#208 ~ Lonesome Fiddle Blues

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner by a long shot, it Lonesome Fiddle Blues.

    I'm not familiar with the tune, if anyone has any more info, that would be great.

    I found this in D minor on Traditional Bluegrass songs

    Here's a discussion of this tune on Mandolin Cafe.

    Here's a You Tube video:



    Voting has been sparse this week; it's been a week of world-wide sorrow. On Monday, April 15, there was a terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. We went to bed last night, with fuzzy images of 'suspect #1' and 'suspect #2'; and awoke this morning to the live coverage of the lock-down of Boston and surrounding area; suspects have been identified, there was a shoot-out during the night, one suspect dead, the other has escaped. It's been hard to tear myself away from the TV today. My heart is heavy.
  2. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Here's the late great Vassar Clements showing how to play his tune, Lonesome Fiddle Blues. He plays it up to speed towards the end of the video. It's always fun and a challenge to try to adapt fiddle tunes to the mandolin.

  3. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Here's some ideas for a couple of mandolin breaks to this fun fiddle tune. Learned it this morning and have been working on it all day. Played on my old Kentucky KM600 mandolin and backed up with a Simon & Patrick guitar.

  4. luurtie
    luurtie
    Very Nice and very Helpfull, I'm very happy to see you back in SAW Michael! I also very busy practising this tune and hope to post something this weekend....
  5. jonny250
    jonny250
    Very Nice Michael! and thankyou
    I cannot figure out the B part at all! i have some tab, the chords [Dm,C, G,D,A] and a band in a box file, but i'm trying to understand what notes 'theoretically' work in the B part... I know this isnt a teaching forum, but i would certainly appreciate any pointers, pretty please
  6. luurtie
    luurtie
    The chords on the second part are G,D,E,A Jonny. And I think any pentatonic scale from those four 4 chords fit in easily. Try to focus on the chord your playing at a time and throw in pentatonic arpeggio's from that specific scale and make variations. That's the way I try to do it...

    I found a nice example from someone who does this
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYVQWnMxkpI
  7. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Maybe, too much information, but I liked Hendrik's suggestion, and I never understood pentatonic scales before doing a little research for this article I wrote a while back. Hope it helps...

    This article clarifies musical theory behind jargon like octaves, scales, and modes.

    The Octave, a Musical Staircase

    You can think of an octave as twelve musical steps on a spiral staircase. When you climb to the thirteenth step, you've reached the stair directly above where you started on step number 1. The note of the 13th stair would be the same note as the first step, but higher in pitch. The distance between that first step and the 13th step directly overhead is one octave. (the numbers of the stairs start over after 12. That’s to say, the step starting the next octave will also be called one, no matter if it’s the 13th, or 25th step on the staircase).

    Pentatonic Scales

    A pentatonic scale has five notes. That means a song in a pentatonic scale will only use five of those musical stairs. You can hop from the bottom of the staircase to the top, skip around, and even slide down the banister, but your foot can only touch five of those steps.

    Of course, musicians break the rules all the time and hop on a few extra stairs calling those notes grace notes. But as with everything in life, to look good breaking the rules, you have to know what you're doing in the first place. Understanding which stairs to step on, and why to step on those and skip over others is a little like solving a musical riddle.

    Wise, musical people of long ago determined a scale of five notes sounds best if those notes are distributed in a pattern. Here are the rules they set down for a pentatonic scale in terms of the spiral staircase.

    If you start off with step 1, you'll, of course, need to step on four others to make it to the top of the octave. The first step, plus the other four steps make up five notes and a pentatonic scale. From step 1, you must climb the staircase evenly in intervals of either 2 or 3 steps together. SO, to find the next step, you can jump either two stairs to the third step, or leap three stairs to end up on the fourth. To make it to the thirteenth stair, you’ll need to take that three step leap twice. The only catch is, you can’t do it twice in a row. Why? That’s the rules.

    Basically, a pentatonic scale is five notes separated by intervals of either two or three and the three step intervals can’t be touching. Mathematically inclined musicians can work on this riddle to determine ways of climbing the spiral staircase without breaking those rules. Here’s a hint, there are five, and only five correct ways to do it. These patterns of stepped on stairs and skipped over stairs are called modes, another word for pentatonic scales.

    Five Pentatonic Modes

    For those tired of number crunching, here are the five pentatonic modes and the stairs you step on to hear them.

    Mode 1: (Minor Mode (
    1, 4, 6, 8, 11
    The intervals of skipped steps for mode 1 are 3, 2, 2, 3, 2.

    Mode 2: (Major Mode)
    1, 3, 5, 8, 10
    The intervals of skipped steps for mode 2 are 2, 2, 3, 2, 3.

