Top Ten Fiddle Players

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The Top Ten

Justin Branum
Justin Branum has an ear like none other. He breathes the fiddle in his life. You can hear it in his playing. He pays homage to every single one of the greats, and to the great pedal steel guitar! Yeah! Big Full sound. Justin Branum translates those crazy wavy melodies--full of all the intervalic capabilities to be silly and expressive in Its song to sing. Justin Branum is the Grand Master Fiddler Champion 2010. This year, He was awarded first place as the "Show Me State's" Best Rhythm Guitar Player in Missouri. He's in the book just recently published called Play me something fast and devilish about Missouri style fiddle playing. He is an amazingly precise player who shines alone in his Western Swing style. Colorful and virtuosic solos drive, with a groove, a rhythm, and a force that begs to be set apart by its very nature of mystery, as well as the simple purity, love, and honesty from the heart through which the music pours. A man of excellence who is an open vessel for the music to flow like none other and refresh our souls. Thank God for such a fiddler. He can Revive The Tradition.
Justin is a wonderful player and a fantastic human being. Justin is a young man with an old soul. He is knowledgeable about all styles of music and is a master of them all. The fiddling world will be hearing his name for decades to come.
Why isn't Howard Forrester on the list? Also, where does Gordon Terry rate?

2Hyram Posey
Hyram is the most talented fiddle player I have ever heard or met. I was introduced to his music before I ever had the chance to meet the man himself and was in awe. He is a genuine person with a huge heart and musical soul.
He is not only the best fiddle player, he has a great sense of humor and lots of composition talent.
Incredible fiddle player, plays all genres, Fantastic person & the best ever to work with.
[Newest]He plays to any arrangements.

3Charlie Daniels

Charlie owns this award from "Orange Blossom Special" alone - and that's not even his best work.
Undeniably the one of greatest fiddle players of all time.
Damn good fiddle player
[Newest]I love hearing Charlie Daniels play that fiddle I love it!

4Stewart Duncan
Stuart is the tastiest fiddler I've ever heard. SMOOTH!
Great fiddler of americana music, really shines on the Goat Rodeo Sessions with Edgar Myers, Yo-Yo Ma, and Chris Thile

5Kenny Sears
He was my first teacher... I was 3!... And I am now 35! Very good man! Absolutely brilliant Mr. Kenny... The Shaffer twins from Lindsay Hollow have ALWAYS admired you! TOP notch across any genre of music!
Love that Texas swing sound.

6Buddy Spicher

7Rob Hajacos
Seriously, why don't I see his name here. He is one of the best Nashville Studio musicians and appears on countless albums by all the favorite stars and others. Truly a master of the fiddle!

8Johnny Gimble
Johnny has great tone, wonderful touch, an always plays the right lick for every song, he does not overplay. H e is one of nicest an finest human being I ever met.
Johnny has Western swing soul and knows what melody is even if he is playing harmony or is complimenting a vocalist. He has played on concerts and sessions for me... Gospel singer David Ingles.
Haven't heard Gimble's tone quality and perfection from any of the others mentioned here.

9Byron Berline
Byron Berline is AMAZING! I got to meet him last year in Weiser, Idaho and he's one of the BEST fiddlers I have ever heard! I took a workshop from him, and he was really nice to autograph the three cds and fiddle book I bought from him. He didn't make me feel like a "nobody". I even got my picture taken with him!
This guy is pretty awesome! I got to meet him personally in Kansas when he was playing in a show, and since I haven't heard any other fiddlers really, then I think that he is the best! By the way, who on earth is Hugh Farr?
Are you kidding? This guy needs to be at the top of the list and he is only third! Well, so is life, but this guy is the BEST! I heard him play in Nashville, and he is GREAT!

10Mark O'Connor
This guy has the most tasty solos of any man alive. If you really want to see this guys talent, check out his live performance with Tony Rice and Bela Fleck of "Freeborn Man. "
He is the greatest fiddle player by far not only is the greatest fiddle player he also masters in guitar, mandolin...
A sound second to none, not to mention his impact on so many young fiddlers lives in his camps and teaching.
[Newest]Great player and shares his craft

The Contenders

11Aubrey Hayney
Best fiddle player I've ever heard

12Jimmy Gyles
He's definitely one of the most energetic and creative fiddlers well above the others
I would place him above all listed. In his prime no one can out play him
Fantastic fiddler! Charlie Daniels couldn't shine his shoes, but God bless them both
[Newest]Talent, pure and simple.

13Hoot Hester
What about billy canteras, you kidding me?

14Bob Wills
You don't have to be from Texas to know that Bob Wills is still the king.

15Martin Hayes
All Ireland fiddle champion six times. How was he not already on this list? Why is he so good at what he does? He plays from his heart, that's how! Give it a listen, and you too will bump this vote.
Tone, passion, the best, also very humble See what he has to say about the "lonesome touch"... A term "used to describe a person's music. The word lonesome expresses a sadness, a blue note, a sour note. Even though the music bares the trace of struggle and of pain, it is alsothe means of uplift, transcendence to joy and celebration"
I agree with what has been said about Martin
[Newest]A god amongst men.

16Tim Passmore
I just recentky heard of Tim. Excellent fiddler! I'm gonna try to look him up and find out where I can hear him.

