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Hello from Mumbai , India -
damaged left hand 4th finger, 5-string violin idea - wanted to cross check this.
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neilxdsouza
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December 19, 2022 - 3:29 am
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So I'm trying to return back to the instrument after a large gap. I had damaged my 4th finger earlier which i what stopped me from progressing further and I sort of gave up for a while after that.

I figured out a possible hack that can get me playing again. It would be very non-standard but maybe someone has done something like this before. So I'm going to post it here - and would like advice on making progress in the future or if you think it's a dead end.

So I noticed that there is a 5 string violin (actually the idea started on guitar as i used to play guitar too and learned of the 10 string guitar where the same hack is an idea)

Since my 4th finger is damaged (it can't keep pace with the other 3 when it comes to speed and the knuckle joint starts hurting) , my objective is to eliminate the 4th finger usage.

If i were to buy a   a 5 string violin I was thinking of the following tuning :

Where 1 is the Low G string and 5 is the highest string.

    (fingers)

    1           2         2       3               3

1. G          A-flat   A       B-flat        B

2. C          C#       D       E-Flat      E

3. F           F#       G      G#           A

4. B-flat     B         C      C#           D

5. E-flat     F         F#     G            A-flat

What i wanted to know is what are the disadvantages of performing the more advanced exercises - like for example after i finish the Wohlfarht or the Sitt Book 1 and start moving to the more advanced material - Sitt Book2/3 or Mazas Book 1 or Kayser Book 1. Will there be a path to the more advanced stuff - or will I hit a dead end and be forced to stop.

So I understand the 5 string violin is used to bring in the Viola range of material but here I'm using the extra string to eliminate the 4th finger completely.

For the above In 1st position the G will be held by the nut , but once you shift position the work done by the nut will have to be done by 1st finger , hence being conservative there. I also understand that I will have to do tradeoffs and some material may be inaccessible to me and I'm willing to go far down a road before i reach a dead end. I'm also willing to put in the time and energy to re-finger the left hand  , but if there are any red flags you see on day-1 from this approach - do list them out.

the first issue I directly see is what strings to use for the low 2nd string - possible the D string could be used for C , and for  F (but Im not sure) the A string could be used for B-flat and the standard E string could be used for E-flat

The above tuning is in 4ths so as a result some double stops etc may be difficult etc. do let me know your thoughts. many thanks in advance.

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Mark
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December 19, 2022 - 5:03 am
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neilxdsouza,

Welcome to the forum,  I'm not sure changing up and tuning in 4ths will be a benefit or not, I'm still mulling over the advantages and disadvantages.

Where there is a will there's a way  take a look at this individual.

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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neilxdsouza
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December 19, 2022 - 5:34 am
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Many thanks, that is a very inspiring video. i will watch it . However do let me know your thoughts .

Yes I did start out thinking of compensation of the 4th finger by shifting positions . But this other idea didnt seem too bad.

If you have any ideas on what i proposed i will be curious to watch them.

 

Many thanks once again

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ELCBK
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December 19, 2022 - 10:44 am
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@neilxdsouza -

https://static.vecteezy.com/system/resources/previews/000/412/634/original/handwritten-welcome-calligraphy-lettering-word-vector-illustration-on-white-background.jpg

LOVE that you found us here

and LOVE you start right off with an interesting concept! 

Will you be playing 'Western' Classical music, in a 'Western' style classical orchestra, or being you are in Mumbai -
will you be playing Carnatic music? 

 

I play both a 5-string violin & 5-string viola. I'm interested in 'Classical' and traditional folk 'Fiddler' techniques - learning mostly by ear.  I'd be lost without the traditional 'Western Classical' mapping of intervals and string relationships on the fingerboard.  Even when exploring other genres, cross or or down-tuning, playing microtones - my ears & brain still think of the fingerboard as a map in this way. 

Because of this, it would feel much more natural (for me) to just shift one finger to accommodate what notes I need to play.

Everything I've read, and can hear, tells me the violin resonates best/has the best overtones when tuned to 5ths, and I'm pretty sure it would drive me crazy if I didn't use the standard 'Western' Classical tuning while trying to learn from teaching material based on this standard

I don't have a guitar-playing mindset, so I have to imagine you believe this easier, but I think you should consider how different the acoustic guitar vs. acoustic violin construction is for sound production. 

Now, if you are talking Electric Violin vs. Electric Guitar - seems would be a whole different story, because body resonance is not an issue. 

This video gets into understanding how & why the violin fingerboard is set up the way it is.

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/32/f0/74/32f07414dc599d2889dbe9dce20c56a4.jpgBottom line: how & where & for what kind of music will you end up using your violin?  If only learning/playing for your own enjoyment, then do whatever is easiest for yourself!

I'm really looking forward to you joining in on other discussions, here! 🤗

- Emily

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neilxdsouza
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December 19, 2022 - 1:48 pm
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> So I'm trying to return back to the instrument after a large gap.

I had mentioned that earlier. I actually have a 4th grade certificate passing the ABRSM (yes ABRSM does come to India to conduct exams) on violin.

I would be playing Western classical style and not Carnatic .

