I want to learn
how to play the fiddle, but find I have very little time
to both learn to read music and play. You say I don't need
to know how to read music with your book. What alternate
method do you use?
The book is written in tablature which means that it
tells you which finger to put on a specific string. For
example, A with a 1 written below it would tell you to put
your first finger on the A string and play a note. The
accompanying CD includes all of the songs, giving you the
rhythm of each song. There are diagrams and
explanations in the first pages of the book that show you
how to hold the fiddle and bow, how to tune the fiddle,
how to care for the fiddle, and how to read the tablature.
There are samples of the tablature, standard music
notation, and CD on the product pages of the website.
I'm looking for a book of hymns for beginning violin
students. Do you know if Gospel Favorites would be
appropriate? These students are 3rd and 4th graders, and
this is their first year, but most are doing quite well
and progress better than expected.
All songs in this book are written in first position in
the easiest key possible. They contain only the melody of
the song, no embellishments or chords (double stops). The
songs are written in tablature and standard music
notation. This book would be ideal for third and fourth graders.
Hi, I play classical violin but have always wanted to
learn how to play old time fiddle tunes. Would this be the
book and CD for me?
This book and
CD would work very well for you.
Because you play the violin, you most likely read music
and could use the back portion of the book which has
standard music notation for each song. The CD would help
you with the rhythm and getting the "fiddling"
feel for each song.
I am still trying to figure out the right amount of
rosin. Some times I leave a solid white coating on the
strings after playing a half hour or so. A few times I
could taste and smell the rosin after playing. Sometimes I
leave very little. But I cannot find any consistency of
sound to tell me when I am putting the right amount on.
Part of my problem is I still have a little trouble
keeping the bow action always straight across the strings
and not sliding up and down while bowing, producing
unclean, hissing sounds. I also sometimes have a little
bounce of the bow on the strings whether the bow strings
are loose as per your book or tight to varying degrees.
This may just be me because sometimes it sounds just
Practice in front of a mirror keeping your bow parallel
to your fiddle’s bridge. Stand with your right hip
toward the mirror to view the bow and bridge clearly.
After every 2-3 hours of playing, rosin your bow. The rosining
process should take less than 15 seconds. A dark rosin is
softer and grips the strings better than a light rosin. The most popular rosin is Hill
dark. Try playing with a looser bow and lean into your
index finger more to avoid bouncing. There should be no
pressure with the pinky as this lifts the bow off the
strings and causes a bounce.
Are all the tunes played on the
CD and at what speed?
All songs are played on the CD. They are played slowly
enough that you can hear each note, but not so slowly that
you cannot hear the tune or rhythm of the song. There are
computer programs which will speed up or slow down CD’s
which you could try if the songs are not at the right
speed for you.
What level would you say the Gospel and Christmas books
are? Are they for easy, intermediate, or difficult violin?
If it is possible can you email me one page as a sample so
I can see if the difficulty level is what I am looking
The Gospel and Christmas books have only the melody of
the songs. These are fairly simple arrangements. There are
no double stops or variations. They are written in the
keys that would have the easiest finger positions for the
songs. Some songs are easy and some are medium difficulty.
On the individual product pages of the website, you can
see pages of tablature and standard notation and
hear a sample track from the CD.
Reference page 18 and page 33 in Book One. What are the
measurements for finger placement on the finger board?
What are the white strips in the photos?
Each fiddle is different, so the measurements shown
below are approximations. If you need strips of tape put
on your fiddle and you cannot hear where each finger should
be, a music shop should be able to do it for you. The
finger positions of 0, 1, 2, and 3 are the first four
notes of a major scale (do re mi fa). The photo on page 8
of Book One shows that on a full size fiddle, the first
finger (1) is approximately 1.25 inches from the nut (nut
is shown on page 3). The second finger (2) is
approximately 1 inch from the first finger. Third finger
(3) is a finger's width above the second finger. The
second and third fingers should be touching. The photo on
page 18 of Book One shows that low 2 should be touching
your first finger. The photo on page 33 of Book One shows
that the fourth finger is slightly less than 1 inch past
the third finger. The "strips" you see in the
diagrams are illustrations showing approximately where to
place each finger. The strips are not actually on my
The book does not explain how to play the chords on the
guitar or piano.
