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Should finger positions vary by string?
a question about finger positions
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Briant
West Virginia
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December 7, 2013 - 10:33 pm
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Hi, I recently picked up a violin and started learning.  Most all the information I've needed so far, as well as the questions that have arose have been answered by the fiddleman's videos and such.  There are two questions I can't figure out though.  

 

The first is if I place my finger on the D or A string, about 5th position, it becomes almost impossible to bow that string without hitting the adjacent strings.  The string is placed almost or lower than the strings on either side, making it harder to bow only that string.  Is this normal, or a bridge curvature issue?

 

The second question, is a bit difficult for me to express, but I will try.  Should the finger positions vary by string?  Using a tape method across the board to learn the positions isn't working, because each string is a bit different.  For example, if I press on the D string at the 4th position, in line with where the 4th position is on my G string, It plays the A note, rather than the G note.  This gets progressively more out of alignment with each string.  In other words, those pre-made no fret type stickers would have to be placed diagonally on my fret board, rather than straight across.  Is this something I'm doing wrong, or is this some other issue?  My bridge is straight, if that would come up.  

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 7, 2013 - 10:40 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

When you play up on the A or D you should still be able to play on only that string. There might be an issue with the curvature on your bridge. If you take a picture we can give our opinion.
The positions should coincide across the strings. Maybe the open strings on your instrument are not 100% in tune. Your fingertips are round though and placing one finger over two strings is seldom perfect. You need to use the curve to your advantage when you are advanced to tune the fifths.

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

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Briant
West Virginia
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December 7, 2013 - 10:59 pm
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Thanks a lot.  When the wife gets home I'll try and post a picture (she has the camera).  

I'm fairly sure they should all be in tune, I'm usedto strings instruments, but i'll check it with another tuner to be sure.

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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December 7, 2013 - 11:21 pm
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If I am reading your post correctly, when you put your finger on the D string at the forth position you play an A and not a G. This is how it shold be and if you put your finger at the forth position on the G string you will play a D. Forth position on the A will be an E.

As for the other problem, it sounds like a very high bridge.

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Briant
West Virginia
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December 7, 2013 - 11:43 pm
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I misspoke.  I meant the third position.  I just figured out the tuning problem, and it's embarrassing.    When I set my violin in the case, the A string peg was hitting just right on the bottom of the case and re-tuning the A string to a perfect G.....  I must have ignored the G and focused on keeping it right on the center on my tuning screen and just not noticed the wrong letter.  That's why the D string appeared out of sync.  All the tuning problems sorted themselves out now, obviously lol!  

I play by ear/color (I have synesthesia) and forget to check notes sometimes.  I'm working on learning to play by notes now, but the synesthesia and the dyslexia the synesthesia causes makes it hard to do so, as well as playing by ear so I can't hlep but cheat :) .   Anyway, thanks for the help.  

 

The bridge still might need adjusted in curvature or height though, as that doesn't fix the other issue.

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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December 8, 2013 - 12:45 am
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@Briant: There could be a couple issue's with not being able to play one string without hitting the adjacent string's.

1) Yes it could be there's not enough curve in your bridge, it could be too flat, which is fine for playing double stops.

2) It's possible you are playing too close to the fingerboard, the closer you are to the finger board there is less curve / arch in the string's and that will make the everything flat. Try playing closer to the bridge, that is if your bridge is cut right. Could also be just a case of being new to the instrument and that you don't have good bow control...YET,, but you'll get there.

 

Good luck.

Ken.

This has happened to me also

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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December 8, 2013 - 3:26 am
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Hi Brian

All good advise above :)

How long have you been learning?

You bring back the memories. When you start out that darn bow has a mind of its own. I've been at it for some 20 months now and still 'clip' adjacent strings often.

It's just a matter of practice, practice, and more practice.violin-student

It all starts to come together bit by bit

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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RosinedUp
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December 8, 2013 - 4:06 am
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If the problem only shows up when you press a string, then, as Kevin indicated, your bridge is probably too high---the strings are too high above the fingerboard.  Definitely you need to check your bridge.  Strings that are too close together or a bridge that is too flat can also cause the problem though.  You can adjust your bridge using simple tools such as a ruler, a pencil, and sandpaper.

Here are recommended approximate distances from the top of the fingerboard to the bottoms of the strings, at the end of the fingerboard:  G:4 to 4.5 mm; D:3.5 to 4.0 mm; A:3 to 3.5 mm; E:2.5 to 3 mm.  Synthetic strings need a half mm more room than steel strings.

The top edge of the bridge should be part of a circle of radius 42 mm.

The distance between the G and E strings should be about 34 mm.

If your fingerboard isn't shaped right (not the correct scoop), bringing the bridge and strings into spec could cause a problem of the fingerboard interfering with the strings' vibrations.

-------------------------------------------

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....ngerboards

web search for "Average Measurements of the Violin in millimeters"

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 8, 2013 - 10:02 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

Yes, excellent point by Fiddlestix :-)
Draw the bow closer to the bridge to see if that helps, however if you play way too close you can get a ponticello sound. You can overcome this with more pressure and slower bowing. Try finding the sweet spot. :-)

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

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Briant
West Virginia
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December 8, 2013 - 7:14 pm
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Sorry for the delayed response, I'm still flooded with finishing my research before the semester is over this week.  I'm very grateful for all the responses I've received.  Thank you all.  

Ferret, I've been learning the violin/fiddle for about a week now.  I've been learning to play music since I was 12.  I just always plateaued with my instruments early on because I didn't understand music theory, since I have always played by ear.  I'm working to fix that now though :)

 

As for the problem with the D string, I believe the bridge needs adjusted.  The strings aren't too far from the fret board according to my research, and the measurements kindly provided by user RosinedUp.  I believe the bridge now to be the culprit, as the curvature on the G and D string side is less pronounced than on the other side.  

Some of it might be skill, but I can bow the A string well under the same conditions, and a close inspection shows that when I play the D string at the third position, and place the bow on the strings in the sweet spot, I have only a little over a millimeter on either side before the bow will touch an adjacent string.  If nothing else, perhaps this will allow me to work on my bowing precision until I can have this fixed in a few days :)

 

I appreciate all the help on here, and thanks to you, fiddleman, for making this site and all those videos.  I'm looking forward to learning and chatting with you all.  🙂

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