Starting to Improvise on the Fiddle

Online Fiddle Lessons Forums General Help Forum Starting to Improvise on the Fiddle

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #86760

    Hi all,

    I have seen a number of forum entries discussing how to start to improvise on the fiddle.  I am coming from a guitar based jazz/blues background.  The focus of my study has been on building improvisation skills.  When I began to work with fiddle, my first concern was to try to transfer the work I had already done on guitar across to the fiddle.  To that end, I have begun to develop a set of exercises for the fiddle.

    I thought that others here might find the work that I am doing helpful in expanding their own improvisational skills.

    Here is the first set of exercises that I have written out.  I have written them in the key of ‘C’.  However, I practice them in the primary ‘fiddle’ keys (G, D, A as well as E and C).

    Hope this is of some help,



    Mix that with a few enclosure patterns, linear arpeggios, double stops, etc., and you’ve got my morning warm-up pretty much covered.

    I use this stuff more for building dexterity & muscle memory. I’ve found a more lick/position/pattern-based approach works better for me for on-the-spot improvisation.

    • This reply was modified 1 day, 2 hours ago by fiddlewoodfiddlewood.

    Hi Fiddlewood,

    I agree that there is a universe of variations and alternatives to this simple set of arpeggios, but I think if an individual is trying to find a starting point to learn to improvise, understanding the harmonized scale and developing an ability to find a major (minor) arpeggio on any of the diatonic scale chords will give him/her a strong starting point.

    If you take a simple ii V I jazz cadence (Dm, G7, Cmaj7) or a basic jazz standard like ‘Autumn Leaves’ and play the diatonic 7th arpeggios against the chord changes, you will find that you have a functional, simple basis for building a convincing improvisation for the tune.  In fact, just playing the arpeggios will work.

    Learning to improvise is a complex, lifelong undertaking, but if we keep our expectations in check and start simple, every step of the process can be enjoyable and rewarding.




    As I wrote, I go through these things pretty much daily (and I do use them over chords fairly often).

    Different approaches work best for different people was all I meant to share.

    As a side note: Lately I’ve been enjoying running scales, etc. between 3rds, 5ths, & 7ths (modes?)…it really woke up my ears.

    • This reply was modified 13 hours, 37 minutes ago by fiddlewoodfiddlewood.
    • This reply was modified 13 hours, 35 minutes ago by fiddlewoodfiddlewood.
    • This reply was modified 13 hours, 34 minutes ago by fiddlewoodfiddlewood.
Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.