In my latest video on The Tune Project YouTube channel, I walk you through how to play this classic tune, Leather Britches, This is one of my favorite traditional fiddle tunes that if you don't know it yet, you've just gotta learn it! It's upbeat, very foot-tappable, and I know you're going to love it!
Here are a few of my tips for learning this tune effectively so you can be on your way to performing it and jamming on it with your friends in no time!
This tune has quite a few string crossings. If you are not quite comfortable with this, I would recommend trying a string crossing exercise on open A and D, so your right hand can become more accustomed to this motion. You will be happy you did this when you are in the thick of the tune and need to shift your focus toward notes, double stops, and other aspects besides bowing!
We use the fourth finger in the B section of this tune, so it is important that you are comfortable using your fourth finger in general. If you're not sure if this is something you're comfortable with, I'd recommend practicing a short scale on the E string, for example, E-F#-G-A-B, just to make sure you are spacing your fingers accurately for this fourth-finger reach. Also, don't forget to check your intonation if you are unsure! If you haven't used your fourth finger much or aren't quite confident in your sense of pitch by solely relying on your ear, then you probably need a little help when it comes to finding that fourth finger B. There's no shame in using a tuner for this, and in fact I'd recommend doing so if you don't have a teacher or musically inclined buddy nearby to help you out.
Lastly, double stops really compliment this tune and style exceptionally well, so use them! The string crossings might make this part a little tricky, though, so I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the bow pattern and melody notes first before adding in this step. However, once you're comfortable with notes, rhythm, and bowings, feel free to go wild with the double stops! You'll find they really do make a difference, and go a long way in enhancing that sense of style and foot-tapping nature that we talked about earlier.
Now I don't have sheet music for the particular version of this tune that I learned (the one I teach in the video), but I am always taking sheet music requests! So, if you would like for me to create a custom arrangement of this tune just for you, feel free to contact me here and I will happily write it up for you!