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Fourth Finger on the G-String
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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iDrayne
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September 10, 2015 - 7:34 pm
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Hi guys!

So i have this issue since a long long time now, and i didnt practice using my fourth finger until now because im afraid im doing something wrong (only on the G-String).

On all other Strings, the Fourth finger is curved (only if i bring my arm a little more up, but that doesnt hurt), but on my G-String, it seems that im not able to reach for example the note D with my fourth finger. If i do, it really hurts and i need a lot of effort just to put my fourth finger on the G-String.

What am i doing wrong? What can i do to use my fourth Finger without any harms and pain?

 

Thanks for the help! 🙂

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Jim Dunleavy
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September 11, 2015 - 4:19 am
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I'm sure more knowledgeable people will chime in soon, but in the meantime it's worth checking your left arm position, as this makes a big difference to your finger reach.

Make sure your left elbow is well underneath the violin, and not off to the side. Fiddlerman has a video somewhere about it.....can't find the one I'm thinking of though.

Also the position of your left thumb is important for reach, check out some instruction videos to make sure that's right.

Good luck!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 11, 2015 - 6:00 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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As Jim said, if you can bring your left elbow under the instrument more you will bring your fingers closer. This is especially necessary when the reach is tough such as when playing on the G string.
If anything hurts, avoid it and find a more comfortable hold. If bringing your elbow more to the right (assuming you play the traditional way) hurts, have a look at where on your body and jaw you are making contact with the instrument and consider your equipment.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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BillyG
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September 11, 2015 - 8:27 am
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I still love this short clip - the music's not much to write-home-about - just messing with a pentatonic scale - but I struggled in the early days to get the pinkie to reach - so I videoed it from behind the bridge - and yes - well for me anyway - it was all about the position of the left arm and once I got used to swinging the elbow in towards my body it became a lot easier

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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iDrayne
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September 11, 2015 - 3:26 pm
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I did what you guys recommended me. I rotated my hand a little more and brang my ellbow more under my violin. It worked, but this kinda feels "not good", i guess maybe its because i didnt practice this hold. It pains a little bit, but when i began playing the violin, some positions hurt aswell. Today they do not hurt anymore, like when i play on the D-String.

The G-String always was my difficult String, besides E-String being on the second place.

Is it true that a little pain is normal, and that pain will end once the body has habituated that position? I mean, it's not normal for the arm to stretch like that, i heard that a little pain is normal in the beginnings.

I really think that my equipment is okay, the only thing i noticed is that my electric violin is lower at the tailpiece (i mean the heighth). I also noticed that my violin slides away from my neck when i play longer pieces, i dont know why. Maybe thats why i have issues reaching the G-String... Or it could be my Shoulder-Rest. Maybe i should post some Pictures on how it looks like. Guess that would help you guys on helping me. 😛

 

Thanks for the help everyone! Of course i appreciate more answers, maybe I can fix this issue completly. =)

@Edit: Here are some pictures! It would so great If you guys could tell me if my arm-position is okay. Maybe you can see what im doing wrong. I also put pictures of my Shoulder-rest.

01-1.png IMG_0017-1.jpg

IMG_0020-1.jpgIMG_0022-1.jpg

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 13, 2015 - 10:40 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Doesn't look bad at all. Important that it feels good though.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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pky
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September 13, 2015 - 11:24 pm
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I am famous for my short pinky on fiddlerman.com so I'd like to chime in a little.

Like Jim and FM said, you need to bring your elbow a little more over but there's other thing you could do. From your third photo where you show your pinky on G string as well as your thumb - I see in this photo that your thumb is "hooking" tightly on the side of the neck of your violin. As I have short finger, my teacher taught me to compensate with sliding my thumb more to underneath the neck while I try to reach the note D with my pinky on G string or even A on D string. You may want to relax your thumb and try the same thing to see if it helps. Same techniques could be used for shifting to high notes as well.

Yes, it is a disadvantage for adult learners because the muscles that we don't use when we were kids, they lost their flexibility, so there's more discomfort when we try to use them again; however, when you try to reach it should not hurt. Mine hurt only when I practice in that posture for over 30 minutes.

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damfino
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September 13, 2015 - 11:57 pm
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@pky Ok, I gotta ask, how short is your fourth finger? I'm also fourth finger challenged, it's shy of 2". My teacher has been trying to teach me some viola player tricks to make it work for me, but I think I've finally got it worked out between how close I keep my elbow tucked in to my side, as well as how I have my arm swung to reach the string. I've been hitting the notes pretty consistently lately on all the strings, but I've been following this thread to see if I pick up any other tricks to try, lol.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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pky
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September 14, 2015 - 12:10 am
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damfino said
@pky Ok, I gotta ask, how short is your fourth finger? I'm also fourth finger challenged, it's shy of 2". My teacher has been trying to teach me some viola player tricks to make it work for me, but I think I've finally got it worked out between how close I keep my elbow tucked in to my side, as well as how I have my arm swung to reach the string. I've been hitting the notes pretty consistently lately on all the strings, but I've been following this thread to see if I pick up any other tricks to try, lol.

