Quick tip

In this lesson I’ll show how you can get a better sound on tunes using throw-away bow, saw bow and tremolo.


How can you make a tune sound better? It’s a simple answer. Work to make each note sound good using tone-building. Slowly build larger pieces using the same tone-building strategy.

Tone building tools:

  • Throw away bow
  • Saw bow
  • Tremolo bow

Review these tools in this lesson: Getting A Good Sound

The tone-building on tunes process

  • Play the first note with throwaway bow. Do it it a few times until it sounds solid.
  • Repeat the process for the second note.
  • Play the first two notes, ending with throwaway bow on the second.
  • Continue to build in this way until you play an entire bar or quarter (still ending on a throwaway bow).

Let’s practice

Let’s learn and practice this with Bile ’em Cabbage Down. (Click the link if you want to review the tune).

First quarter: D2-2-2-2 3 3

Second quarter: D2-2-2-2 1 1

Third quarter: D2-2-2-2 3 3

Fourth quarter: D2-2-1-1 0 0

  • Start with the first note, D2 (F#). Play it with throw-away bow for a bit, then saw bow and finally tremolo bow.
  • Repeat the process with D3 (G).
  • Once that sounds good, play the whole first quarter, and use throw-away bow on the last note (D3). Do this a few times.
  • Repeat the process for each quarter of the tune.

You can use this strategy to make anything sound better: scales, exercises, tunes, and songs. If you do this on a daily basis, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your sound. Plus, you’ll more deeply learn this melody.

You may find that certain tunes become traveling partners as you continue on your fiddle journey. It’s like an old friend that helps you understand where you’ve been and where you are going…

Continue on to Mary Had A Little Lamb >>

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Return to Fiddle Questions >>

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