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Some advice for an absolute beginner.
Questions for a beginner.
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magilla1970
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January 22, 2014 - 2:08 pm
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First of all let me start by saying hello to all and introducing myself. Name is Jeff, I am 43 years old and a 100% disabled US veteran who decided to attempt to play the violin in order to give my life some direction. I just purchased a Cecilio 4/4 violin from ebay after watching fiddlerman's review of the instrument. I know it's not the best but I figured it was a good starting point since I do not have much money to buy a really nice violin. I have absolutely NO musical experience and am starting at the beginning. On to my problem/question:

I am an extremely large man 6'4" tall and have very large hands. In just playing around with the violin for the past week and watching some of the beginning videos I have realized that my large hands and fingers may hinder me in playing. For example, in trying to hit some simple notes on the G string I'm noticing my inability to just touch one string with my fingertips due to their size. Is this going to hinder me in progressing and playing this instrument? Is there a way to customize a violin for my larger than normal hands and is this something I should look into? If there is where should I start in moving forward?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Jeff

 

 

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RosinedUp
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January 22, 2014 - 2:41 pm
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You could consider playing a viola.  They are larger, and available in a range of sizes.  It has strings tuned CGDA instead of the violin's GDAE.

But you might be able to adjust your violin to suit you better.

One thing would be to replace the nut so that the strings are spaced a little farther apart.  How far is it now from your G string to your E string, at the nut?

http://www.violinstudent.com/v.....inmap.html

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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January 22, 2014 - 2:49 pm
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Jeff, I am 43 years old this may. 6'5" and 270 lbs. I am very shrekish. Ive been at this for 3 years and the only problems I am having is sticking to a consistent practice regimine. Your fingers are not a problem. Itzak Perlman has big ol fingers and he manages. My violin is a standard size with no modifications.

Don't worry about hitting adjacent strings you are not playing them anyways.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 22, 2014 - 3:44 pm
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Welcome to the forum, magilla1970!

One thing i can imagine about big fingers - is how convenient it might be to play 5th doublestops amuse

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
January 22, 2014 - 9:05 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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Welcome, @magilla1970 ! Love the username (I get the reference, in light of your introduction).

While I can't personally offer you any advice on your particular physical concerns, I'm sure that others here can. As @Picklefish indicated, you're not the only big guy playing -- or learning to play -- the violin. I believe that many of us have some physical limitation, for example: my left pinky is pretty weak so I find it hard to reach certain notes and I've got tendonitis in my right wrist, so my bowing could be stronger. We just have to find ways to compensate.

As @RosinedUp mentioned, some big guys prefer to play a larger instrument such as the viola, but there are plenty who make the violin work.

Stick around here, ask lots of questions and you'll get lots of helpful advice.

Good luck and enjoy your new violin!

 

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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StoneDog
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January 22, 2014 - 9:34 pm
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The bigger they are the harder they PLAY. > stay with it> doesn't matter if you have issues hitting the strings. > you will find the notes if you want them. LOTs of big guys out there having a good time on the Viddle.

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fishnrodds
northwest minnesota
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January 22, 2014 - 10:01 pm
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hello, my name is Paul and I have sausage fingers..Stick with it, it will work out. I have my #3 on my left hand that i tried semi sucessfully to pinch off so it has a big old knobber right on the fingertip, it cut all the nerves so its numb to boot. if I can you can! welcome to fiddling!

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RosinedUp
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January 23, 2014 - 4:28 am
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There are important cases when unplayed strings should not be touched.

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magilla1970
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January 23, 2014 - 12:15 pm
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Thanks everyone for the great advice, I'm gonna give it a whirl like this and see if I can make it work. If I have problems later I will look further into it. Again I appreciate the advice from all the sausage fingered individuals like myself. Hope to chat with everyone again soon.

Jeff

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Picklefish
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January 23, 2014 - 4:21 pm
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RosinedUp said

There are important cases when unplayed strings should not be touched.

I think those are few and far between to be honest. Playing slowly its easier to dodge strings and there is time to hear that resonance. Playing quickly is more "devil make hair" and you wont hear it as much.

In the beginning its better to encourage than discourage I think. If you happen to hit an adjacent string by accident its no big deal, if as a performer you don't like it I am sure there is a adaption that can be trained into place.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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StoneDog
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January 23, 2014 - 8:57 pm
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As an old dog, I hit the wrong strings everyday. Everyday I try to avoid that. The more I try to avoid that the less I hit the wrong strings. > Play, play, play.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 23, 2014 - 9:15 pm
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There are a few tricks. For example, using the corners and tips of your fingers. Using fingers to slide under a finger on real tight intervals. Mostly your fingers shouldn't be an issue but it's really hard for most at first. I think you should be OK since I've known a lot of violinists with fat fingers.
Viola is obviously an option as well but you've already bought a violin and it's a far more popular choice. :-)
Welcome to the forum magilla1970. Happy you found your way over here.
Look forward to hearing more about your progress.

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

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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January 23, 2014 - 11:37 pm
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Welcome... Welcome

I have large hands..  and I found that trick in the beginning..but  now a bit later.. and it is not an issue for me.. (trust me I have much bigger issues) facepalmfacepalmfacepalmfacepalmfacepalm

Toni, 48 from California, I started playing at 46.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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HDuaneaz
Chandler, Arizona
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January 24, 2014 - 8:59 pm
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Welcome to the forums. My hands are small and delicate for a man, but I do know there are many violinists with big fingers.

Duane

 

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

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Ginnysg
Southern California
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January 28, 2014 - 7:57 am
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Welcome magilla1970,  I think most new players have the issue of touching more than one string at a time - no matter what size their hands are. My hands are tiny, but I had that problem at first.  It's a matter of technique, and practice.  Hang in there, it will work out.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

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