Jim Van Cleve fiddle DVD

Everyone seemed to get a kick out of the fake trailer for Jim Van Cleve’s AcuTab fiddle DVD which we ran last week. Jim said that he heard from people all over the country who had gotten a chuckle from watching it.

But lest you think the DVD itself is a joke, here is the real trailer, which offers a glimpse of what is actually covered in this 4 hour presentation, titled Become A More Complete Fiddler.

Van Cleve has long been regarded as one of bluegrass and progressive acoustic music’s most technically versatile fiddlers, and in this new 2-DVD package, Jim shares a great deal of the insight and experience he has gained over the past ten years of performing and touring professionally. He teaches four songs that he has recorded (Nature Of The Beast, Devil’s Courthouse, Wheel Hoss and #6 Barn Dance) but the largest part of the presentation is dedicated to finding melody-based breaks and improvising on familiar bluegrass standards.

Jim Van Cleve fiddle DVD from AcuTabHe takes Banks Of The Ohio and Pretty Polly and demonstrates them down in 3 different keys. Before going over them, Jim breaks down the scale and common positions for each key in turn. He shows where to find the melody, and where adjacent double stops are located, as well as licks and phrases that suit each song. He also goes over the different scales that inform these two songs, one in a diatonic major key, and the other based on a Dorian, “mountain modal” scale.

Attention throughout is given to both playing a melody-based solo and what a fiddle can do to assist the band sound in accompaniment. A booklet with transcriptions is also included.

The DVD will begin shipping next week (9/22) and AcuTab is accepting orders now. More details can be found on the AcuTab site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.