Check out these songs featured in the Western Swing Fiddle course.
These lessons introduce you to some of the most important aspects of playing western swing on the fiddle—swing rhythms, essential arpeggios, phrasing, and more. You can begin your western swing fiddle journey by going through all of these lessons before you dive into the individual song lessons, or start with a few of these technical lessons and then return for more after you’ve got some songs under your belt.
Chad gives you a quick lesson in swing rhythms with a call-and-response exercise on a 12-bar blues progression. He starts with just one note (G) and then adds one other note (E) so you can concentrate on the rhythms he’s playing with one- and two-note phrases. He also talks about the kind of phrasing that makes a melody swing.
Chad shows you two essential arpeggios (dominant ninth and major sixth) that are frequently used in western swing fiddling.
Chad shows you some phrases using neighbor tunes, a half step below each chord tone. He shows you how to do this on a G chord: G, B, D. Adding neighbor tones to those notes you get F#–G, Bb–B, and C#–D. He also shows you a cool Johnny Gimble lick that uses the neighbor tone below the chord tone along with the note in the scale above the chord tone.
Chad shows you some stylistic techniques that are essential for Western swing fiddle players: tails, slides, and what he calls “blops” or “blaps.”
Chad talks about the percussive bow attack used in western swing fiddling.
Chad shows you some basic scale patterns to help you get more comfortable improvising with a scale.
In these lessons, you’ll learn the melody, chords, and a classic solo to some of the most well-known western swing songs.
“Sugar Moon” was written by Bob Wills and Cindy Walker, and was recorded by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1947. It reached Number 1 on the Billboard Country charts and stayed there for six weeks. Chad shows you the melody and chords to “Sugar Moon” and points out how they relate to each other, which will help you learn to improvise over the chords when it’s time to take a solo. He also shows you some double stops you can add to the melody.
In this lesson, you’ll learn a “Sugar Moon” solo that combines an A part played by Johnny Gimble on an Austin City Limits show with Asleep at the Wheel and the Texas Playboys and an A part from Joe Holley’s solo on the original Bob Wills recording.
“Right or Wrong” is a 1920’s jazz ballad that was recorded by a lot of early jazz bands and was later picked up by Bob Wills, who made it a western swing classic. There are many great versions, including versions by Bob Wills and Milton Brown. Country star George Strait’s recording of “Right or Wrong” includes a solo by Johnny Gimble, which you’ll learn in this lesson.
The instrumental tune “Panhandle Shuffle” comes from the Sons of the West, a Western swing group who played around the Amarillo, Texas, area during the late 1930s and early ’40s. They were founded in 1936 by fiddler Son Lansford, a cousin of Bob Wills.