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Stumped and screeching...
Mysterious screechiness!
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rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
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February 13, 2014 - 7:43 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
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I'm hoping you all can help me solve a mystery.  I have watched myself in a mirror for weeks now, and I can't figure out why my notes are occasionally screechy.  All open strings have great tone, but as soon as I press down a note, particularly on the A and E strings, they're just painful.  The first few times it happened, I thought maybe I was just tired and my posture was failing, but it's still going, and I'm pretty frustrated.

-I've checked to make sure my bow isn't "over rosin-ed," and even played until the sound almost disappeared just to make sure.  Conversely, I'd made sure there's sufficient rosin as well.

-I've check my bow/arm position, and my fingerhold, and at least as far as I can tell, everything seems to be in order.

-I made sure I'm applying enough pressure to the strings so I'm not getting that halfway-down screechiness.

-I checked my posture and made sure I'm not unconsciously looking down, allowing the bow to slide sideways.

 

Is there anything else I'm missing?  Could wrist/hand tension cause this while bowing?  I'm darn well out of ideas, and I don't currently have an instructor to ask (she retired).  The violin sounds just fine on all the open strings, and I've made sure I'm bowing precisely the same way when I press a note, but they're still screeching.  Anyone have any ideas?

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Shell
Montreal
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February 14, 2014 - 5:48 am
Member Since: December 27, 2013
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I have squeaks too and I've watched a number of vids full of possible reasons.  For me it seems to be that my bow is touching an unintended 2nd string that my finger is also partly touching.  It's hard to explain but for me as a beginner I think it's coming down to finger placement and bowing accuracy.  I hope we both solve it!

Blogging my beginner journey and progress...Diary of a Fumbling New Violinist:  http://learningviolin.ca/

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
February 14, 2014 - 9:04 am
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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I've struggled with this, too. I guess we all do at some point. There are so many variables, as you've noted.

I've had the most trouble with the E string. I've gotten better lately when playing E, F, F#, G, G# and A, but now I get terrible screeching when playing a high B on the E string. I think my problem is not making good contact with my pinky because the stretch is so far. I'm also wondering if I'm bowing too close to the bridge at that point...or not close enough. I'm working on all of the above.

Anyway, I mention these things because maybe your problem is similar. I also like Michelle's @Shell  point about hitting the adjacent string. Sometimes that can be so subtle you don't even realize you're doing it.

Hope that helps somewhat. I'll be watching to see what other folks suggest. Might help me, too. :)

 

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
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February 14, 2014 - 10:37 am
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Thank you @Shell and KindaScratchy!

I generally haven't had an issue hitting other strings, and I'm *pretty* sure that isn't it, but I'll have to pay close attention.  I toyed around with bow speed last night quite a bit, and that doesn't seem to be it either.

I don't generally have too much of a problem with screechy notes anymore, but for some reason I think I've developed some weird habit in the past few weeks that is causing it.

I think I'll pay attention and try to see if there are specific notes I'm having difficulty with, that's a really good point.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 14, 2014 - 1:38 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Here comes my guess.
Are you keeping track of the contact point between the bridge and fingerboard. If you play too close to the bridge you will be getting a screechy sound. Also known as ponticello. For now, try playing with the hair to string contact point closer to the beginning of the fingerboard.

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

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Poke
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February 14, 2014 - 2:58 pm
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MontrealMichelle said
I have squeaks too and I've watched a number of vids full of possible reasons.  For me it seems to be that my bow is touching an unintended 2nd string that my finger is also partly touching.  It's hard to explain but for me as a beginner I think it's coming down to finger placement and bowing accuracy.  I hope we both solve it!

I think this is possibly your problem (one I have too) and I think it stems from inducing an "accidental" harmonic and then trying to press your finger down and then bowing.

I think this combination of events makes many of the screeches I hear when I play even on the string you are intending to play but also as Michelle suggests.

 

 

Hope you (we all) figure it out,

 

Damon

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Shell
Montreal
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February 14, 2014 - 4:50 pm
Member Since: December 27, 2013
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I think you're right @Poke Damon.  I've spent the last hour going back to basics because I realized today that I keep repeating the same mistakes, in that I get the bow squeaks the same places every time, so I've been reinforcing my bad habits.  Today I realized that it's partly what you and I described but also it's happening especially on my crossovers.  I also noticed that I haven't been lifting my elbow/arm enough when i cross strings so I did a bunch of crossover exercises and it's already improving.  Now to stop the accidental almost-harmonics :)

 

I'm also bowing too close to the bridge sometimes as fiddlerman suggested could be part of the problem.  

 

@rottrunner sorry for hijacking your thread with my own case  of a similar issue 🙂 

Blogging my beginner journey and progress...Diary of a Fumbling New Violinist:  http://learningviolin.ca/

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Poke
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February 14, 2014 - 10:06 pm
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MontrealMichelle said

@rottrunner sorry for hijacking your thread with my own case  of a similar issue 🙂 

I think it may be close to @rottrunner 's problem too. Good call on the back to basics move. I'll do the same

 

damon

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rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
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February 14, 2014 - 10:25 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
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@Shell  no worries!  I'm sure we could all use as much advice as possible in here, ha.

I think I finally figured out what I'm doing, and it's really pretty dumb.

Moved music stand+habit of standing in the same spot=weird craning to see the music and lots of awkward hand tension/screeching.  I somehow convinced myself it was a good idea to play completely sideways to the music?  I just moved the music stand to a more accessible spot, fixed my stance, and that alleviated almost everything.

Honestly, I wish it had been something far more technical...lol.  A little embarrassed over here.

But thank you so much, @Fiddlerman  and @Poke !  I think your advice was spot on, and I made notes of everything for future reference. =)

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canman763
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March 23, 2014 - 7:39 pm
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@ rottrunner. I've only been 'playing' about a month, but like you - the A and E strings often get screechie. I usually notice I'm either not perpendicular with the string or too close to the bridge. 

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