Ideally, to learn how to play the fiddle, it’s best to practice scales with fiddling pattern and rhythm variations, however, they are very hard to find.
What I have listed first are what I would call classic major violin scales. After this, I have scales that are most commonly used in fiddling. These scales have different fiddling variations. These are good teaching videos, but they can’t compare to the fiddle scales with rhythm and pattern variations that Fiddlehed has on his membership website for play-along practice.
For more play-along scales, go to For Students > Audio Files > Scales at
Longmont Violin and Viola Studio for one, two and three octave scales and arpeggios.
Fiddling Scales with Variations
What Are The Best Scales To Learn On The Fiddle?
This lesson is part one of a mini-course called “How To Pick Up Tunes More Easily”. The better you know your scales, the more quickly you can pick up tunes.
D Major Scale Using Rhythmic Variations
Some variations that will making practicing scales more fun! Plus, these will help you develop a feel for fiddle music. We’ll be doing this on the D major scale, but you can do this with any major scale.
D scale – Doublets – Tucka (short short short short long long) – Hoedown
(long short short) – Triplets – Swing Bow Double – Swing Bow Single
G Major Scale with Variations
More variations on the G Major Scale: Doublets – Triplets – Tucka – Hoedown – Slur 2 – Slur 4 – Swing Doublets – Swing Singles
Here’s a good warm-up scale for beginners (even the ones who have been playing for forty years).
Pentatonic Scales (Part 1)
Pentatonic Scales (Part 2)
Dorian scales have a darker, haunting feel. These are made by starting on the second degree of a major scale. So if you take D major and start on the second degree (D1 which is E) you get an E Dorian scale. It’s magic! You can create this whole other sound with the same 7 notes by starting and ending on a different note. It’s like you center the scale differently.
Here is a video lesson on triads, which are the first, third and fifth degree of a scale. They are useful for
- 1. improving technique and coordination
- 2. learning tunes more quickly
- 3. improvising
Added: September 29, 2019
See Blog Post First Position Scales to download a pdf of the Seven Major First Position Scales in Tablature.