Playing Bill Cheatum without a capo will require some 3 fret stretches and nimble shifting. Make sure to try and use a fret per finger in many situations. Use that pinky! There are a couple four fret stretches in the licks as well. For the crosspicking in measures 2 and four, use a partial bar to grab the A chord notes on the second fret. That will free up your other fingers and help to get a really smooth sound. All this challenge is definitely worth the effort. You can get some really amazing sounds and licks when playing this tune open.Learn
Bill Cheatum without a capo...On the bass strings! It opens up a lot of new options and ideas. Most of it will be played in 1st position. 1st finger sticks around the 1st fret, 2nd finger 2nd fret etc. There may be sometimes when playin0g in 2nd position will be needed. Playin 2nd position at the start of the B section(measure 6). Shift back to first when playing the open B string that happens in the middle of that measure. Any time you need to shift positions, keep an eye out for those open string notes. Moving your hand while playing an open string will give you the split second you need to get your fingers in the right spot.Learn
More about Bill Cheatum
Bill Cheatum is known under many names, some include "Cheatum," "Cheat 'Em," "Old Bill Cheatum." This fiddle tune is common throughout the southern part of the country, which is where it found its origin. The name “Old Bill Cheatum”, was first heard in the Ozarks mountains and was compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph. It was published in 1954 by Randolph. The earliest recording of the tune was done by Texas fiddler Eck Robertson in 1922 and it was part of his “Brilliancy Medley”. Other versions includes “Cheat Em” by the Allen brothers and "Fiddlin' Arthur Smith" from Tennessee did his own rendition in 1940. “Bill Cheatum” has no doubt experienced a long bout of popularity and bluegrass and old-time music and is a staple at fiddler's conventions and jam sessions.