FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Small hands?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
Member
Members
January 11, 2015 - 12:03 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
Forum Posts: 23
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've only been playing for about a year, so I'm still absolutely a noob.  And unfortunately most of my experience has been self-taught with a mirror to check myself.  But I took a few lessons when I first started out to make sure that I didn't develop any bad habits (I then moved and wasn't able to continue with that teacher...need to find a new one!).

But my previous teacher always emphasized playing on the very tips of your fingers, keeping the wrist straight, and keeping the fingers "facing forward" as you're supposed to.  But my hands are so small, there are just some notes I can't reach with that positioning without compensating with some other weird movement, like a giant shift down the neck or a big inward twist of the elbow.  It feels really, really unnatural, and I can't figure out if it's because I'm just inexperienced, or if there's a method to help with this.

Anyone else have small hands/a really short 4th finger like I do?  How have you adjusted for this?  My pinky is almost a full inch shorter than my ring finger.

Avatar
mischa91
Members

Regulars
January 11, 2015 - 12:28 pm
Member Since: October 18, 2012
Forum Posts: 298
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I too have tiny hands, so tiny in fact that I used to comfortably play on a 3/4 violin.  Playing on a 4/4 has been an adjustment.  I can't really say how I compensate for it, probably twist my wrist or stretch my hand out, I'm not entirely sure if I play on the very top of my pinky finger as my hand is just too small to accommodate this.  Having tiny hands is just another challenge to overcome.  

Avatar
ElisaDalViolin
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
January 11, 2015 - 12:41 pm
Member Since: November 26, 2014
Forum Posts: 209
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi rottrunner,

I don't think I have a small hand but I do have long and thin fingers and I still have problems reaching with the 4th finger. The reason of this, and I think it may be yours as well, is tension and lack of articulation.Have you ever noticed when hitting an note with your fourth, your second or third finger are pulling back? Sometimes it can happen. Think of your hand as it was a fan opening naturally in position and don't overthink when it's time to use your 4th, let it fall down on the strings smile

It takes time, but this advice from my teacher has helped me several times. Don't force it with weird hand positions because you can injury your wrist due to tension. Try practice articulation without your bow and see how's your hand doing.

Hope I answered your question.

  

 
Avatar
rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
Member
Members
January 11, 2015 - 12:42 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
Forum Posts: 23
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@mischa91 I used to have a 3/4, and thought it was very comfortable -- especially the shorter bow (I have short arms too, ha).  But I didn't actually know it was a 3/4 when I bought it...until someone said, "you know that's a kid's violin, right?"  Whoops.

I find the 4/4 to be comfortable, there's just a lot more effort involved.  I've seen videos of amazing performers with tiny hands that have to stretch with straightened fingers or bent wrists for notes, so maybe it's not as terrible of a technique as my teacher portrayed it to be.  I just don't want to start doing it, and then find out that there was a better/more acceptable way.

Avatar
rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
Member
Members
January 11, 2015 - 12:46 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
Forum Posts: 23
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@ElisaDalViolin Thank you!  I could definitely stand to loosen up my left hand.  I do think some of it is mental, in that I try so hard to keep the straight wrist but still make the reach, and then everything just locks up.  I've improved over time on that, but it's still something I tend towards -- especially when I get confused.  I think I also try to hard to keep my thumb in the right spot, and I need to learn that it's maybe ok to move it around a bit. 

Avatar
johnnyblaze
Rhode Island
Advanced member
Members
January 11, 2015 - 6:26 pm
Member Since: September 13, 2013
Forum Posts: 65
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have only been playing 2 years but i also started collecting old violins.One thing

 i noticed some of the violins had a smaller nut on top then others as much as 2mm or more..2mm is a good amount dealing with a fingerboard..Some once told me maybe they were done that way for smaller hands.

 

Just a thought....

 

~Blaze~

Avatar
Jacques
San Diego
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
January 11, 2015 - 6:36 pm
Member Since: December 14, 2014
Forum Posts: 207
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

If you're having trouble reaching with the fourth finger it may be an excellent time to start shifting up to the second or third position ; because you will want to learn that stuff anyways!