I had a thread about my fingers' length here LOL (there were typos on the post title but I was not able to change it). My pinky is 1.69 inches long or 4.3 cm at stretch LOL. For those who don't have short finger syndromes, they don't really understand what that means when I try to play on G strings, with my pinky, and when I do shifting. Sigh! I am still pulling my fingers occasionally and hope they will grow a tiny bit longer by doing so.

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Kim D
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September 15, 2015 - 1:00 pm
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Hello All,

I'm new to the forum and to playing the violin.  I just picked up my violin yesterday from Fiddlermanshop.  My first practice was learning to place my fingers on the G string.  I agree with you @pky about losing flexibility.  I was hurting after practicing for an hour because keeping the elbow under the violin is not a natural-feeling position for me.  My other struggle was keeping my fingers isolated only to the G string.  I found that I was touching the D string as I was holding all 4 fingers down on the G string.  I'm sure that I will improve with many more hours of practice.

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damfino
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September 15, 2015 - 3:44 pm
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Welcome to the forum, @Kim D  🙂 

 
My arm and hand was achy my first few weeks of playing, and especially when I started using my fourth finger more, but now I think everything has loosened up, and I feel ok, and can use my fourth finger all I want. It does get easier 🙂

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Kim D
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September 15, 2015 - 3:48 pm
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Thank you @damfino.  Good to know.  The tips of my fingers are even sore, yet I can't wait to practice later tonight.  violin-student

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damfino
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September 15, 2015 - 3:52 pm
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Lol, I'm the same way 🙂 My finger tips are getting past the soreness (I haven't been playing long, just going on 2 months) but it doesn't matter if I feel sore or not, I love to get home from work to start playing my violin.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Fiddlerman
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September 16, 2015 - 9:45 pm
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I met Kim D and her husband at Fiddlershop and I must say, I have yet to meet someone so eager to get started and who seemed instantly connected with the instrument without a single lesson. 🙂 She just dove right in. Her husband was right there with her. I think he'll be next.
I look forward to following your progress Kim 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Kim D
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September 17, 2015 - 7:43 am
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Hey FM, I was very eager to hold a violin.  I've been watching your videos for many weeks and learning my notes.  The only thing left was to hold a real violin vs my air violin.laugh I really appreciate you and Michael taking the time to find the darker-toned violin.  I've been practicing everyday since we picked up the violin on Monday. violin-student

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damfino
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September 17, 2015 - 8:37 am
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@Kim D It is addictive, isn't it? 🙂 

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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mischa91
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September 17, 2015 - 1:06 pm
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I too have tiny hands, my pinky is just under 2" and i've broken both of them so now they're both bent oddly.  My teacher makes me do vibrato practice on the G string with my fourth finger and it's so hard!  I have to really rotate my elbow under the violin and concentrate on not gripping with my thumb. 

 

To the OP, try to relax your grip a little more, try not to bend your thumb, it'll cause tension and pain in your hand, forearm and eventually shoulder if your thumb is tense and gripping.  try not to over do it either, short practices to build up your flexibility and range of motion so you don't end up hurting yourself and having to take time off.

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Kim D
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September 17, 2015 - 1:15 pm
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@damfino Yes, it is addicting.  I saw your Twinkle videos and took a break from learning the notes on  the G string to trying Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I was getting a little frustrated with the G string.  @mischa91 makes a good point about not over doing the practices.  I limit myself to an hour. I'm hoping that I will build up flexibility. 

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damfino
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September 17, 2015 - 1:15 pm
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@mischa91 My teacher said when she needs to do vibrato with her fourth finger, she slides her third finger up right next to it to have enough strength to do it. She knows that's not the technically correct thing to do, but it's what works for her, and she said sometimes you have to break the rules, lol. She has a short fourth finger, so she keeps throwing tips at me each class to keep in mind, even though I'm nowhere near learning vibrato yet.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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damfino
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September 17, 2015 - 1:20 pm
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@Kim D I find I learn best by playing songs vs scales. Scales warm up my hands for playing, but the songs really help me learn the most. The past couple weeks especially I have noticed my arm and hand have gained some flexibility and it doesn't feel weird to twist my arm around and up to reach the G string so much anymore. Everything my teacher has been teaching me has mainly been on the D string, and I think that has helped. The E string is the awkward one for me, lol.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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