Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fiddle Workshop with Chojo Jacques

Sunday January 22nd

2pm - 4pm

A 3 part introduction to fiddle - learning the basics of bowing, fingering, and other proper techniques to get started. This will be a general overview of the necessary skills needed for any style of beginning fiddle.
The first part will be focused on learning proper bowing techniques, including exercises to take home. 
The second part will be focused on proper left hand and fingering techniques, with scales to take home.
The last part will consist of learning a tune together, and applying the techniques discussed.
Primarily designed for beginners, but intermediate players wanting a tune-up of their technique would benefit.

Workshop is $30

Give the gift of music!  Gift Certificates for this workshop are available
Sign up now!  Space is limited!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Irish Tune Teaching Session

For some time now we have been having Irish tune teaching sessions on the first Sunday night of each month.  They have been going great and people seem to be enjoying them.  In an attempt to make them even better we are changing the format slightly.  We will now be making our way through the "Tunes for the T.I.M.E.S." Cd's, starting with volume 1.  These CDs were created by the Traditional Irish Music Education Society as a teaching tool to be used at the O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat, which everyone knows I'm a big fan of! (You can check out the TIMES website at if you want more info)

Anyway, I have about 30 of these CDs to hand out for free at our sessions and then every month we will go over the next three tunes on the CD.  The CDs present each tune at full speed and at a slow speed and they are great for learning tunes!  The schedule of what tunes will be covered when check the Fiddler's Green website under the "Irish sessions" tab.  I'm hoping that if people have a good learning source to take home with them that they will "do their homework" and really start building up their tune list.

The whole point of these sessions is for people to get together and have fun learning tunes in common.  We're using the TIMES cds because they seem to be the unofficial tune list for central Texas.  Hopefully, when all the central Texas folks get together for a session at the Austin Celtic Festival (ACF) or the North Texas Irish Festival (NTIF) or Tour and Candy's room at O'Flaherty's we will all know more tunes in common.

So if you've never been to our sessions please come!  The more the merrier!  Hopefully, we can build up the Austin Irish Trad scene and show those Dallas folks who's boss!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cool Stuff: How many tunes can you hear at once?

I'm a recent fan of Radiolab ( and one of their shorts caught my ear enough that I thought I'd share. It's about a pianist who is able to listen to four symphonies at once, in his head, complete with all the instruments. I'm not even sure I could hear one fully! It's pretty amazing, so have a listen to the podcast below:


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat

I just got back from an incredible weekend at the O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat.  It's the biggest event in Texas for Irish traditional music.  If you don't know about it, you should check it out!  (On the web at  It's always on the last weekend in October in Midlothian Texas, although it's moving next year to Waxahachie.  O'Flaherty's is a long weekend of learning, playing tunes, going to sessions, hanging with friends, attending amazing instructor concerts, and just generally getting a huge dose of Irish music.  I took a fiddle class from Liz Carroll, who was called "the first lady of Irish music".   I always knew she was amazing but she really blew me away!  And she's funny as heck!  She had the whole class laughing all the time.  The class was mostly adults but there were a few teenagers in there who put most of the adults to shame.  Each night we were treated to performances by the instructors, and those concerts are worth the price of tuition by themselves.  Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford, John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Randal Bays, Rose Flanagan, and a ton of others.  I'm still reeling from Martin Hayes and John Doyle pretty much lighting the stage on fire!  It was possibly the most intense live performance of Irish music I have ever seen and it ended with the whole crowd literally leaping to their feet in a spontaneous standing ovation!  Whew! Yeah!

There were instructors for fiddle, uillean pipes, harp, whistle, flute, banjo, mandolin, singing, accordion, and guitar.  The main instructors also give "enrichment classes" which are really just lectures, to provide an historical and cultural background to the music.  It reinforces the fact that this music is not just a bunch of twiddly fiddle tunes but it's part of the Irish culture and there is so much that goes on "behind the tunes".  I love hearing about all the old players and the connections between them.

O'Flaherty's draws from all over Texas and there were some from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and even out of state.  The retreat feels like, as Louvain, one of the organizers said, "a family reunion without all the trouble".  I've been going for four years now and I've gotten to know a lot of faces that make the retreat feel familiar and relaxed.

