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Dobro Lessons: Fiddle Tunes On The Dobro

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In this lesson, we're gonna focus on
playing fiddle tunes on the Dobro.
One thing that I noticed when I was coming
up and learning to play and
going to jam sessions a lot of jam session
tunes end up being fiddle type tunes.
And the melodies are a little bit more
involved than your standard
bluegrass singing tune.
So I, I figured you know, I really wanna
learn how to play these melodies and
how to be able to participate in the jams
that are doing a lot of fiddle tunes and
what not.
So I really spent some time trying to hone
in this style of fiddle tunes
on the Dobro.
A lot of times, fiddle tunes will be in
the key of D.
That, it just seems to be a common key,
it's a great key for the fiddle.
D, sometimes A but really you wanna get
your D,
open D playing really dialed in for this.
So, you know, you may wanna review a
little bit of your D major scale and
your D pentatonic scales and this pattern
right here.
I've got some pretty
good lessons already
on that key of D pattern.
So, when you're figuring out a fiddle tune
obviously the first thing you wanna
figure out is the key, but
then you wanna figure out where the melody
is focused and what your range is.
So before you go diving in note by note
trying to figure out a fiddle tune,
start with a sort of a broader view.
First, get the key.
And get,
basically you wanna find out what the
highest note you're gonna be playing is.
And probably what the lowest note you're
gonna be playing is.
So a lot of times what I'll do is if I
have a recording of a fiddle tune I'll let
it play, and I'm not just gonna dive in
trying to learn note for
note what's going on.
I'm gonna just get a sense of it, listen
to it a little bit, and
then what I'll do is I'll have my Dobro
and I'll listen for
the highest note in that melody, and so
maybe it's up here.
If we're in the key of D, maybe the
highest note is up here, this A note.
And maybe the lowest note is this low D
[SOUND] So, if I know where the highest
and the lowest note is,
I've got a framework for where I'm gonna
be playing, and I can sort of look and
see what scale, or pattern I might wanna
use for this.
So if, if that's my range between this A
this low D,
I know that's my little i, that's my zone.
So that's the first thing I'll figure out,
is the key and the sort of range.
And the next thing you want to check out
where does the melody sort of focus on?
Does it focus on the root, does the melody
start on the root note and
that's sorta the focus?
Or does it start on the third which in the
key of D
would be the F-sharp, so you get the,
maybe it's on the root, maybe it's a
And maybe it's on the third.
Or maybe it's the fifth.
So after I get the range and
the key I wanna figure out one more sort
of piece of
information before I just start digging in
note for
note is where is the mel, melody sort of
So, once you have those three main
parameters of the key you're range and
where the melody note is sort of focused,
you're ready to start digging in and
trying to learn the melody note for note.
Now, you can do this by either, by ear,
getting these parameters together is gonna
help you with that,
or you can do it by looking at some music
maybe some music I provide.
I've provided quite a bit in these
So that's one of two ways.
I recommend both, really.
You can learn a lot of music really fast
by reading the music or tablature.
But you can also really develop your ear
by trying to learn fiddle tunes by ear, so
I recommend practicing both.
And the more you build your repertoire of,
of tunes, and
fiddle tunes in general, the easier it's
gonna be to learn new ones,
because you start seeing repetitive type
of patterns.
So the more you have in your repertoire,
the easier it's gonna be to learn, so
I encourage you to check out some fiddle