StoneDog is now in possession of the TRAVELING FIDDLE in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. :-)
I'm working on finding the right amount of finger pressure. I think that I've been clamping down too much, putting on the same amount of pressure that I'm used to on the guitar. In fact, a clue might be that my fingertip callouses, which I already had from guitar playing, have thickened a lot. Here's evidence:
Last night I tried to lighten up and the sound quality improved. Tonight, not so much but I think that I may have been over compensating.
Any tips for finding the right amount of finger pressure?
Diane, I've been working on that too for the past month. I think it's just a matter of playing a few songs each practice while paying close attention to being "light-fingered" (yeah, not suggesting you start shopping lifting Diane, lmao).
It amazes me just how light the touch can be and still produce a clear note. But I've found that if I apply as little pressure as possible while still producing a good sound, then gradually my touch on everything I play has lightened (yeah, not like in my hair color…..).
A lighter touch definitely allows you quicker dexterity too. Over the past couple of years my hands have become so delicate that just gripping unruly strands of my pasta gives me callouses!
I don't presume to know for sure, but since I've been working on this as well, I'll just chime in.
If you start with just barely touching the string and slowly increase pressure as you bow, when you first get a note it will sound slightly muffled. At some point as you increase pressure, you will hear the note start to go just a little sharp as your fingerpad flattens and is pretty much mashing the string.
I try for between those two, but closer to risking it sounding a little muffled or soft. If you keep it on the light side, is is easier to slide notes and etc, and your fingers don't get tired near as easy.
Most people use a lot more pressure than they need to on guitar as well, btw. I have to keep reminding myself to relax my hands when I play. As one of my few guitar teachers used to keep saying, "Tense fingers are slow fingers.."
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." -- Pablo Picasso
Everything you guys said is correct but I do want to add that more pressure should not make the sound worse. In fact, if I press super hard I can make a fingered string sound like an open string. I can make the note resonate long after lifting the bow or plucking it.
That being said, do exactly what you guys are saying. Use just enough pressure to get a good sound and no more.
Great Topic. I used to have marks after practice..now I have just a nice firm skin on my fingertips but no callouses…I am actually proud of them. I still think I could lighten up a bit… my teacher says it can be like tapping fingers on the table…. so I am going to try that…
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