I've been playing for a bit under 3 years. Playing the fiddle has been one of the best journeys of my life...also one of the most frustrating, at least in the beginning. Man, you got to want it bad! I play/practice at least one hour each day and have since the beginning. I also took some suzuki lessons in the beginning and more recently have been studying old time with a few WV locals. My interest has always been old time. I know you said he can't afford lessons but he can't afford not too really. If he just went even once for 30 minutes (it cost me here in WV 12$) he could learn soooo much!
If he really really can't squeeze a lesson or two...find a fiddler somewhere and pick their brain and watch them play...you can learn so much by watching and listening.
Best of luck... the satisfaction of playing the fiddle is well worth the effort.