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Fiddle Lessons: Tags

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always a big question about how to end
that fiddle tune or maybe how to end
some other kind of song, and if you're
responsible for that, you might want to
play something we call a tag which is a
little lick in which you've heard.
You've heard these licks.
It's a lick that sort of ends, ends a
If we're talking about the key of A,
you'll recognize this right away.
And then finally, we put the shave and the
haircut on there.
Usually, we wait for
the banjo to do that, but our big job is
to go.
And we can do that in any key.
You can do it in G.
Right, or we can do it in E.
Right, or
we can do it in any of the other popular
blue grass keys.
I'm gonna give you about 12 of
nice little tags, which you can play.
We're gonna have a PDF of these up that
you can download, and
look at them if you wanna just look over
them at you know, on the music.
And I just encourage you to learn one at a
time, and
then once you get the ones you like pretty
much memorized.
Then try mixing and matching you know,
because these tags are all about just two
bars long.
And you can put the second bar with the
first bar of just about any of the tags.
So you get this very large selection of,
of things that you can play at the end so
its not the exact same thing over and over
again on every tine.
So I'm gonna run you through this nice
little list of tags,
I'm gonna play them all in A for you.
And it will be up to you to go ahead and
transpose them into G.
Or C, or B, or whatever other key you like
to do it in.
Now, the, and so here we go,
I'm gonna play this slowly.
And again, I'll have a little pickup, so,
And it goes, I'll just count it here, one-
2,1, 2, 3.
So, obviously,
that's very slow if you play it with at a
sort of Bluegrass tempo with feeling.
It sounds like.
1, 2, 3.
Right and then.
Sometimes, you'll just want to leave off
the shave and a haircut.
But that's it, we'll just run through
these, and
you can just sort of look at them at your
leisure and kind of hack through them and,
and see what ones that appeal to you and
your personality.
And then pick up at least five or six that
you like, and start mixing around and
matching, transposing, and everything, so
here we go, with our tags.
I'll just play them slowly, one after the
Here is number one.
Number two.
Here's number three.
you'll notice that all these tags, they
kinda sound the same.
If you were, if you weren't listening very
hard, they would just sound like the same
tag, but they're just micro-variations and
choice of notes that are gonna make
this more interesting for you, the
musician, for you, the player.
And by consequence then more interesting
the rest of the band and for the listener.
So we were on number there, we're gonna go
to number four, here we go.
we're kinda opening out that last phrase.
One, two, here's number five.
One, two, go.
Here's number six.
That's kind of a nice one.
It's a little what we
call disjunct because we're crossing
You notice I'm using my fourth
finger there for the G sharp.
So that I don't have to work to hard with
my left hand since I'm already working
with my right hand crossing strings.
Play that one more time.
All right?
And the next one.
One, two, go.
Next one.
Those of you who are looking on,
you'll notice that I am playing, on what
would be the bottom string,
of a four string violin, but I have five
strings on here.
So don't get confused, this is a five
string fiddle.
It's got a low Cee, I'm not gonna be using
that string for this.
All right, so here's, here's a tag that
starts way up in third position.
One, two, three.
All right.
One more time on that.
All right, so I've,
switch, I have this note
That's where I,
where I switch on the long note
All right, and then, a couple more,
starting in third position, here's the
next to last tag.
One, two, three
This is one of my favorite tags.
This was played by Richard Greene on the
arrangement of Dusty Miller's, bluegrass
version of Dusty Miller on Bill Monroe's
famous album "Bluegrass Time," and
that was Richard's tag, there, so it was a
beautiful tag.
And the last one, this is something that
you probably have heard
many of the Texas fiddle players, people
like Byron Berline play.
And this involves a little bit of a
stretch up to the high.
Harmonic on the E string.
So, here it goes.
One, two, three.
All right.
So again, we're kind of staying in third
Now if we just and then we just.
Stretch it a slight bit.
We could actually instead of just going.
We could go.
like that to give us a little triplet at
the top.
That's a very nice one.
It's kind of what you call fancy fiddling.
So, there's a whole list of tags, ways
that you could end
your fiddle tune that are a little bit
different from each other,
and might send you off in some other
I encourage you, again, to transpose all
of those and
combine the last halves of some with the
first halves of others.
And get your own, favorite little zoo,
your menagerie of tags.