Ron Stewart – The Fiddlers of Flatt & Scruggs

AcuTab has released a new fiddle DVD from Ron Stewart, in which Ron takes a careful look at seven of the influential bowmen who helped shaped what we know today as bluegrass fiddle.

The Fiddlers of Flatt & Scruggs runs just over an hour, during which time Stewart breaks down classic solos from Jim Shumate, Benny Simms, Howdy Forrester, Chubby Wise, Benny Martin and Paul Warren. There is also a section on the huge impact Arthur Smith had on all six of them, just as he had on most anyone playing fiddle in the first half of the 20th century.

Ron had the good fortune to grow up in a musical household, and said that he recalls hearing the music of Flatt & Scruggs from a very early age. He was drawn as a child to learn both the banjo and the fiddle, and has carefully studied the entirely of Lester and Earl’s oeuvre from both of those perspectives. This has been a continual study, even now as he finds himself one of bluegrass music’s most respected instrumentalists.

Stewart says that mastering this material on fiddle is just as crucial as it is for a banjo player to learn the material Earl Scruggs recorded. Solos taught include The Girl I Love Don’t Pay Me No Mind, We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart, My Cabin In Caroline, No Mother Or Dad, Why Don’t You Tell Me So, Earl’s Breakdown, Thinking About You, Honey You Don’t Know My Mind, Foggy Mountain Special, Let Those Brown Eyes Smile At Me, and Shuckin’ The Corn – classics every one.

Of course, Honey You Don’t Know My Mind wasn’t a Flatt & Scruggs cut, but Ron wanted to include it in his chapter on Benny Martin, finding it particularly emblematic of Benny’s style.

Like all the AcuTab DVDs, the solos are played with a small band, demonstrated section-by-section, and then shown again in a split screen setting at two slower speeds. A transcription booklet is included as well.

Here’s a brief trailer that captures the flavor of the DVD.

The Fiddlers of Flatt & Scruggs can be ordered from either the AcuTab or Ron Stewart sites, and will be available soon through all popular resellers of bluegrass instructional materials.

It is also available through AcuTab’s digital download service, Instant Bluegrass, where you can purchase the video for immediate download and viewing on your computer, along with the printed booklet.

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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.