    Mode 3:
    1, 3, 6, 8, 11
    The intervals of skipped steps for mode 3 are 2, 3, 2, 3, 2.

    Mode 4:
    1, 4, 6, 9, 11
    The intervals of skipped steps for mode 4 are 3, 2, 3, 2, 2.

    Mode 5:
    1, 3, 6, 8, 10
    The intervals of skipped steps for mode 5 are 2, 3, 2, 2, 3.

    With a piano handy you can hear each pentatonic mode easily. If you study the five black notes on the piano, you'll notice they’re grouped in patterns of twos and threes. There are five black notes in all, one for each mode of the pentatonic scale. If you start on one of these notes, and strike the other four in order until reaching the same black note, you'll hear one of the pentatonic modes. To hear another, you only have to start on the next of the five keys and go up to it’s higher counterpart. A fun exercise is counting the white notes in between each step from black note to black note. The number of white notes will show just how many steps, or intervals you are taking as you climb the musical staircase. By this method, you should be able to figure out the exact mode you're hearing.
  8. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Michael, thanks for posting the Vassar Clements (especially interesting to me, as I'm just now trying to learn to play the fiddle!)!
    Also, your version was absolutely fabulous!
  9. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Marcelyn, thanks for sharing that article!
  10. Topher Gayle
    Topher Gayle
    I think David and I did a version - not sure where it went. Would be nice to have it here with the others. Let me see if I can find it.
  11. jonny250
    jonny250
    Wow a huge thanks to you guys, and for the PM. Luurtie there's a whole load of useful info from that youtube player, cheers
    Marcelyn thats a really interesting article, i found the spiral steps idea helpful. i've been learning major scales, this week the Dm scale will be added to my list, and i'll try and wing the pentatonic part too Thanks again
  12. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Johnny250, the A part of this tune is basically in Dm with that cool drop down to the C chord. The scale that works well for this part is a D Aolian or the D natural minor which is the same thing really. (It's a mode of the F major scale. Basically, play the notes of the F major scale but start on the 6th one which is D. I knew the scale but had to look up it's name for this post). When you get to the C chord in the melody, one quick way to reflect this change is to use the same scale but start your playing around the C note. Since the tune is a blues, you can throw in bluesy licks that contain notes out of the scale if your ear tells you they fit. I also tried to play double stops that went along with the basic melody of the A part.

    The B part is very typical of many bluegrass breakdown types of songs. In this case: G - D - E - A leading back to Dm and the same scale as the A part. Each chord change needs to be reflected in your playing. I played a G arpeggio followed by some D licks from the G major scale, then went to some E blues licks followed either by an A7 arppeggio or a return to the Dm scale but starting from the A note to get back into the Dm section.

    Sounds very technical but the above explanation is not how I think when trying to come up with a solo. I do think back to other songs that are similar and I already know to try to use some of that information to assemble a solo that fits and contains the basic melody. Tab can be helpful, but on a song like this it can also get in the way of your understanding of the tune as you struggle to figure it out. Hope this helps.
  13. luurtie
    luurtie
    Thanks for that information Michael! It 's nice to now how other people figure out solo's! Your way works everytime I noticed.
  14. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Barbara, so cool! I knew you'd go get a fiddle one of these days. Congratulations! I love the video from Vassar Clements too, and what struck me most was how talented and yet how helpful and approachable he seemed. It's awesome we have similar talent and helpfulness in several musicians around here. Thanks for the great ideas and incredible video Michael. That's outstanding!
  15. jonny250
    jonny250
    Michael, thank you ever so much! you guys have been SO helpful! Just shows what a cool forum this is
  16. luurtie
    luurtie
    On the background my favorite place, the dutch Island "Vlieland", and on the foreground my version of "The Lonesome Fiddle Blues"....

