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Will violinists have calluses on their fingertips?
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Huey142
Melaka,Malaysia
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Will they have or should they have? Since there are so many experienced violinists here I figured I should ask.

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myguitarnow
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Yes, calluses on the finger tips is a normal and good thing. I do find the violin a bit softer than a guitar on my finger tips. You sure don't want to worry about how your finger tips feel when you are learning a string instrument. Calluses are a good thing for me;-)

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Robyn.fnq
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I have the beginnings of calluses, but I'm told they're not essential, and lots of players never get them.  A worse problem for me is the nerve sensitivity, particularly in my ring finger.  Sometimes it makes me go ... 'ouch' ...

MGN, I found the guitar built big calluses on my fingers, much more so than violin.

Calluses would be a good thing, I wish I could grow them to cover the nerves.

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Huey142
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Ouhh i see. But if there aren't any calluses then will it hurt to play the violin?

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Daniel
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Short term, no, long term yes. I had a beginner friend who played an hour without pain,(with manicure soft fingers no less) and was fine but after that, she began to feel pain. Two sessions later, she was able to play 2 hours straight when she began to develop(not so obvious) calluses.

 

Side note: I was once crazy enough to sand my fingers after the calluses got too thick for my liking....and immediately tried to play canon in D. Couldn't get past the first 3 phrases of the "chorus" 

 

lesson...don't try it 😉

Short-term Goal:

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Fiddlerman
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September 2, 2011 - 7:17 am
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I have NO calluses on my fingertips and can play 12 hours in the day with no pain. I have never had any calluses on my fingertips either. I have colleagues who do have them and do not have a problem with it either. Those colleagues are very surprised that I don't get them. I think that it depends on the sensitivity of your skin. Maybe the thickness and softness of your fingertip skin. My fingers are not that skinny either.

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Daniel
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Probably not so much as calluses but perhaps a toughening of skin.

Short-term Goal:

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Huey142
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I see, so it's better to have it if you have thin skin and never try to sand it. Thanks for answering!laugh

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Fiddlerman
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September 2, 2011 - 8:31 am
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Huey142 said:

I see, so it's better to have it if you have thin skin and never try to sand it. Thanks for answering!laugh

I think what we are really saying is that some people get them and that is OK. Daniel says that you should not try to sand them down if you get them. Others do not get calluses and that is fine too, unless you have sensitive fingertip nerves.

Also, Barry wants you to cut your nails and is pretty sure you wont get man hands.

I believe that summary is pretty close to what has been said here.

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Oliver
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In a book called BASICS, the author has a discussion about the finger pressure needed to sound a note on a string.  The author leads the reader through a demo which shows that very little pressure is needed, much less than the average player uses. 
This is easier on the fingers AND facilitates speed and intonation in contrast to "planting" fingers on "uncooperative" notes.  It is hard to correct a note position that is hard pressed to the fingerboard.

The real book sells for about $40  dazed dazed

PS  IMHO, the lightly pressed note has a better sound quality and I think I know why but I won't get into that.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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SaraO
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This is a fascinating discussion. I always thought that everyone got callouses from playing violin.

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Huey142
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Fiddlerman said:

Huey142 said:

I see, so it's better to have it if you have thin skin and never try to sand it. Thanks for answering!laugh

I think what we are really saying is that some people get them and that is OK. Daniel says that you should not try to sand them down if you get them. Others do not get calluses and that is fine too, unless you have sensitive fingertip nerves.

Also, Barry wants you to cut your nails and is pretty sure you wont get man hands.

I believe that summary is pretty close to what has been said here.

cheerleader

LOL. Ok, currently i have long fingernails but when I'm learning I'll be sure to make sure they are always short.

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Huey142
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SaraO said:

This is a fascinating discussion. I always thought that everyone got callouses from playing violin.

Hahah. I just wanted to know if my hands will have callus if I learn to play the violin because my friend said so. I'm just making sure. 🙂

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Huey142
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Barry said:

Overly calloused fingers can be rough on aluminum wound strings, I tore up quite a few A strings in the B position when I first started. I wouldnt worry much Huey, you wont get manly hands playing the violin wink

 

Yeah I was kinda worried about having rough hands too but if I really have to have callus with playing the violin then I guess I have no choice. I'd still play it.laugh

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Huey142
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Oliver said:

In a book called BASICS, the author has a discussion about the finger pressure needed to sound a note on a string.  The author leads the reader through a demo which shows that very little pressure is needed, much less than the average player uses. 
This is easier on the fingers AND facilitates speed and intonation in contrast to "planting" fingers on "uncooperative" notes.  It is hard to correct a note position that is hard pressed to the fingerboard.

The real book sells for about $40  dazed dazed

PS  IMHO, the lightly pressed note has a better sound quality and I think I know why but I won't get into that.

I see. But will little pressure affect the difficulty of doing a vibrato? (I know it's out of topic. It just came across my mind when you said about little pressurelaugh)

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Huey142
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Did any of you accidentally cut your finger with the violin string before? I know this is a weird question.confused

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Oliver
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Pressure vs. vibrato.  Interesting question but if vibrato needs pressure then I guess it is to be used as needed but a fast reel doesn't have time for vibrato cool

The book, BASICS, covers everything but I never bothered too much with it as the emphasis is for classical players. 

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Jauniba
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What's far worse is the violin/viola hickie you can develop under your jaw. Especially if you're in high school. And then when someone asks you who gave it to you and you have to say it's your viola.

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GennaLea
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Jauniba said:

What's far worse is the violin/viola hickie you can develop under your jaw. Especially if you're in high school. And then when someone asks you who gave it to you and you have to say it's your viola.

And I'm sure everyone believes it, too. Thankfully I haven't had that happen... yet.

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Fiddlerman
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September 2, 2011 - 6:56 pm
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Use enough pressure to get the string to touch the fingerboard. No less or more. Vibrato will work well if you don't press too hard as long as your fingertip makes contact with the fingerboard.

Always when practicing and playing the violin relax as much as possible. Maybe not quite so much with your brain though.

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

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