17Hugh Farr
Hugh Farr was AWESOME! One of the greatest violinists of all time said his bowing arm was the best in the world! If it wasn't for his choice to stay with the SOTP he could well have become one of the most famous fiddlers around. He deserves to be much better known than he is.
Many people don't know who Hugh Farr, one of the members of the original Sons of the Pioneers, is. He was one of the best fiddlers in history!

18Doug Kershaw
Saw him in '74 and I never forgot how he made people just want to get up and dance, whether they know how or not - his music is totally awesome... Love, love him.
If ever anyone can put heart and soul in music its Doug Kershaw, most amazing fiddler player ever!
Love his god-given talent vocally & instrumentally - THE BEST FIDDLER EVER!

19Craig Duncan
Thanks for always playing clean and right!

20Jimmy De Martini
Jimmy De is the best! Listen to him play the Intro to Free by ZBB or Devil Went Down to Georgia and you will agree.

21Bobby Hicks
I tool a few lessons from Bobby back in the 60's and he is awesome.
I met Bobby when he played with the Judy Lynn band in Reno Nevada & also
Did a fiew jobs with him in the 60's.
He is also a fine banjo picker & singer as well as a great person.
He was also part of that great Ricky Skaggs sound.

22Nicky Sanders
Glad Nicky's on the list. He deserves to be. Excellent musician and performer.

23Ashley MacIsaac

24Terry Morris
I knew Terry well... He was an elite and super talented player...
Terry was, by far, the gel between old-school masters and the younger masters of today. His song versions and his intricate bowing is unsurpassed.

25Máiréad Nesbitt
Mairéad should be top 5 if not number 1! Best female player in the world, as far as I'm concerned.
She is the best fiddle player IN THE WORLD
Great! Amazing to watch!

26Mark Weeg
This guy takes regular fiddle tunes and uses his limited classical education to really make something out of them. He wrote a book full of fiddle tunes he collected, and I hear he still plays with the orchestra. He used to run a mandolin orchestra, and he was in bluegrass bands, Irish bands, Scottish bands, country bands -- and that's not to mention all of the fiddle-contest prizes he is reputed to have won. This guy gets my vote, that's all.
Should be up there in the top ten!

27Donnell Leahy
Great fiddle player from a wonderfully musical family!
Nobody can beat donnell ihe is 100 years before his time

28Billy MacInnis
Best fiddler! Listen and you'll understand.
Great player and great person

29Dave Swarbrick
There is absolutely no fiddle player that compares to Swarb. I do not believe there is anyone more acclaimed than this master of English Folk and former member of Fairport Convention.

30Eileen Ivers
Fabulous Bronx ex-river dance fiddler

31Casey Driessen

32Michael Cleveland
Bluegrass fiddle player of the year at least 8 times!

33Jason Carter
Has also won bluegrass fiddle player of the year. Plays for del mccoury.

34Kenny Baker
One of the smoothest first generation fiddle players. just passed away in the last year or so.

35Jay Ungar

36Bonnie Rideout

37Jeremy Abshire
One of the best fidfle players out there. He was on the cover of Fiddlers Magazine in the summer of 2012.

38Hubert Cox

39Alastair White

40Shorty Lavender

41Jean Carignan
Greatest Fiddler of French-Canadian Music, but also combined elements of Scottish and Irish Fiddling. Certainly one of the greatest North American Fiddlers. Was a friend of Yehudi Menuhin.

42Gene Elders
Check out the little known Ace in thr Hole Band.

43Alasdair Fraser
Alasdair doesn't seem to play the fiddle as much as he extends his heart through the instrument and it comes out as perfect music. I keep looking for a fiddler that is even in the same league, is tone, and touch and heart and effortless play are impeccable and inspiring.
One of the finest fiddler and writer of fiddle tunes alive! I can't believe this master isn't on here already.

44Chris Higbee
Pittsburgh local fiddle player

45Rufus Thibodeaux
Hey, what gives? Rufus was only considered to be the "WORLD'S GREATEST CAJUN AND Texas SWING FIDDLE PLAYER EVER" and he isn't on your list! Once when asked, Johnny Gimble named him as the best! He also played with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, not to mention the hundreds of country greats that he did session work for! He played on the famed "Louisiana Hayride" before joining the Grand Old Opry in 1956. He played with all the greats but primarily with Jimmy C. Newman. Later, he joined Neil Young's band the "International Harvesters". (That man could play anything! ) It was during this time that Kenny Sears filled in for him with Newman's band. Take it from someone who had the honor and privilege to hear and see him perform live, not one fiddler has ever made a fiddle laugh or cry, literally weep like the late great Rufus Thibodeaux!

46Jacob Bennett
Damn good fiddle player

47Sara Watkins
What an omission! Nickel Creek is one of the best groups ever assembled. I've seen them twice and they were beyond fantastic both times.
Not to have Sara even on this list is beyond ridiculous. I've seen her twice and she is a fantastic player and entertainer.

48Eric Nofsinger

49Vassar Clements

50Doug Meek

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This list was created 3 years, 200 days ago and has been voted on over 300 times. This top ten list has been remixed 1 times.

Updated Friday, April 24, 2015

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