? Use an electronic tuner that will make those tones. Check yourself everyday and learn to be able to hum "Do Mi So" in your head. Start with any random "Do" and see if you can hear the "Mi" and "So". You can do it if you work at it a little. We all know the pentatonic scale. We've heard it all our lives.

This G major Pentatonic scale is also an E minor Pentatonic scale. So you can target landing on the E note with a minor or bluesy feel.

Play nothing but those 5 notes for a while and really memorize the finger spacings on each string. If you've got decent left hand and bowing technique, that scale should start to build a foundation for your intonation. Remember: the open strings are RIGHT! Use them to be in tune in this G major pentatonic scale. A huge part of fiddling is playing chords and playing pentatonics gives you the chord tones.

There is a ton of fiddle music in this one scale and I think because of the low G and D string, the fiddle's key is G!  D and A and C are right there too with lots of good open strings. 


Oct 19, 2022 - 7:03:34 PM
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6013 posts since 9/26/2008
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I notice you mentioned holding your breath a couple of times. You forgot the last sentence of my advice: breathe and enjoy the journey.

Also, I am mostly self taught. The lessons I had were not technique lessons AT ALL. They were mostly tunes, most of which I play differently after finding the source recordings and learning that they were mildly watered down versions. I also played guitar and mando before the fiddle. Wish I had played fiddle the whole time.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 10/19/2022 19:03:57

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