How to Play the Fiddle for Beginners

Things You'll Need

  • Fiddle
  • Bow
  • Methylated spirits
  • Rosin

How to Play the Fiddle for Beginners. Few instruments are as recognizable as the fiddle playing the uplifting notes of folk and bluegrass songs that make people want to get up and stomp their feet. If playing the fiddle has always been a dream of yours, here's how to get started with the beginning fiddle.

Keep your fiddle in tune. Unless you have a resident tuner, it's best to buy a tuner and learn to tune it yourself.

Ready your fiddle for playing by cleaning the strings with methylated spirits and a soft cloth. Apply rosin to your bow before playing.

Position the fiddle correctly at arm's length, extending straight out from your chin on your collarbone. Beginning students may allow it to rest at an angle, but this makes it more difficult to use the bow.

Hold the bow with your thumb near the grip. Allow your little finger to rest curved on the inside of the bow. Place your remaining fingers draped across the stick.

Apply the bow about two-thirds of the distance from the bridge to the fingerboard. Keeping the bow straight, practice playing each string until you feel comfortable with the bow.

Start with easy, recognizable songs. Nursery rhyme songs work well at the beginning for people learning to play by ear versus reading music.

Remember your finger positions if you plan to learn the fiddle by reading music. Some beginning students write the finger numbers on their fingers.


  • The fiddle is a sensitive instrument. Its sound is affected by placement, pressure and speed of the bow. Take care of your bow, making certain to keep moisture and dirt away from it.

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