Top 10 Best Fiddle Players of All Time

The Top Ten
1 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 ...more

My step son Joey Miner plays the fiddle, acoustic guitar, mandolin. Electric guitar and drums... He makes Charlie Daniels look like an amateur and he is only 30 years old but has been playing the violin for 25 years and is classically trained. He currently plays full time with the Well Hungarians in St Louis.

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.

2 Hyram Posey

I've had the pleasure of having Hyram and his wife Lori as friends for many years. You will never meet a better couple, no ego just great people. Hyram has played music in all types of settings and always brings his creative genius to the music. Hyram is not only the best fiddle player - bar none- but produces not only the one of a kind music he writes but brings out the best in other artist music he produces. No matter where you put Hyram, stage- recording studio- writing music - movie themes- supporting other artist or playing lead, Hyram is simple the best. Listen to Hyram's music- it soothes the Soul. God Bless Hyram and Lori.

I've had the honor to do 1000 sessions around the country and I've played with some really great musicians and on some really great records in my time...I recently played guitar on Hyram's new record and he's amazing, to say the least. Him and I are going to doing a fiddle/guitar album soon and I can't wait to get started! Having said that...
To me, music is not just about what you do but what you don't do and knowing when to do either... What I mean to say is there is bound to be fiddle players who can play faster, play more notes and put in more flash than Hyram. But what I've not seen is many who can make every note drip with soul and passion like he can! Hyram doesn't play for the money because he knows that that is something that comes and goes! He plays simply because he LOVES it-every bit of it! Money and fame are fleeting things but heart and soul is forever! And that's why I feel he's the best I ever heard and played with! I love Hyram and his wife Lori and have loved them ...more

Hyrams a very gifted musician.
His passion for the old fiddle tunes are played with the reverence as to honor the legacy of the original music & the excitement of the challenge for the innovative music of today. Speaks Volumes to me...
His music has always moved me... The very first time I heard Hyram play... he rocked the place with Eric Clampton's song Cocaine... Then a few songs later he played my forever favorite Maidens Prayer.
His mastery with the fiddle is second to none...

To listen to Hyram play live is the most transcending experience you could have just by just listing to his music, he has a way of putting you in the music and takes you with him on a journey as he plays. He truly has a gift and I thank him for sharing it with the world. To know this gifted individual, it would be hard to find a bigger heart and kinder person then Hyram Posey. I wish him all the best.

3 Stuart Duncan

A very smooth style who can play with anyone!

He is simply amazing!

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

4 Charlie 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.

I love hearing Charlie Daniels play that fiddle I love it!

Rest in peace Charlie best fiddle player I ever heard.

5 Kenny Sears

My Dad was a fiddle player. He had a great ear. I never heard him comment to much about anyone's playing...except for Kenny Sears who he scheduled his entire day around being able to watch Mr. Sears play on the Ralph Emery Show for years! On top of that Mr. Sears is one of the sweetest, kindest and most humble fellows around.

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!

Actually there are about eight fiddle players that handle all the session work in Nashville and Kenny Sears is one of them. He is also classically trained.

There is only a handful of fiddle players that that do all the session work in Nashville. There is also Larry Franklin, Joe Spivey you are forgetting!

6 Buddy Spicher
7 Rob 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!

All around commercial sound either up lifting style!

8 Byron Berline

He's a wonder on stage. He brings brilliance from his fiddle effortlessly!
He livens the show with comedy. He and the rest of the Byron Berline Band
Are a great show and beautiful listening experience. They command your attention and reward your soul.

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?

Best fiddler I have been in awe of him since I was a kid when you listen to him and Dan Crarey playing together it's a match made in heaven.I don't think you can have a "best fiddle player in the world" category but if there was he'd have to be up there.

9 Johnny Gimble

One word describes Johnny Gimble. SM-O-O-O-T-H. Can't be beat when it comes to style. My Dad, God rest his soul, was the best, and being Canadian, was partial to Don Messer, but always said that God had given Johnny the greatest be able to play with heavenly hosts.

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.

Johnny played with Bob and acquired a sound, a feel and Western Swing " savy " that many fiddlers admire. The Lord blessed him with tuning and rhythm, and melodic moves that every song deserves.

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.

10 Mark O'Connor

He's awesome. In addition to his fiddling he was a child prodigy on mandolin and flatpicking guitar, and in addition to his fiddle world championship titles, he's also won titles on both of those, but he just doesn't play them anymore.

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. "

No one can equal his talent, never mind surpass it. I'm not just talking about fiddle players either, he is the definition on virtuoso.

I have meet him 2 times now and he by far is the best and should be in first! He plays with such much comfort in his eyes! He is my roll model for fiddling

The Contenders
11 Hoot Hester

Best fiddle player ever to live. Self taught and has the best ear in the business.