I'm really not trying to make this sound like an ad for O'Flaherty's.  I just love what Ken Fleming and his crew have done and I hope they keep doing it, and I do want to spread the word to as many people as possible.  I guess for now I'll just have to keep practicing my tunes while I wait for next year and do it all again!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Blue Grass Boys Reunion!

As always, our shows start at 8pm, doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 at the door, cash only. Parking is available in front of and behind the shop, over flow parking available at Things Celtic across the street. We don't have snacks or drinks (other than water) but your welcome to bring your own! We'll see you there!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration

Come out for a day long celebration of Bill Monroe's 100th birthday! There will be music all day, with the Bluegrass Boys headlining, and informal jamming in the shade. There will even be a raffle for a Gold Tone banjo, a Martin Guitar (donated by us!) , tickets to Old Settler's Music Festival and Marty Stuart Tickets at One World Theatre in November. There's plenty of free parking for the event: The lot in front of Central Market is available, there are a number of spots in the lot at 39th and Guadalupe (accessible from Guadalupe) and the third level and above of the Heart Hospital's parking garage is free on the weekends.
So come out for a great party and help celebrate the legacy of Bluegrass's legendary founder!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Pickin' in the Park" is THIS SUNDAY!

Every year we do the Pickin' in the Park, which has turned out to be incredibly fun and the high point of the year for our musical events.  It's a blast!  We serve hot dogs and tons of people come out and gather in clusters with their instruments under the trees in Zilker Park and have a great ol'time!  It started out as kind of a customer appreciation party but it turned into much more than that.  It's one of the few times during the year that bluegrass, old time, Irish, cajun, folk, etc, can get together in one place and "cross polinate".  There's even an accordion group that films a webcast!  We at the shop love doing it and we hope lots of people come out for it. It's in the Rock Garden picnic table area in Zilker Park, just up the hill from the Zilker Hillside theater.  Enter the parking area off Barton Springs road like you're going to Barton Springs but take a right instead of going down towards Barton Springs.  Look for the Fiddler's Green banner!
BY THE WAY, the shop will be closed on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"The Morning Star" - Amazing Irish Mandolin CD

I just recently found this CD from Marla Fibish and Jimmy Crowley called "The Morning Star" (Irish Music on Double-Strung Instruments).  I have been playing Irish mandolin for about 15 years or so and this may be the best example of Irish mandolin I have ever heard.  To be honest, I have to admit that most Irish mandolin can be thin, tinny, and shrill, but this CD shows how sweet the mandolin can be when playing Irish music.  Check out this CD!  It's awesome and if you want a full review of this CD check out the Fiddlefreak blog (I have it listed under "My Blog List" down the left hand column of this page.) On the Fiddlefreak blog you can hear sound clips and see a video of Marla Fibish playing her mandolin in a parking garage!

A New Ancient Modern Traditional Oud

     We just go this in!  It's an electric Oud made by the Godin Guitar company up in Canada.  It's not too often you see something like this.  It's an 11 string Oud (5 double courses and one single course) with an on board pre-amp/eq/tuner. I don't really know how to play the Oud, but we have had one or two customers who know how and it sounds incredible!  The fretless fingerboard lets you get all the microtones that are essential in Eastern music.  
     We don't really stock anything electric (except a weird electric fiddle that no one will buy) but this thing is so cool that we had to get one in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breedloves Looking for a Good Home!

Breedlove makes an incredible guitar!  Breedlove was one of the first brands I started carrying when I opened my shop 5 years ago.  Their guitars are truly some of the best instruments being made in America these days.  
     HOWEVER, Breedloves are tough to sell to the traditional crowd.  They are now featured maybe a little too prominently in a well known "big box" chain store and that seems to have diminished their brand reputation, at least among the traditional crowd.  Breedlove has had a hard time establishing themselves in the bluegrass genre and that's a shame because these Breedloves totally "spank" some of the brands that bluegrass/Americana/country players tend to go for.

   SO, WE'RE TRYING TO FIND GOOD HOMES FOR OUR REMAINING BREEDLOVES.  These are new instruments, they've just been hanging around a while.  Also they have just been recently adjusted and set up by our luthier and are in top condition.  We have an OM, three dreadnoughts, a funky jumbo model, and an awesome mandolin.  Check our website or call because we're selling them dirt cheap!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our favorite iPhone app of all time!

