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Jim Van Cleve - Become a More Complete Fiddler

By Jim Van Cleve

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Fiddle - Beginning
Composed by Jim Van Cleve. Boxed, Methods. Acutab. Bluegrass. 2-DVD Set. Duration 240 minutes. Published by Acutab Publications (MB.DJVC1).

Item Number: MB.DJVC1

Unlock the secrets of improvising in traditional American fiddle styles with this Grammy-nominated stage and studio master.

In only ten years as a professional musician, Jim Van Cleve has made quite a name for himself in bluegrass and acoustic music. He's spent time with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, saw his debut solo CD nominated for a Grammy and toured all over the world with Mountain Heart. He's become a sought-after Nashville session player and one of the most admired fiddlers in bluegrass.

Jim covers many things on these 2 DVDs, but they really break into three sections. After some discussion about early learning experiences, AcuTab's John Lawless leads Jim through a discussion on improvising and building solos on a number of popular bluegrass standards. Two songs, Banks of The Ohio and Pretty Polly, are each played and demonstrated in 3 different keys.

Before demonstrating the tunes, 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. Attention is given to both playing a melody-based solo and what a fiddle can do to assist the band sound in accompaniment.

He also carefully teaches four songs he has recorded - three of his own (Nature of the Beast, Devil's Courthouse and #6 Barn Dance) plus Bill Monroe's classic Wheel Hoss. After being slowly demonstrated lick-by-lick, they are each shown (fast and slow) in a split screen orientation. A printed booklet with standard notation for each of these songs is included.

Two screen orientations are available for the split screen sections, based on whether the left or right hand is of greater interest. Simply switch between them using the Angle key. Over 4 hours of instruction on 2 DVDs.