> I don't have a guitar-playing mindset, so I have to imagine you believe this easier,

Actually after playing violin and guitar ( I also was a grade 5 on Guitar ABRSM - but I was much more advanced on Guitar and could attempt far more advanced material than grade 5), I felt the violin was a lot easier. I guess the reason for that bias is that all the hard work of getting the left hand dexterity was done by guitar  , when i attempted violin - I was making progress a lot faster than guitar. The ear was somewhat set and the sight reading was fluent, so the impression I have is, violin is easy.

 

>how & where & for what kind of music will you end up using your violin?  If only learning/playing for your own enjoyment, then do whatever is easiest for yourself!

I want to work on technique - I have read blogs on violin study material. From what I have gathered, the usual roadmap is

Level 1 : Wohlfarht/Sitt 1/ Dancla,

Level 2: Kayser 1/2/3/, Sitt 2/3 

Leve 3: Mazas 1/2/3, Dancla (adv) 

Level 4: Kreutzer, Fiorillo / Dont .

I expect it to take a good 5-7 years to make progress and I'm willing to put in the time . Given my finger limitations, I'm also willing to attempt for a good 4-5 years before I realize that this is the max I can go forward and I won't feel bad because i gave it a good shot. If I am able to  attempt Bach's material after my efforts at practice I would be happy. My current favourite piece of music is Mass in Bm (Bach). For example there is string solo part for Laudamus Te (not sure if violin or viola). So attempting stuff like that after all the hard work would be the reward. To a large extent it would be for my own enjoyment - but I definitely want to work on solid technique.

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ELCBK
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December 19, 2022 - 3:41 pm
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@neilxdsouza -

I only meant, someone who only plays violin probably wouldn't think about changing their strings the way you suggested - because you won't get the best sound from your instrument. 

All of the teaching material you propose learning from is made for a standard tuned violin - exercises with intervals, double stops, hand shapes, finger patterns, etc...  My suggestion would be to think like the teaching material, but assign your 3rd finger the extra duty of the 4th.  It's not hard - I do it sometimes for my C & G strings, depends on what kind of music I'm playing. 

🤔... hope others weight in here - I don't know if you would be cutting yourself off from potential professional help/instruction down the road.  Even if you aren't planning to work with a teacher now, you may wish to attend workshops or classes later, down the road - they may not wish to deal with an unconventional string set up to help you. 

- Emily

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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December 19, 2022 - 9:43 pm
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I tend to think it would be better to keep the standard tuning. You may have to use some unconventional fingerings, but shifting will get you to every note you need to play, at least as long as you're not playing double-stop octaves.

 

I play viola, and I have small hands and a short 4th finger, so I generally avoid using 4th finger myself. I shift a lot, and often extend the 3rd finger instead of using 4th finger because I can actually extend it slightly farther than the 4th finger.

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neilxdsouza
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December 19, 2022 - 10:05 pm
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Thanks for the inputs Andrew and ELCBK

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Ford Glass

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December 20, 2022 - 7:42 am
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Not helpful, sorry but gotta say, that video of the 2 fingered violinist was very impressive!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 20, 2022 - 10:45 am
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@ neilxdsouza - No matter what you decide, it's always a matter of learning to use the instrument in a way that is beneficial to you. You would have less available resources if you tuned unconventionally, but it might benefit you in your own way.
Regardless of what you do, it'll be interesting to follow your renewed journey.
Welcome to the forum.

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

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neilxdsouza
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December 20, 2022 - 11:29 pm
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Thank you @Fiddlerman . I'm thinking of running an experiment on a cheapo 5 string violin to derisk my downside . If i make some progress - i will pickup the 5-string fiddlerman. That's how i reached this site in the first place ! I watched the video on youtube but with the C string as the lowest.

I'm thinking of buying some video/recording equipment to track my progress - the experiment maybe interesting for others; but I'm not committing to that yet. I will leave a note If that happens.

On a side note - is there a 6 string acoustic violin - or are those only electric? Also would there be a higher string than the E-string or is the E string the highest string available?

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ELCBK
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December 21, 2022 - 3:25 am
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@neilxdsouza -

I don't believe there are strings any higher than the E.

Are you trying to avoid all shifting? 

Many of us here just record with a smartphone, but more discussions here: Recording the Violin Threads

 

Fiddlershop carries the Glasser Acoustic/Electric 6-string Violin. It can be played acoustically or electric.

I took a couple workshops with Jesus Florido at the April 2021 Fiddle Hell Festival (Thread) - the story Jesus told was he asked Glasser to make him a 6-string Violin (1st one for Glasser) - it was so nice & there were enough inquiries, that Glasser put it into production.  I was seriously considering one, but opted for the 5-string Viola instead, because I like the deeper tone of the Viola body. 

You can hear how wonderful the 6-string Violin sounds at Jesus's YouTube Channel: Jesus Florido - YouTube Channel - having more strings that are tuned in 5ths, means more overtones can be heard, it's really nice!

 

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
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December 21, 2022 - 8:38 am
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Thanks Emily,

@neilxdsouza - Sounds like a plan. Good luck with that journey. We'll enjoy following your journey.

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

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neilxdsouza
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December 22, 2022 - 4:49 am
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>Are you trying to avoid all shifting? 

I dont think you can avoid all shifting - but - I was thinking of going upto max 4th position and getting more range of the violin - with the alternate tuning and the higher 6th string. Anyways - that's for another day.

Right now I dont think electric violin is for me. That may change though.

Thanks for the encouragement @Fiddlerman  And Emily

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