The fiddle reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!
217 reviews in the archive.
Where Purchased: http://www.seventhstring.com/
I've been using Transcribe! for almost two years to slow down recordings for practice and I've found it to be a visually-pleasing, easy-to-use tool.
For me, the most useful features have been
Pre-set slow-down buttons--35%, 50%, and 75%
Ability to quickly jump through a recording by clicking the mouse
Ability to highlight phrases to loop
Option to export slower recordings
Option to adjust pitch
Software screen shots on the Seventh String site: http://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/screenshots.html
Recently I changed computers and needed some help from their customer service people to get the software working on the new machine. I received prompt, helpful replies by email and a gracious solution to my problem.
I'm very pleased with the software and happy with the related customer support.
Overall Rating: 10
Where Purchased: http://www.fiddlebooks.com/
I've been looking for a efficient and effective way to practice scales and arpeggios. I think, for me, this book and the accompanying CD might be it.
There are many things I like about it:
1) Each exercise has a recorded track which can be adjusted for speed or looped if it's played with a program like BestPractice.
2) There are suggested bowing patterns for many of the exercises.
3) The exercises are varied, e.g., an arpeggio in jig time, a scale "played in hornpipe fashion."
3) The exercises were chosen to help fiddlers develop an ear for the elements that make up fiddle tunes.
4) The exercises focus on fiddle keys (G, D, A, C, F, Bb).
5) The book advances into minor, 7th, and diminished arpeggios and scales and arpeggios over chord changes.
In the past, I've had to think up which scales to practice and decide how I was going to do it, sometimes recording a play-along track on our digital piano to keep me in tune, and that's been a time-consuming stumbling block. I've also tried playing along with the program "Fiddle Scales" (which I like, by the way) but the artificial sound gets old.
I've only had Mr. Stobbe's book and CD three short days, but I think it's a keeper. I'm finding that the challenge of playing a variety of exercises along with the recording and staying in tune is valuable and because it's enjoyable, the time goes very fast.
Overall Rating: 10
'The Timber Within' 1 day
'Mixed genre problems..' 2 days