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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!

213 reviews in the archive.

Tom MacKenzie and Katie Trautz Side By Side: Old Time Tunes for Fiddle and Banjo Review

View all reviews for Tom MacKenzie and Katie Trautz

Submitted by Mojohand40 (see all reviews from this person) on 8/9/2016

Where Purchased: Banjo Hangout

Overall Comments

First: Side By Side is available directly from the authors and can by found here on the Hangouts Classified section. 

This is a great presentation of  a collection of Old Time Tunes.  If you play clawhammer and fiddle at an intermediate level, you will really enjoy this book. It is layed out very well, spiral bound to lay flat; with standard notation for fiddle on left side and tab for clawhammer banjo on the right side.

One of the things that makes this collection such a good deal is the really top notch playing on the two CDs that accompany the book.  The second CD contains all the tunes played up to speed and at a more performance level, with both instruments played together.  This alone is worth the price, as it is a really enjoyable listen on it's own.  The first CD contains both a fiddle and a separate banjo track for each tune, played slowly and clearly, as written. Each track also has a click track to start it for play along or timing.  A click track/count off for each tune seems like a no-brainer...but most tune collection book/CD's just don't get this simple concept.

The clawhammer tab is large and easy to read, and is as played. It is also some really good versions of the tunes played. Not dumbed down beginner versions, and not weirdly ornamented versions that no one plays, but solidly played tunes that with diligence are approachable for the intermediate clawhammer player.   The second CD which is played up to speed really shows how to use the tunes as learned in context with a little drive and slight variation here and there.

The Fiddle notation lacks a lot of double stops and doesn't indicate bowing, but does match the slowed down recording very well.  With careful listening and using the notation as a guide, the tunes are totally approachable.   The fiddle playing is really top notch in every way.  Everything is played clearly and deliberately, and like the banjo versions, these are really good versions of these tunes.

Even if you don't play clawhammer, having the clawhammer slow track to play your fiddle against is a great tool for understanding the material, as is of course; having the up to speed CD to play along with.

I really recommend this book.  I wrote this review because I think it goes under the radar on the hangout forums.  I showed this book to a few folks in my local jam group, and they are clamoring to get copies themselves. One of the banjo players is allready learning one of the tunes (Lost Girl) as written in the book while I'm learning the fiddle part for our next jam.





Overall Rating: 9

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