Buckin’ Mule

As played by Gid Tanner from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in G

From the Skillet Lickers Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)


78rpm Record


This transcription is sponsored by Dr. Fiddle contributor Patrick Towell.

This is an odd piece from Georgia fiddler Gid Tanner, of Skillet Lickers fame. The A part is fairly regular and consistent, but he hardly ever fiddled the B part the same way twice. It is very crooked and irregular, almost free-form. Futhermore, Tanner interjected many non-verbal vocalizations throughout the tune. Tanner’s bowing was almost entirely sawstroke, with the only sophistication showing in the left hand work. The fiddle was often faint in the recording, sometimes overwhelmed by the guitar or vocalizations, so I’m not totally confident of the whole transcription.

There are notes with Spicatto bowing in many of the B parts.  The notes to be played Spicatto are marked with Xs.  To achieve the desired scrub-brush effect, I recommend placing the fingers of the left hand on the strings at the correct positions, but not pressing down to the fingerboard.  Then, play the Spicatto bowstrokes near the frog.  I will include a YouTube video that clearly shows this technique.



This YouTube video demonstrates the scrub-brush Spicatto bowing used in Buckin’ Mule.  A good close-up of the bowing technique can be seen at 1:40:


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