String Crossing and Clean Sound

Bowing the correct string(s) and cleanly transitioning between notes are essential skills to learning how to play the fiddle and sounding good.

I am currently learning a few simple beginner fiddle tunes.

  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb
  • Freres Jacques
  • When the Saints Go Marching In
  • Ode to Joy

I tend to switch between these tunes during my practice sessions, so I don’t get bored and especially when I get frustrated with one tune. I have noticed on the tunes I don’t yet know by heart, I can play them while reading the Tabs. That’s progress! The tempo may be a little off, but right now I am more concerned with bowing and fingering.

However, I can’t seem to get through an entire tune without occasionally crossing strings or messing up transitioning between notes. Some run-throughs sound better than others. Yesterday, I found myself playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Start over and over again, determined to power through it and play it all the way through without a mistake. I couldn’t do it!

Then it dawned on me that I need to back up a bit and do some isolated exercises practicing string crossing and clean sound. So, I turned to Fiddlehed. Jason has a few basic videos (and a bunch of exercises on his subscription site) to help practice string crossing and clean sound. I need to go back, practice these again, and then come back to the tunes. I’m sure I will be watching and practicing along with these videos for some time. Here are two of them.

How To Clean Up String Crossing – Stop and Rock
Fingering And String Crossing

Training my bowing arm where to go and cleanly moving from one note to another with my fingering can’t be learned in a day or a couple of weeks. I will need to be mindful of this when I get frustrated, and practice these techniques again and again.

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