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Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Updated Feb 2, 2024

Fiddling for Beginners

Book and 80 minute video DVD

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Fiddling for Beginners by Captain Fiddle Music, book cover

Fiddling for Beginners - $24.95

This course by Ryan Thomson is designed for learners with little or no experience with fiddle or violin playing. Although written music is included, this video helps you teach yourself to play the included tunes without the need for written music.

The DVD teaches bowing patterns, rhythms, scales, and several easy tunes including Celtic and bluegrass styles. The book is 40 pages, 5.5" by 8.5", is plastic comb bound to lie flat, and includes topics such as tuning, practicing, holding the instrument, learning by ear, and diagrams which show where to place your fingers. Standard music notation is included although no music reading ability is required.      ISBN 978-0-931877-28-5

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 Want an audio cassette or CD instead of a video? We have them in stock. Please email us.

 Want to learn fiddle playing left handed? No problem, click here!




Victory Music Review: "Fiddling for Beginners teaches the basics and does not require the ability to read, even though it provides scores. The D, A, and G scales are taught and applied in three basic fiddle styles: two reels 'Boil them Cabbages Down,' and Old Joe Clark'; a jig '100 Pipers'; and a hornpipe 'Boys of Blue Hill.' The material is clearly and slowly presented on the tape."


Bluegrass Unlimited: "The ideas that he presents on fiddle playing in general, practice techniques, and learning by ear, are quite good."


Tennessee Folklore Society: "This course is highly recommended to anyone desiring to learn to play the fiddle, regardless of their age or lack of previous musical experience."


From Happy Customers:


Hi Captain Fiddle,

I just want to thank you for having the best fiddle lessons on the internet. I have both fiddle DVD's and I have learned to play every tune thanks to your slower clear instruction, unlike some of the other DVD's that teach at almost full speed which are very hard to follow.


East Meadow, New York


Great book! And this one really is for beginners. I brought zero musical training to this endevour (and just about that much natural ability), but within a few days I was sawing away at "Boil Them Cabbages Down," drone and all. I've worked through the other melodies with equal success, my family's impressed, and I'm jazzed. I just wish there was a Volume II! The tips for maintaining a fiddle, tuning it, practicing, learning to play by ear-all very helpful.

El Prado, New Mexico



This is the BEST way for me to learn. Since watching the DVD I got up the courage to take out the fiddle and ran into the bony collarbone against the shoulder rest and went out and got a different one based on your DVD suggestions and i'm off and running. I still haven't finished the DVD as i keep going back and redoing parts. It is so realistic that at one point i walked around my computer thinking i could see the other side of you if i did. So, to wrap up, I'm living my dream: retirement and at least TRYING to fiddle and now i feel so much more confident as if i have a question, i just back it up and listen again. I'm more relaxed at home and I think that helps too. The book is great as well. I'm using them together.

THANKS AGAIN, this was the BEST investment i ever made for my music dreams. A MAJOR BARGAIN AT TWICE THE PRICE!!! And you can quote me on that!



Gloucester, Massachusetts


We went to your fiddle workshop at Nomad ages ago and have since taken up the fiddle. Liked your first book so much I am getting this one for my daughter for Christmas.





I got the book/tape. Thanks! Although I'm not purchased instructional fiddle books before, I have purchased many for guitar. Your publication seems to be much better thought out than most and the tunes are great. I'll keep you appraised of my progress.

Thank you and all the best.

A. F.

Baldwinsville, New York


Thanks Ryan,

 Please pass this note along. I'm spreadin the fiddlin' fever out here in the Rockies - teaching lessons from the lessons my father taught me from the lessons you taught him.


Lake City, Colorado the way, I have your banjo CD and your learn the fiddle CD/Book set, Enjoying them a lot! Your playing motivates me to reach new levels. Thanks for the motivation and inspiration!

T. L.

West Sand Lake, New York


Hey Captain: I love your stuff. I started with the Beginner's Fiddle Book and tape and then went to CDs 2 - 5.........My dad has played fiddle since he was about 35. His father, whom I never met, also played fiddle. And now, at the age of 52 I have suddenly gotten the bug. Thanks to you and my dad, I can play about ahalf a dozen tunes where the dog doesn't howl anymore. Thanks.




Hi. I'm sure you don't remember me. I ordered and received your beginner DVD and book about 1 month ago. We exchanged an email and your encouragement was great. I just wanted to update you on my progress, due to your instruction.


Sunday, I played a real fiddle tune successfully for family and friends at an annual chicken stew! This is an event I've attended and dreamed of impressing the crowd with my very own fiddling for 15 years! It's one that my Daddy once played at and his presence was sorely missed when he died in '87. My fiddling wasn't perfect, but good enough to grab their attention and show some promise.


I played "Boil Them Cabbages Down" and wanted to thank you for the clear, step by step instruction your materials offered. The folks that play bluegrass/old time fiddle around here are good at playing but, they're shy and backward when it comes to teaching someone else.


I'm now working on "Old Joe Clark" which is a little more challenging. The great tip about leaving the fiddle out on a table for easy pick up has helped greatly too. I jokingly tell friends I have the fiddling fever. I often hear the tunes in my head when I lay down at night. My children go around the house humming my songs, too. 


You were right about the clogging, too. My children love to dance while I play and that encourages me even more. I didn't realize how much dancers seem to applaud the players before now. Anyway, thanks again. I really think I'm gonna be a fiddler!

Best wishes,

J. M.

Low Gap, North Carolina


Dear Capt. Fiddle

A few years ago I ordered a Fiddle method from Captain Fiddle. I learned the first song, Bile Them Cabbages Down, the first time I tried to play. I mainly play guitar, but your method got me playing fast. Thanks for the help.


North Richland Hills, Texas


Dear Captain Fiddle

I recently purchased your Fiddling for Beginners book and CD and am quite pleased with my progress on the "Devil's Box."


Oxford, Ohio

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