Here is a lesson on the old-time tune “Ida Red” in the Round Peak style of Tommy Jarrell. 

I’ll show you had to add variation to the basic version. Some things you fiddle with: 

  • Double stops
  • Melodic variation
  • Slides and blue notes
  • Syncopation/ anticipation

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I recommend taking this lesson first: Ida Red – Basic. If you are a more advanced player, this might not be necessary, though you might want to look at the basic version anyway because it will help you to hear the essential melody.


Warm-up with an A major scale.

Practice the scale and phrases from the tune (once you’ve learned it) with A drone. I also recommend warming up with the basic version.

Learning chunks

I’ve made some “Learning Chunks” to help you learn more easily. These focused exercises contain sheet music, tabs and mp3 loops to guide you on your fiddle journey.

A part, first quarter


Simply playing this is a good ‘small win’. Make sure you can loop it continuously before moving on to the next quarter. Take this approach with everything you learn. 

A part, second quarter

A0-2-1-0-D2-D1A0– {tied to next quarter}


A part, third quarter


A part, fourth quarter


A part, second half

If you’re not used to syncopation, then this might be pretty tricky. Just listen to the groove at first, then try to join in.




If you’ve made it this far, then hats off to you. 

Practice concept: Looping

If you learn nothing else from these lessons, learn to loop on small parts of tunes. Change the loop length so you can practice exactly what you need. Most of the time I break tunes into two-bar quarters. But you can break them down further on your own and practice with drones. Keep playing the loop until it flows, feeling like music. If you loop on small parts, then the whole tune will naturally start to flow and sound more musical. ∞

Find your sound

Before moving, just find your sound. Start by play open A string with an A drone. Then slowly play a major with two bows, focusing on a nice sound. Do this until you feel ready to learn the rest of the tune.

B part, first quarter


B part, second quarter

E0-1-0-A0-2-D1A0– {tied to next quarter}

B part, third quarter

Same as the third quarter of the A part.


B part, fourth quarter

Same as the fourth quarter of the A part.


B part, second half

Same as the second half of the A part.


Full Content 

Full play-along track

“Low fiddle mix” Play-along track

The fiddle is quiet in the mix. If you get lost, stop and listen. Otherwise, when you play it will feel like you are playing solo with the guitar, organ and beat.

Full tabs

A part 

First quarter: (A0-1)-L2-2-E0-A2-1-0-2-1

Second quarter: A0-2-1-0-D2-D1A0– {tied to next quarter}

Third quarter: D1A0-A0-2-1-0-2-D0

Fourth quarter: D1-2-A0-1-0

B part 

First quarter: (E0-1-)-3-0-3-4-1-0-L2-1

Second quarter: E0-1-0-A0-2-D1A0– {tied to next quarter}

Third quarter: D1A0-A0-2-1-0-2-D0

Fourth quarter: D1-2-A0-1-0

Alternate variations

A part, bar 1


A part, bar 3&4



B part bar 1


Sheet music

Connections / Further Practice

Related Lessons 

Ida Red – Basic

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