DAY 3 – Swannanoa Fiddle Gathering

Happy “hump day” everyone. Mental and physical fatigue is creeping in…but by the time today is done, we’ll be over half way there.


I think The Blues is an essential part of a musical upbringing. Using the major scale as our foundation, we created or “spelled” the blues scale in numbered scale degrees (see picture above).  Once we had the key of A nailed, we took it’s open string fingering and moved it one string down for the key of D. Then we took the key of A low octave closed fingering one string up for the key of E.  We learned how where the chords fall in a standard 12bar blues and played our three scales in the appropriate places.  You can’t teach the blues without a blues bass line, so we did that too.  Next up, call & response. The class rounded out with Maiden’s Prayer – a slower number that used all the chords found in the A Blues.


The focus of today’s lesson was double-stops.  I talked about the hours and hours I spent as a youth drilling the double-stop section of Stacy Phillips’ Hot Licks for Bluegrass Fiddle.  I would take one of the licks and move it through all 12 keys, trying to keep the fingerings as consistent as possible.  We took one I remember from Bobby Hicks’ break on Toy Heart and transposed it all over the fiddle.  One of his intervals (b7 & 9) reminded me of the B part for Kenny Baker’s Grassy Fiddle Blues.  The only logical course of action was to learn it.


Forked Deer (D) Forked
Roxanna’s Waltz (C) Roxanna
Leather Britches (G) Leather
Back Up and Push (C) Back
Fire on the Mountain (A) Fire
E.M.D. (Em) E.M.D.
Temperance Reel (G) Temperance
Liberty (D) Liberty
Mississippi Sawyer (D) Mississippi

Posted in Uncategorized

Upcoming Gigs