He is my grandpa. He never was out of toon, and he made some awesome songs

12 Aubrey Hayney

Best fiddle player ever! Comes from a great family!

Saw him at Station Inn in Nashville... Unreal!

Should be number 1

13 Doug 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!

My grandsons grew up dancing around our living room to Doug Kershaw..
He is my favorite fiddlers!

Mark O says he was inspired by Doug Kershaw, so what does that tell you?

14 Tommy Peoples

Tommy peoples one of the greatest irish fiddle players if not the greatest. He was also my grandad but we don't talk about that part (stop reading this)

The great Tommy Peoples,original player with the "Bothy Band"? No mention of him on this list!

The best...should be number one!

A master of the fiddle

15 Jimmy 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.

One of the best, most energetic and passionate players I have ever seen or heard.

Underrated. Can play with the best of all time

Jimmy is amazing. Should be ranked as a top 5

16 Bob Wills

Bob wills is without a doubt the beginning of modern country fiddle playing. His single string style was perfect for having two and three part harmony.The king of Western Swing

Bob Wills was the greatest. He invented Country Swing and it just doesn't get any better than that.

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

17 Martin Hayes

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"

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.

A god amongst men.

Love his music!

18 John "Chank the Fiddler" Jeansonne

John "Chank the Fiddler" Jeansonne is a force to be reckoned with. When he played Orange Blossom Special at my nieces wedding, he got to sawing so hard that the resin literally looked like smoke coming up off the bow. And he has a heart of gold and it shows.

When this fiddler plays ... you do not go to see the singer ! You go to see the fiddler ! True story !

Fiddler for Country Music Group Rascal Flatts from January 2002 - January 6, 2015.

My favorite fiddle player! He's the sweetest boy I ever met, too.

19 Tim 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.

Will bring tears to your eyes with any song of how talented he is!

Under rated. This guy is good

Best fiddler of all time!

20 Michael Cleveland

His performance at the Wenatchee bluegrass festival left me and the entire crowd awestruck. I simply cannot see how anyone could play a fiddle better. It was a special night for all of us.

I am sure he is one of the best, especially that he cannot see... I think this anyway...

This guy is the real deal, probably lost count of all the awards he's won.

Bluegrass fiddle player of the year at least 8 times!

21 Jimmy Gyles

Fantastic fiddler! Charlie Daniels couldn't shine his shoes, but God bless them both

I went to school with Jimmy he was amazing 30 yes ago and is even better. A true artist

I haven't heard him in years, but in the 80s he was super!

I would place him above all listed. In his prime no one can out play him

22 Hugh 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.

Hugh Farr is still the best fiddle player there ever was hands down he was absolutely amazing it's too bad he never really got the recognition he deserved. He should be in the #1 spot on this list.

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!

Best sense of rhythm and swing - so that makes him the best. Pity he stuck with the SOPT.

23 Mark 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.

I have had the great opportunity of playing with Mark for 8 years. Great inspiration and teacher as well as an awesome fiddler. One of the easiest fiddlers to accompany that I have ever played with.

Mark is a phenomenon. Lighting fast and dead on accurate. I've enjoyed working with Mark for many years and have always been in awe of his showmanship and ability to wow the audience.

I've known Mark since 1963 and I swear he was born with a fiddle in his hands.

24 Vassar Clements

I've had the great privilege of playing guitar 'round the fire with Vassar Clements a couple of times. He'd be up all night, wanderin' from fire to fire totin' his fiddle and his pipe in one hand and a gorgeous gal, different one every time I saw him, on the other arm. The best I ever, ever heard him was one night Vassar, Alison Krauss, Tony Rice and a few others 'round the fire did "Jolene", and had many of us, manly men all, in tears. Alison and Tony's voices merged as pretty as I've ever heard that tune, before or since, and I know it would have made Dolly cry too. Vassar did the finest fiddle work I've heard anywhere, and he always seemed so laid-back and casual when he flat tore it UP.
If there's a heaven, he's showin' Bob Wills some new licks. :)>
Just my $0.02, fwiw.

Vassar's the best. Too bad there's not more recordings of him (and that he played that terrible sounding electric). Incredible technique. So many thirds, in 2nd, 4th etc positions

If Vassar Clements is only #24, this list is worthless. I consider him the greatest pop instrumentalist - yes, ANY INSTRUMENT - of the 20th century.

As was already stated he should be #1 or at least at very top of list, not # 24. This is past ridiculous!

25 Alison Kraus

Not only does Alison sing like an angel...but she is the "fiddle" player on all of her recordings and live performances! She's amazing!

She has a voice like a angel..

Love her voice!

The very best.

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