Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whoa Mule - Fiddle Contest Hoedown Tune

Whoa Mule is a fiddle contest tune. There are two parts (A and B), and we usually play it as AABB or AABBAA. The basic chord progression is:

(Each chord is half a measure in 4/4)

However, in a fiddle contest setting, the backup for this tune is typically done in a Texas style backup. In this style, there is a walking bass line beneath the chords, and frequently the chord will change every half-measure.

The chord progression using Texas Backup:
A: G6 G7 C C#o G6 G7 D7 D7/A G6 G7 C C#o D7 D7/A D7/G# G6
B: Em G C C#o G6 G7 D7 D7/A Em G C C#o D7 D7/A D7/G# G6

I'm including chord diagrams so you can see the bass line walk. Note that the X in the chord charts is the bass note that will be picked. Then the rest of the notes will be strummed on the next beat. (boom-CHUCK, boom-CHUCK, boom-CHUCK, boom-CHUCK).

You'll probably want to use the chord charts attached to understand what's going on better. It does take some work to learn some of these new chord shapes, but I think it makes playing backup a lot more fun. Try it out!

Also note that part A is a pretty standard G progression, so there will be other songs that will use this same progression.  Also, since most of the chords are closed chords (no open strings), the same progression can be played with little additional effort by just starting two frets higher on an A6 instead of a G6.

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