  17. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Good solid breaks and nicely played too!
  18. Shanachie
    Shanachie
    Nice work Michael and Luurtie! I have been wanting to learn this one for a while. You have inspired me to do it.
  19. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Another smoking video! Hendrik, you play that tune as fast as you learned it.
    I think this lesson is really helpful. The tune is played through first at a moderate tempo and then slowly. It's the only one that claims to be "slow" and is actually slow enough for me to figure it out. It's on guitar, so it's fun to play along with.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loz__OYcEpk
  20. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Thanks for all the helpful ideas and examples this week. What a fun tune. It'll definitely stay among the top fiddle tunes I keep working on.
  21. luurtie
    luurtie
    Very well played Marcelyn. What a deep sounding mandolin you play there! I thought the same thing about this tune, it is such a nice tune. When I have improved myself I defenitely make a new recording..
  22. jonny250
    jonny250
    Well done Luurtie and Marcelyn - both so different and good too. Luurtie, i dont know how you get it so fast and Marcelyn i hadnt heard LFB with an OT style - cool
    I found a video exchange with MikeM for any AOB members: http://artistworks.com/masterclass/22062
  23. laura809
    laura809
    I really love this tune. What a great chord progression! Michael, you had lots of original sounding ideas and variation in there. Luurtie, I liked how you included both mandolin parts in your video. Marcelyn, you had a nice groove on that one.
  24. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    That's so smooth it's like butter!
  25. luurtie
    luurtie
    Very Nice Laura, especially the second part!
  26. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Cool, Laura. Your improv skills really came in handy this week, right?
  27. jonny250
    jonny250
    Well done Laura - that was very nice looks like you have it well 'in your fingers'.
    It's not Friday and i've managed to get my version together already! - it will defo be one to keep working on though...
  28. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    You never played it the same way twice and you were all over the fretboard. What a lot of fun variations!
  29. luurtie
    luurtie
    Pentatonic arpeggio's in the second part! This works nicely Jonny, your progression with mandolincafe is defenitely noticeable The recording quality is also very nice, that Gibson sounds so warm and woody..
  30. laura809
    laura809
    Jonny, your improvisational skills are rapidly improving. Great version.
  31. GKWilson
    GKWilson
    Really enjoyed everyones effort this week.
    Thought we could end with just a bunch of good old boys having fun.
    [Some mandolin content]

    That's Vassar hiding behind the beam.
  32. Frankdolin
    Frankdolin
    Great versions this week! So nice to hear everyones ideas on this tune...
  33. OldSausage
    OldSausage
    Great work everyone, very inspiring this week. Around these parts this tune's often known as "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" - I wonder if Vassar ever got any royalties for that?

  34. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Your mandolin has that great 'dark' tone that is just perfect for this tune (and anything else you choose to play.) Thanks
  35. luurtie
    luurtie
    Simply amazing David!
  36. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Awesome, David! You just might take the devil's golden mandolin for that one.
  37. jonny250
    jonny250
    Nice one david! Sounds great
  38. OldSausage
    OldSausage
    Thanks very much, guys!
  39. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Another excellent example of your (recently) Mike Marshall honed skills, David. Just great.

    I was about to post this tune, too. But now I have to go back to the woodshed for another year or so.
  40. Eddie Sheehy
    Great renditions guys. Did I detect a slight flub there David? Are you indeed a mere mortal?
  41. OldSausage
    OldSausage
    Oh, more than a few flubs in that Eddie, as in nearly all my videos. I am excessively mortal.
  42. Eddie Sheehy
    Thoroughly excellent all the same, David. My version is going to compete more with hiss of Hell...
  43. Eddie Sheehy
    Laura, where did you get the music for your version? It's a nice flowing version I might be able to do. The Fiddlers Fakebook has a slightly different version and the Link in the first post has strange notation - written in D but with one b on the Clef so the F# and C# are forced Natural and the B is forced b - very confusing to me.
  44. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Eddie, it may be simpler to think of the A part as a modal tune in D. It's a lot like this week's tune, Sally in the Garden, for those playing it in Dm.
  45. Eddie Sheehy
    I've got the A part - using 3 different notations and listening to Laura's playing. That B part throws me for a loop. There's interesting TAB in the Cafes's Tab section but it doesn't really fit either what I hear or see...
  46. Marcelyn
    Marcelyn
    Yeah, the B part is crazy. It definitely stretched my ability and I ended up with a pretty simple version of it too. I went by Michael's detailed tips above. Without a stash of licks to draw from, I just tried to make each chord run into the next. I tried to make sure I hit the G on the A7 because it sounded bluesy to me. To get back to the Dm, I just made sure to hit the F natural on the way back to the D. Maybe Laura's notation will be what you're looking for.
  47. Eddie Sheehy
    I found a Guitar tutorial online that plays it a slow speed so I was able to pick out the notes by ear, mostly. I'll get practicing on it.

  48. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Here is my version at a moderate tempo. No improvisation, everything read from little black dots.
    This arrangement and backup track by Rick Williams, who has this as a free lesson on his webpage www.bluegrassbooksonline.com
    His Jam Book, by the way, was one of my first sources when I started out with the mandolin 6 years ago.

  49. Eddie Sheehy
    Steady as a rock, Manfred.
  50. Sasquatch
    Sasquatch
    Here is my stab at this great Vassar Clements tune. I am trying to go back and learn some of the previous poll winners posted before I joined. I am working on recording some rhythm tracks to help me keep time.

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