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: Gift
This tuner was given to me as a gift recently. I really needed one for my fiddle case and this one fits the bill well.
It is a digital instrument but displays the image of a needle that sweeps like an analog instrument would – from a scale that has a -50 to 0 to +50 range, plus it uses red and green LEDs to display sharp (red) and flat (red) and spot on (green).
It comes with a clamp on sensor with about a 30” cord that can be plugged in to the tuner. Or you can use the built in mic. Or it can be used with a tone generator for tuning to an audible signal.
The tone generator is also used with the metronome and has a volume control. Or it can be set to pulse/vibrate on beat. So you can have it in your pocket and “fell” the beat. It has 9 preset rhythms to chose from with a tempo adjustment from 30 to 250 bpm.
Pitch set point can be flattened a half step or whole step and still have an adjustment range between 410 and 450 hz.
A peculiar feature that I find a bit curious is that they include the ability for this to be set to vibrate continuously. They suggest that it could be use by a singer to relax their facial muscles or a musician can use it to relax their “fingers”.
OK. I don’t see me using that feature… nevertherless.
It is about the size of an iPhone, uses 3 – AAA batteries. It shuts off after no input for 2 minutes. It has a blet clip that folds out and doubles as leg to stand the tuner up.
Mine is similar to the one shown, but with a different display screen.
I don’t know where my friend bought it or how much it cost. A Google search doesn’t turn up an American distributor. But I’m certain they didn’t order it from China.
I’m offering this review because – I really like this tuner. I would look for another if it were lost.
Overall Rating: 9
Where Purchased: eBay Store
Year Purchased: 2009
Price Paid: 433 ($US)
Please understand - I am new to fiddles, so – for what its worth - I am very please with my purchase. I perform with a guitar and sing in 2 bands (both have had fiddles through the years) and as a solo artist. So, I've heard a lot of fiddles played.
But this is a new instrument and it is my first fiddle – and I’m just starting to really try and learn the instrument. So, I personally don't have anything to compare it to. But to my uneducated ears the tone is as good as any fiddle I've heard played, it doesn’t seem to be quiet as loud as others - but that may be me. Then again – it took about 2 years for my Martin D-18 Authentic to “wake up and sing” – and she’s still getting better.
This fiddle has a very rich and deep tone and still has clean highs that are not shrill - not cheap sounding at all. You can feel the instrument vibrate when you play.
Sound Rating: 9
I was concerned about the set up and took it immediately to Jon Osnes to have him give it the once over and fix whatever was needed to be done. He commented that the bridge appeared to be good quality maple and was cut about as well as it could be cut, and did not need to be modified. The action is excellent. He change the strings to Helicores and replaced the tailpiece with a Wittner tailpiece with fine tuners. The sound post was in the correct position and didn't need to be moved. The pegs only needed a slight dressing to operate a little smooter, but the fit was good.
Setup Rating: 9
It has a beautiful hand rubbed dark stained varnish finish, definitely not sprayed. No high gloss here, and not flat. Rich satin finish. There are a few places where a picky shopper could point to as "flaws" but IMO they are not. To me, they lend themselves as evidence to the fact that this is a handmade instrument. None of the mentioned will ever affect the quality of sound - and is not in places where parts are fitted together to suggest a possible future problem or faillure.
This particular fiddle is (according to all that I have read and received) a handmade violin made with 200 yr old spruce top with beautiful curly maple sides and back that has been seasoned for over 12 years.
Inside is fully lined with 4 corner blocks - no glue squeeze out. Clean.
Appearance Rating: 9
The pegs are carved with accent rings and button crown at the tip. One of the rings was not fitted tight end to stay in place without a spot of glue. I had Jon take care of this for me while he had it on the bench. He said the other 3 did not need anything.
Nothing looks or feels cheap about it.
I hope to have the opportunity to "gig" with it one day!
Reliability Rating: 9
I did upgrade the case after the prucahse and had to correspond with them a few times by email. Each inquiry was promptly answered and very friendly. I don't expect any issues, but I do have confidence if there are any - these folks will take care of me. They have an eBay rating of 100% with almost 12,000 transactions! They must be doing something right.
Customer Service: 10
The fiddle came with a bow, rosin, and very light weight case. Jon had no compliants about the bow, but suggested - since this was a new bow - to get a rosin that he knew would be a good quality rosin to use. The case seems to be as good as any - and very light, with plenty of room for storage. And - as I said - John did replace the strings. Did they need to be replaced? If you want to get the best tone, you get strings you know will give you the best chance of getting the most tone out of the instrument.
The violin came with a signed certificate from the maker / builder that records all details of the individual instrument build, including all dimensions and pictorial record (Front, back, sides, etc)
One comment that Jon made - while looking directly at me with a grin - that really made me feel good about my purchase - "This violin is worth a lot more than what you paid for it."
I never told him what I paid for it. But he knows it was made in China and I that I bought it on eBay. FWIW
Components Rating: 9
As I said earlier - I do perform with other instruments. And I also fancy myself as a beginner luthier (hobby). So I am familiar with what goes into making a quality instrument and the difference between the tone of a poorly made instrument and a good one.
Having said that - I'm not at a playing level to perform with the fiddle, but I will not be ashamed to pull this out to play in any situation. This will probably be the fiddle I play for a long time. I purpose to write an update to this review in the future, just to see if my opinion changes any with experience.
I'll say again, this is a beautiful sounding and good looking instrument. I can't believe the price I paid. I'm very fortunate and very, very pleased (today).
For my first fiddle - I don't think I could have done better. If something happened and I lost the fiddle - I would replace it with another in a heart beat.
Overall Rating: 10
'Cleaning a fingerboard' 3 days
'Can I mix string types?' 4 days
'Gold Rush' 4 days