Have you ever wondered how we get that great "vintage" quality to our photos? Well, wonder no more! It's an awesome little iPhone app called Hipstamatic (Check out their Website or Facebook pages). It lets you choose from a bunch of different lenses, film and flashes to create cool artsy photos. They can also print your photos for you and send them to you, if your into the analog thing :) (there's a minimum order, but it's super low). It's by far our favorite app, so if you have an iPhone, check it out!

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Play the Ukulele Daily"

     Ukuleles seem to be all the rage right now.  In the shop we probably sell more ukes than anything else.  We have no idea why, but it seems like people are going crazy for them.  I guess it's because they're small and cute and not as intimidating as a guitar or banjo or whatever.  Also, it seems to me that there are no uke virtuosos out there (okay, I know there are some but they're not widely known) that are making people think they have to be really technically good to play the uke.  For the most part, people seem to think of the easy strum, strum, strum style of Tiny Tim and "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" or the song from the movie "The Jerk" with Steve Martin.  The uke seems to have built up a friendly and relaxed vibe and goes with a moonlight walk on a beach the same way a hot dog seems to go with baseball.  There was that guy Iz who made a big hit with strumming along to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (leaning against a palm tree on a Hawaiian beach!)  That version even got translated to the younger crowd when it was covered on the show Glee, adding definite "coolness" points.   Eddie Vedder from the rock group Pearl Jam picked up a uke a few years ago and used it on a few songs (uke in a rock band?!), and just recently put out a CD of all ukulele songs appropriately titled "Ukulele Songs", (he even does a cover of the song from "The Jerk"!) More "coolness" points!  Yay Eddie Vedder!  So, the uke is small, easy to carry around, relatively inexpensive, cute, friendly, easy on the fingers, has a laid back image, and you don't have to be awesome at it.  It's a pretty cool combination!  Maybe it's just a fad, but being that we're in the music business, we'll go with it!  We hope it lasts!

     By the way, for anyone not yet into the uke craze, we are having another UKULELE WORKSHOP for beginners and intermediate players.  We will provide ukes if you don't have one, and you'll get a coupon for 15% off the purchase of a uke from the shop! This is a perfect chance to see what all the hub bub is about.  Click here for more info.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Docs New Banjo!

A few weeks ago, Doc Hamilton told us about this old Fairbanks banjo he found on ebay. He was so excited, he hung out most of the day to talk about it! (Not that we mind. Doc is awesome!) Well, it finally came in, and he was sweet enough to bring it by. It's a 1900 Fairbanks "electric" (named for the "electric" model tone ring. It's not actually electric :) with all original parts but for the head and strings, which he changed out for Aquilla Nylgut Classical Banjo strings. It has the original ivoroid tuners and a really impressive bone tailpiece. It's one of the nicest sounding banjos we've heard! I asked Doc what he loved it more than, and he said "Ha! I love it more than a hog loves slop!" 

Here's Doc playing Last Chance on his "new" Fairbanks

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pickin' in the Park October 9th

We will be doing the 3rd annual Pickin' in the Park on October 9th but it's in a slightly different place than last year.  It'll be at the Rock Garden site in Zilker Park, pretty much right across from the Polo Tables, where we had it last year.  We'll post more info later but mark your calendars.  Hopefully the weather will be cooler by then!

We hired a new guy!

So, this guy comes in and asks me and Ben all about becoming a luthier and was dropping names like Tom Ellis or Bill Collings or Stephan Passernig.  He's really excited about instruments and seemed to be a good guy, so Ben ran out in the parking lot as he was leaving and we offered him a job. His name is Hunter and he'll come in a couple days a week and tune up instruments, change strings, and just help out in general.  We're glad to have him join us at Fiddler's Green.  Y'all be nice to him!

The Austin String Band Festival Oct. 14-16

This year's festival should be a great one!  Scheduled to appear are Rick Hartness &Pickled Beats, Cajun Country Revival, Foghorn Trio, Tracy Schwarz & Ginny Hawker, Steve James, The Carper Family, Brian Marshall, The Lost Pines, Double Eagle String Band, and Rains & Keane. Get more info at

Our New Blog!!

As our latest in a series of brilliant ideas, we have decided to start this web page so that we can comment on all the random things we come across at the shop that don’t really fit into any of our regular website categories.  We might discuss new instruments, concert reviews, events, promotions, stuff around town, weird stuff, bad puns, and really just about anything that comes across our music obsessed minds.  
We apologize in advance!