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Helpful Tips - Start Learning to Play Backup For Fiddle Tunes
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Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 

September 11, 2021 - 3:35 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2593
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It's taken me a little bit to get this understood, because I'm more a 'melody' person - even though I love harmonized music. 

So, gathered these videos together - I hope will help other new Fiddlers, too.

If you want to accompany or backup a singer or another Fiddler, you don't want to be playing the same thing they are! 

You do need to figure out what key to play in, so you can at least come up with a few quick chords and chord progressions. 

♥ This is where the CIRCLE OF FIFTHS can help!

Here's a GREAT video - simple & straight forward - important to memorize some of this. 

"How To" The Circle Of Fifths Explained - Creative Violin

For more advanced. 

Circle of Fifths Progression - in all 7 modes! - Andrey Stolyarov

Circle of Fifths Exercise - FiddleJaminstitute

♥ Chord Basics. 

Fiddle Chord Basics - FiddleJaminstitute

♥ Now, find simple chords to play on the Fiddle (short videos). 

Beginning Fiddle Backup, 1, 4, 5 chords - Bluegrass with Friends

Find the 1, 4, 5 chords QUICKLY on the fiddle - WireWood Station/Michelle Edwards

2 note chord shapes for the fiddle - Chris Haigh/The Fiddle Channel

♥ By EAR! 

Ear Trick: Find chord types in 2 steps - FiddleJaminstitute

♥ Want to do more? 

Fiddle Tips from Darol Anger: Playing Backup - ArtistWorks

Fiddle Backup Tips - Dave Hunt

FiddleHed Backup Lessons

♥ The Nashville Number System! 

The Nashville Number System For Fiddle - Megan Lynch Chowning

♥ Now, get specific! 

Key of A - Bluegrass Fiddle Theory Chords & Licks - Charlie Walden

All Kinds of Licks with Chris Haigh - The Fiddle Channel

These are all helpful in general, but there are backup tutorials for specific tunes on YouTube that you can search. 😊 

Pretty soon we'll ALL be Jammin'! 


Love to know if others have tips not mentioned in the above videos! 

...I better git to memorizing.

- Emily


September 13, 2021 - 11:43 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2593
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For members, like me, new to playing the violin, with little other musical instrument background, I think I should've mentioned more about chords, first. (lol)

Up until recently, I have only thought of 'intervals' as a 'half or whole step', between notes on the violin. 

When it comes to chords, larger intervals are very important and have important features that can effect your choices for playing backup or improv. 

These intervals have names, e.g., "Dominant 7th", "Major 3rd", "Perfect 5th", etc... 

If you need help understanding the relationship of intervals and chords, there's a few short lessons at popgrammar.com, that I found can really help!  Maybe start with this one: 

Intervals Pertaining to Chords


I have no guitar background and started violin with very little understanding of why and how chords can be so effective - other than I was told to just "play these chords" in my limited piano lessons. 

...still working on knowing all this better. 😊

- Emily


September 13, 2021 - 2:00 pm
Member Since: July 13, 2017
Forum Posts: 322
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I used to think I was a Google wiz kid, until I see the variety of very informative links you've been passing along. 

Keep it up, these links/hints are very helpful.

Thank you

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas


September 13, 2021 - 2:25 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2593
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@Bob -

Okay, but I can only take things seriously for so long, or I'll get lost down another rabbit hole. (lol) 

Thanks, I really do appreciate someone else is reading this stuff.


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