Avatar
Schaick
Members

Regulars
January 12, 2015 - 9:12 am
Member Since: December 25, 2013
Forum Posts: 841
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

You sound like me.  Suzuki lessons every other month for first year so I would not pick up bad habits!

I have good sized hands and fingers.  I was trying to keep my hand in correct position and reach the 4th finger notes.  My Suzuki Teach said, "Close the barn door" which for me with 2 boys means something different!!

Anyway she took my hand and turned it so the palm of my hand faced the neck of the violin.  I was able to reach past the 4th finger position.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

Avatar
rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
Member
Members
January 12, 2015 - 6:56 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
Forum Posts: 23
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Schaick said
You sound like me.  Suzuki lessons every other month for first year so I would not pick up bad habits!

I have good sized hands and fingers.  I was trying to keep my hand in correct position and reach the 4th finger notes.  My Suzuki Teach said, "Close the barn door" which for me with 2 boys means something different!!

Anyway she took my hand and turned it so the palm of my hand faced the neck of the violin.  I was able to reach past the 4th finger position.

Hi, @Schaick -- I actually think this might be a large issue for me.  I was taught that your fingers need to be "facing forward," so your fingernails are facing toward the bridge.  My teacher said, "otherwise you're playing a guitar."  So it's ok to reach across the fingerboard sideways?

Avatar
Schaick
Members

Regulars
January 13, 2015 - 8:45 am
Member Since: December 25, 2013
Forum Posts: 841
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yes that is what I was taught, but not about the guitar playing LOL!! 

This is strictly my analysis of my fingering!!

I believe a person is more accurate when the fingernail is facing the bridge. The issue is being as close and skinny on the string/to the note as possible.  When your fingers are facing forward you know the front edge is sounding the note.  

As your fingers go up the string with 2nd, 3rd and 4th finger your fingers do naturally turn so the finger pad touching the string also becomes wider.  

The more your finger is facing behind you the more you are forming the note with a wider pad.  

Consider we are not supposed to be gripping  the neck and slamming down our fingers.

Most finger pads are rounded so the note is not being formed at the front edge but somewhere under, in the middle or backside [closer to the scroll in my case] of the pad.  

If the front edge of the sideways finger touches even a tiny bit that note is sounded a bit out of tune.  

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

Avatar
coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
Members

Regulars
January 13, 2015 - 4:13 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 3767
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@ElisaDalViolin thank you for the tip.  It is so awesome to have other more experienced violinists to chime in and help.   "Don't overthink and let it fall on the strings.."  I like that.  Practicing in the air at my desk. :)

Thanks,

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Avatar
rottrunner
Chicago, IL, USA
Member
Members
January 13, 2015 - 7:05 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2014
Forum Posts: 23
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@Schaick I just finished practicing for the night, and "closing the barn door" is exactly what needed to happen, thank you!  I still need to practice the stretch to D on the G string, but at least now I can reach it!  I'll need to re-learn how to keep my wrist straight and relaxed, but I think I'll catch on pretty quick.

Thank you again for the suggestion!

Avatar
ElisaDalViolin
Honorary advisor
Members

Regulars
January 13, 2015 - 8:22 pm
Member Since: November 26, 2014
Forum Posts: 209
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Glad to hear that, @rottrunnersmileThe barn door is a good metaphor. My teacher have plenty to help younger students understand the hand position but that one is really spot on. Thank you @Schaick for sharing.

@coolpinkone , you're welcome! I'm glad I could help you also! 

 
Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 15, 2015 - 8:42 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

One thing that helps is to come around the instrument more by bringing your elbow more under, towards the right. Do it slowly to avoid hurting yourself but eventually you should be able to come around more thus bringing your fingers naturally closer.
Another tip is to elongate your fingers by holding the neck more with the pad of your thumb.

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

Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online:
46 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today HeadCheese
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3562

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6446

Posts: 80404

Newest Members:

EKBanjo, charlieD, Folky fiddler, Morgenes42, stringo, sexymom04

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651