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?

2Charlie 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.
He's only as good as the fiddler behind him. Lip-synching, but with a fiddle. Little known fact to a few in the industry.

3Hyram Posey
Incredible fiddle player, plays all genres, Fantastic person & the best ever to work with.

4Stewart Duncan
Great fiddler of americana music, really shines on the Goat Rodeo Sessions with Edgar Myers, Yo-Yo Ma, and Chris Thile

5Kenny Sears

6Buddy Spicher

7Johnny 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.

8Byron 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!

9Rob 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!

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.

The Contenders

11Jimmy 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
Talent, pure and simple.

12Aubrey Hayney
Best fiddle player I've ever heard

13Bob Wills
You don't have to be from Texas to know that Bob Wills is still the king.

14Martin 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.
I agree with what has been said about Martin
A god amongst men.

15Hoot Hester
Grand ole Opry fiddler... One of the Best!

16Hugh 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!

17Tim 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.

18Craig Duncan
Thanks for always playing clean and right!

19Doug Kershaw
I just love his music and his spirit! He gets his whole body into playing
My grandsons grew up dancing around our living room to Doug Kershaw..
He is my favorite fiddlers!

20Bobby 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.

21Nicky Sanders
Glad Nicky's on the list. He deserves to be. Excellent musician and performer.

22Terry 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.

23Jimmy 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.

24Máiréad 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!

25Mark 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!

26Donnell Leahy
Great fiddle player from a wonderfully musical family!
Nobody can beat donnell ihe is 100 years before his time

27Ashley MacIsaac

28Dave 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.

29Eileen Ivers
Fabulous Bronx ex-river dance fiddler

30Jay Ungar

31Bonnie Rideout

32Jeremy Abshire
One of the best fidfle players out there. He was on the cover of Fiddlers Magazine in the summer of 2012.

33Hubert Cox

34Alastair White

35Shorty Lavender

36Jean 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.

37Gene Elders
Check out the little known Ace in thr Hole Band.

38Alasdair 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.

39Casey Driessen

40Chris Higbee
Pittsburgh local fiddle player

41Rufus 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!

42Jacob Bennett
Damn good fiddle player

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This list was created 3 years, 75 days ago and has been voted on over 200 times. This top ten list has been remixed 1 times.

Updated Saturday, December 20, 2014

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