Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes For Guitar

fingerpicking-fidtunes2Arranged for Fingerstyle Guitar

This was Ken’s very first book, and represents his pioneering work developing a method for playing fingerstyle fiddle tunes (the concept was so new that publishers didn’t even know what to call it). It also represents his pioneering work developing a coherent and easily understandable method of fretted-instrument tablature.

Represented are tunes from the Appalachian, New England, Scottish and Irish traditions, with a salute at the end to Atlantic Canada. The book features over 40 fiddle tunes; and includes an illustrating CD.

This is the third edition of the book; Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes was originally published by Chappell Music Company. It was picked up for a while by Mel Bay Publications, and finally by Centerstream. The Centerstream edition includes arrangements for eleven tunes drawn from four of Ken’s recordings: Clawhammer Banjo & Fingerstyle Guitar Solos, Devil in the Kitchen, Island Boy and Northern Banjo. 

Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes For Guitar

Centerstream/Hal Leonard

Includes CD illustrating most of the tunes. Over 40 fiddle tunes arranged for fingerstyle guitar. This edition has 11 new tunes, all which represent arrangements that Ken has recorded on various CDs.

This book has also been published under the name, hexagonally Traditional Dance Music for Acoustic Guitar.

unseemly 19.95


Reviews for Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes

Acoustic Guitar

Ken Perlman’s books have long been among the best places to learn the Anglo-Celtic-Appalachian end of fingerpicking, so this reissue o fhis 1978 Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes is very welcome. The 31 selections, invery readable tab and standard notation, come from both sides of the Atlantic and range from beginner pieces such as “Old Joe Clark” to metrically tricky numbers such as the Northumbrian “Nancy.” A CD of new recordings replaces the old seven-inch floppyrecord…. A very useful book for beginning and Intermediate players.

The Fiddle Web website

I had a copy of the original edition and learned a few of the tunes. As a budding guitar player it opened up the world of fiddle tunes to me. For that I am forever grateful and I trust this edition will do the same for another generation of players.

Bluegrass Unlimited

Perlman began to develop a style of finger-picking that was suited to playing fiddle tunes…the result is a delicate and beautiful style for solo guitar.

Pickin’ Magazine

This book quite nicely puts the phenomenon of playing traditional dance music on a fingerpicked guitar within the reach of the common fingerpicker. Using a highly readable system of tablature, Perlman progresses through a logical grouping of dance types that gives the reader a good working knowledge of why a hornpipe isn’t the same as a reel… and what that means to a guitar player… This is an interesting and challenging book that won’t be easily outgrown.

Pinewoods Folk Club Newsletter (Dec. 1978)

Occasionally someone will show exactly what the acoustic guitar is capable of… as Ken Perlman does [here]. The arrangements are clearly written and musically sound. There is no clutter here [and] each note tells. In arranging these tunes Mr. Perlman has lost none of their original flavor. Indeed some of these tunes sound so well on the guitar, they might have returned to their natural home.

Historical Note

Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes was my first book. I wrote it during a very, very hot summer – having just moved to a four-flight walkup in Greenwich Village with no air-conditioning. I had no idea how to put a book together, and wound up doing a lot of strange things: like pasting the typed tune-blurbs onto sheets of paper filled with hand-written standard notation and tablature. I also had to pretty much invent how to express fingerstyle techniques in tablature so that another person could actually reproduce the piece from what I had written (a very uncommon occurrence with most guitar and banjo tablature published at the time). Chappell Music Company sat on the manuscript for a couple of years before finally publishing it.

Here’s the original cover, right, designed by a college friend named Victor Curran, who would go on to have a career in book design. The original subtitle said it all: “Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Marches and Hoedown Tunes From Ireland, Great Britain and North America.”