Blues Fiddle. Guided Practice Session.
The play-along style blues fiddle lesson below includes clear steps for how to play blues on the violin, viola, cello, or string bass.
Grab your instrument and play along. In the middle of the video, you can use the chord chart written below as a reference.
Here are the Chords for easy reference:
B7/ E7/ B7/ / E7/ /B7/ / F#7/ E7/ B7 E7/ B7 F#7
Blues fiddle masterclass. What’s covered:
Using a slow 12-bar blues form reminiscent of Red House by Jimi Hendrix.
00:00 -3:00 Play blues licks on fiddle after me.
Here are some of the ways I’m structuring my phrases during the opening play-along section:
A) I play short phrases to leave room for your response. Phrases are chosen to fit harmonically into the spaces after my line ends, even when the chords in the 12-bar blues progression change.
B) I use various rhythmic and harmonic strategies, including:
- A mix of simple/clear and laid back/loose melodic rhythms
- A mix of swung and double-time rhythms
- Minor blues scale, major blues scale, bebop scales applied to a blues progression, voice-led chord tones, and chromatic approach-based lines
From 3:37-13:00, we mark the form of the blues progression on the fiddle in various ways
- Play roots and fifths
- Use a familiar guitar-based blues riff on fiddle
- Play a blues bass line on fiddle
- Outline 3rds and 7ths over the chords
- Play the arpeggios to the blues progression
- Express voice-led arpeggios
13:00- An often overlooked aspect of learning blues fiddle is the importance of clear phrasing. I demonstrate and give you a chance to work on it.
Instead of focusing on Blues inflections on the violin, focus on playing clear phrases and rhythms. If you focus on clear melodic rhythms and phrases separated by spaces, you can add inflections and feel later.
I model ways to accompany on fiddle in this slow blues progression.
Rather than just focusing on the improvised solo melody, this blues fiddle tutorial shows how to play the bass line, chords, melodic rhythms, comping, and more.
Finally, this blues violin masterclass combines learning by ear with analysis.
Aside from this lesson, consider the cultural context of blues violin improvisation. You can also find many historical blues fiddle players referenced in Wikipedia.
This lesson was excerpted from a live Creative Strings guided practice session.
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