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switching strings
help with learning notes going back and forth between strings
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rockinglr33
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October 27, 2013 - 12:21 pm
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ok so im finally getting steady enough on my notes on the 4 strings to start learning some little tunes. I'm working my way through essential elements and though im supposed to be plucking the strings according to the directions i went ahead and started bowing them. Well now that I'm consistently hitting most of the notes I've started to do some of the sample songs that have me switching notes between the g on the d string and the open A, or B on the A string.  I won't lie i have found this to be really hard. its a lot to coordinate, especially with being super new at it, and when it tells me to keep my finger down for g and bow open A or B natural on the A string. What i was wondering was if anyone had any tips about how to make it a bit easier to make the changes more fluid? Hopefully this made some semblance of sense and i haven't confused you all with my long explination. lol  Thanks for your help!! 

 violin-1267

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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wookieman
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October 27, 2013 - 6:15 pm
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I had that same problem for the longest time, and I couldn't figure out why.  As it turns out, the strings were place WAY too close together at the nut.  The nut was cut completely wrong and the strings were so close together it was nearly impossible to cross from one string to the next and get a clear sound.  I didn't actually figure this out until I got my second violin and immediately noticed that the strings were spread wider apart at the nut, thus solving my problem.  I'm working on cutting a new nut for my cheap violin as we speak. 

For me, I would start by looking at the spacing on the strings at the nut.  They should be 5.5mm apart.  If they're closer than that, you will continue to have issues.  If that's not the problem, it's just going to take LOTS of practice.  Just go slow and do it over and over until there are no mistakes, then will find yourself speeding up without thinking about it.  Good luck!

Also, several of us use the Essential Elements, so if have more questions, let us know!  And welcome!

There is no failure, only results.

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rockinglr33
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October 28, 2013 - 11:52 pm
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Thanks wookieman!!! I'll double check the spaceing. I've practiced more and i think it's just my cordination. lol.

I do have a question about the EE Books. Do you think on the exercises like "old king solomon" (i think thats the name, i don't have it near me,) that instead of using the open A using the 4th finger on the D string would be better practice? The book doesn't introduce the fourth finger for a long long time and I don't want to get into bad habits now of using the open A when the 4th finger might sound better.

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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wookieman
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October 29, 2013 - 1:05 pm
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For me personally, using the forth finger is like cheating.  I think I get more out of it by changing strings, because changing strings with the bow is a more difficult technique.  Just the thoughts of a novice though.  There IS however, a time and place.  When you get to "Simple Gifts" you'll see the need for the forth finger, but the book tells you when to use it too. 

There is no failure, only results.

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RosinedUp
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October 30, 2013 - 4:40 am
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Using open strings gives you frequent references to exact pitches, and I think it might be better for ear training.

Abstaining from open strings prepares you to transpose without thinking, by simply shifting up or down the neck.

IDK that a fingered string sounds "better".  I think the goal is that the notes sound consistent, which you might get by fingering every note.

Also fingering everything lets you treat everything similarly relative to vibrato.

Or so goes my not-necessarily-well-informed opinion.

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screeeech
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October 30, 2013 - 7:22 am
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Using 4th finger keeps the note same volume and dampens the resonation to match the other notes. If you don't use 4th finger it is like accenting every open string note.

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rockinglr33
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October 30, 2013 - 11:34 am
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ahh ok thanks guys. you all made really valid points that i totally see :D Thanks for helping out! I shall practice using the open a for now just for practice switching strings and such and then use the 4th finger if i need to not accent the note. Thanks guys :D

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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HDuaneaz
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October 30, 2013 - 12:15 pm
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I have, in the past, had a nasty habit of using open strings way too much. I do believe it is okay to use open strings when playing quickly, but I am still trying to learn to play quickly. So, this from a fast playing novice.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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Crazymotive
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October 31, 2013 - 12:07 am
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It depends on what you are playing and the dynamics. Some music sounds better if you use the fourth finger instead of moving up to the next open string. Particularly passages that are marked p (piano) or pp (pianisimo) or ppp where you are required to play very softly. Playing the open string often rings too much and comes across too loud. If you are playing fortisimo you can often get away with really digging into the open string.  Keep in mind however if you are learning via an instructor or instruction book there may be good reason why they want you to cross over and use the open string instead of the 4th finger.

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DanielB
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October 31, 2013 - 2:00 am
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First off, I would have to mostly agree with the idea that if you have a teacher or are following a book or method, then it just makes sense to learn things in the order they are given.  You pay for the method that the teacher or the book gives, and there will usually be a reason for things being given as they are.  It is logical to trust the teacher or method to give you what you need to eventually become a well rounded player with a good overall grasp of the necessary skills.

 

That being said, I muddle through things on my own, with the occasional question or bit of advice.  But this isn't by any means the first instrument I've learned, so I feel I have at least somewhat of an idea what works for me.  I could be wrong on that though, and have been a few times already and needed to backtrack a bit. LOL

 

Most people tend to avoid the pinky because it tends to be weaker and less coordinated than the other fingers.  I'm used to using the pinky when playing, from years of guitar.  So I have been using the pinky in playing and practice since day one.  I try any piece I'm playing with both pinky and open strings and decide which I like the sound and feel of better. That's the way I do it on guitar, so I do it that way on violin.

To my way of thinking, it isn't "better" to avoid open strings any more than it would be to always use them.  They are different sounds, and I feel it is good to practice any sound the instrument can give, since you may want one in some cases and the other in other cases.  When playing, at least eventually, you want to be able to use any option to get the sound you feel is best.  But in practice, you want to practice them all.

 

However, to repeat my original point.  If you have a teacher or are following a method book, it makes sense to follow the order things are given in.  Hopefully there is a logic to the order that steps are taken in that will save you some trouble later.  If you decide you don't have faith in the teacher or method book, then change.  But that isn't something you want to do lightly, since in some ways it can be like having to start over.

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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