The chords are included so that a guitarist or pianist
can accompany you. Anyone who plays guitar or piano should
know what the chords mean.
Do you have simple piano music to accompany these
We do not have simple piano music to accompany these
pieces. The chords at the bottom of the page of each song
can be played on the piano. For example: CCFG can be
(Left hand lh) bass note C, (right hand rh) CEG
together, (lh) bass note C, (rh) CEG together, (lh) bass
note F, (rh) FAC together, (lh) bass note G, (rh) GBD
I showed the chords in root position, but I would play
some of them in inversions. The CD is split-track so you
can turn the channel with the piano in it up and the
channel with the fiddle down, which would allow you to
hear how the chords sound on the piano.
I was wondering if you had the piano chords written out.
My niece wants to play along with me on the piano but
doesn't have the skill to just play the chords.
I do not have the piano chords written out. I can
explain what the chords mean and maybe that would help
your niece. If the song is in 4/4 time, for each letter
name, you play a bass note (in octaves, if you want) with
your left hand on the first count and the chord with your
right hand on the second count. For example, C would be
played C (left hand) then CEG (in root position or an
inversion) with the right hand. In 3/4 time, you would
play bass note, chord, chord (all 3 counts in the measure)
for each letter you see.
Would you please explain "Apples" and
"Bananas" on pages 10 and 11 in Book One?
The "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" melody is
divided into two smaller sections which makes it easier
for young children to learn. The two sections correspond
with the lyrics as follows:
Apples: Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what
Bananas: Up above the world so high
Bananas: Like a diamond in the sky
Apples: Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what
The melody is the same for both apples parts and both
I used the CD to try to tune the G string and could not
get even close (still way to deep). When I got it within
about 3/4 of the way to what the CD played, the string
broke. What did I do wrong? This is a 4/4 violin. I am a
VERY new owner/learner.
Make sure that you are tuning the correct string with
the correct track on the CD. When you are tuning the
fiddle, you start with the middle strings, then tune the
outer strings. The CD plays the strings in that order:
middle strings A & D, then outer strings G & E. Do
not tune the strings higher in pitch
than they are supposed to be. If it is not the problem, make sure that the correct strings
are in the correct place on the fiddle. The G string
should be the largest in diameter and the E string should
be the smallest. 4/4 violin means that it is a full size
Do you have any information/booklets, on how to
properly tune a violin within your auction items? I have
already broken one string (being a little heavy handed).
There is a page in each
book that shows you how to tune your
fiddle. The most important thing is to start below the
pitch of the string and slowly bring the string into tune.
Make sure you don't go above the proper pitch. The string
will become too tight and break. Also, start with the
middle strings. Tune the outside strings last.
How do you play backup fiddle?
Listen to the radio and recordings as much as possible.
Try to imitate what you hear whether it be a fiddle,
guitar or mandolin. Additionally, at a minimum learn your
1,4 and 5 chords in first position in the keys of g, a, b
flat, c, d, e and f. Knowing the major scale in these keys
is a must. After a while, venture into 2nd and 3rd
positions. Playing backup fiddle is not only intuitive,
but premeditated in the sense you are acutely aware of the
chord progression and your melodic options.
I bought a very inexpensive fiddle, does the sound
improve with a more expensive one or is it for looks? I am
learning by myself and your cd for gospel was very good,
that is why i purchased the other ones, but with a injured
neck I cannot hold the fiddle the way I am supposed to,
but I can do fairly well with the time I have spent in
almost two months of playing, is there any items available
for someone who has a weak neck, I do have the shoulder
rest, but it is still very difficult for me to hold fiddle
without a lot of pain. Any suggestions would be
The sound does not improve necessarily by spending more
money on an instrument. In general, more money means a
higher grade wood, better graduations/specs., and a brand
or name that will retain it's value when re-sold.
Sometimes, but not always, an inexpensive fiddle may not
be set up properly and therefore be difficult to play. A
nice outfit normally costs at least $300. You can spend
thousands of dollars on an instrument, but it is not
necessary. I have played hundreds of fiddles in the $500
to $1800 price range that are incredible.
In terms of the pain...... 1. Listen to your body. If
you are hurting, you should rest. 2. I would experiment
with different shoulder rests and chinrests until you find
a winning combination. 3. Most importantly, relax, relax,