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Issues With C natural (A string) and G natural (E string), and one more issue on the E string
I am having issues with C natural(on A string) and G natural (on E string), and with hitting the B on E string followed by G natural on E string. I don’t want to start bad habits with my solution.
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cid
September 14, 2019 - 9:33 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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On my violin, I have issues with the upper 2nd finger position (A#, F, C and G). My first finger is in the way. For my lesson song, issue one is the C on the A string. The upper photo illustrates the issue.

I am fine until the third measure. When I get to the D C B the issue starts. I am not sure if what I have been doing to get around it is correct, and if not, if it will cause me issues later on as I progress, you know getting bit in the butt by bad habits. I have run out of band aids for that. My violin lesson is Friday and I want to correct it before the lesson, if what I am doing is going to give me issues down the road.

My issue is D to C to B. I cannot have my first finger down on the B when I do the C. Won’t happen. I try to have all fingers up to and including the one being used on the fingerboard, in position when I play. So, for the D, my first finger is on B. If I try to put the second finger on the C I am pausing, looking, moving the first finger out of the way and then continuing. Doing it over and over to speed it up simply does not get me anywhere. You have no idea how many days and hours I have been doing just this little thing.

So, now I have tried just putting the first finger on B and playing the D. Very quickly I try to hit the mark for the C while removing the first finger off the B because it messes me up if it is in position. Then I lift the second finger off C and put my first finger down again on B. (D C B).

Now, this is very clunky and I am not sure if that is what I am supposed to be doing. Is this going to cause issues down the road? I was told to butt the second finger up to the first finger. If I do that the C is flat, even though the B is correct. One itty bitty adjustment and the C is C#. So, I have just stopped having that first finger on B. I still have issues hitting the mark for the C, but the other finger is not in the way.

My other issue is measures 13 and 14. It is a similar issue to the first (which happens often in this song with the D C B). Luckily, this the issue in measures 13 and 14 happen only once. I have also attached a photo of the issues with this section, it is the lower photo with the black and red arrows.

The G after the A (E string A), followed by the F# is an issue.

Also, the stretch of the B to the G F# is an issue. The G is bad enough, but trying to stretch to the B to begin with gives me issues, followed by my obvious issue with the G natural.

We are not doing anything beyond first position. So, there would not be any position changing, if that is a solution.

One of the problems, that I know is affecting the latter problem on the E string is that my setup is not quite right. I seem to have changed how I hold my violin. I am using my Doetsch for this, not my Fiddlerman violin. I do hold the two differently because I do a different type song on each. Don’t ask why. Have no idea. I am more relaxed and fun with the Fiddlerman. I noticed the change in my hold with the Doetsch before I bought my Fiddlerman violin, so that is not the cause. I wasn’t getting lessons for violin when I noticed it changed.

I ordered two chinrests and two shoulder rests from Fiddlerman to try getting a better setup with. I think I will be getting them Monday, according to my USPS tracking. It is supposedly on the way to my local post office from the distribution center 50 miles away.

Right now, I have a hard time securing my violin under my jaw. The chinrest and shoulder rest combination is just not right. So, while I am trying to do those naturals, and trying to reach that B, I am also trying to keep my violin in place. I am hoping a better setup will help.

In the meantime, while I wait for my order to arrive, am I going to cause issues later by removing my first finger next to the C natural and G natural and putting the first finger down for the B and F# after I play the C and G?

Is there a reason you can think of for my issue reaching the B on the E string? Maybe my hold in my left hand is too tight and I should be allowing my hand to move up towards it a bit and then back to where it should be for the G that follows the B note? But, we are not shifting yet.

I sure hope I have not confused the heck out of you all. I tried to be clear, and may have tried a little too hard. We have a large supply of aspirin here for my husband. He slaps his head a lot in disbelief! 😁

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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September 14, 2019 - 10:02 pm
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Hey @cid 

A couple questions...

First, are you sure you are playing the B on the A string in tune?  If you are, then C natural should be played right next to the first finger B, as in, your 2nd finger should touch your 1st finger to play that C.  But if you are playing the B even a little sharp, you will not hit the C and your first finger will indeed be in the way.

To answer your question, there is nothing "dangerous" about playing the C by moving your first finger out of the way if you are able to play it smoothly.  I am more concerned why you have to move it at all.  The two positions are really not in the same place when played in tune.

The high B on the E string should be played with the 4th finger, and yes, it is a stretch.  You need to practice that motion over and over, going from your G on the D string up to the B.  Your only alternative is shifting to second position on the D string, but in this case it will not make sense to play that run from second position.

I am not sure what is hanging you up in measure 14.  That run begins on A on the E string, first position and you should be able to walk down those notes relatively easy.  It begins after the open A you play before that so you are not stretching for the high A on the E string.  However, the G is natural, and is a whole step.  You may be having stretch issues on that string, in which case you will need to repeatedly practice that.

Let me know if I am completely off on what I believe is your issues here.

- Pete -

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cid
September 14, 2019 - 10:29 pm
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@Pete_Violin I am not sure what is hanging you up in measure 14.  That run begins on A on the E string, first position and you should be able to walk down those notes relatively easy. 

If I do a G# there is no problem. I have been trying to hit the C and G naturals for many months now. If I could get my fingers a tad narrower, I would be fine. LOL 

As long as lifting the first finger for a second while I play the C or G naturals won’t cause a bad habit in the future, I will do that jus to get done with this song.

Somehow when I had my first lesson, I knew my instructor was going to do that song. I mentioned that to him. I told him I should have ripped it out of both books I have it in. 😂 

I think my issue is, or one issue is, I am having to control the violin itself because I cannot keep it tight enough under my jaw. Just a couple more days and I can try a new set up with a taller chinrest. Maybe I should give it a rest until then and just do the other song and then my cello songs. If it is the setup issue, mainly, I will be struggling for naught until I get my new setup. 

Thanks for the help. Much appreciated.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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September 14, 2019 - 10:51 pm
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cid said 

If I do a G# there is no problem. I have been trying to hit the C and G naturals for many months now. If I could get my fingers a tad narrower, I would be fine. LOL 

@cid 

My only advise here is to play right on the tips of your fingers.  And remember Itzhak Perlman's fingers are quite large, as you know, yet he plays all positions, all over the fingerboard at any speed.  Not that we should be expected to play at that level, but just to point out it is possible.

As long as lifting the first finger for a second while I play the C or G naturals won’t cause a bad habit in the future, I will do that jus to get done with this song.

I am not saying this is a great way to play, or that I recommend it.  But I do not see it causing you really terrible habits.  I know that Perlman says he will play fingers on top of others when necessary.  Do whatever feels right and allows you to hit the notes.

Somehow when I had my first lesson, I knew my instructor was going to do that song. I mentioned that to him. I told him I should have ripped it out of both books I have it in. 😂 

I usually play ahead before my teacher presents a song for me to work on.  We have a joke where I tell her whether I hate the song coming up... meaning, I have played it and it is more complicated than others.  So she knows there will be work to be done on that song. LOL.. it's hilarious!!!

I think my issue is, or one issue is, I am having to control the violin itself because I cannot keep it tight enough under my jaw. 

Yeah, this sounds like a setup problem.  You should not be fighting your violin to stay balanced on your shoulder.  This causes stress, tension and issues with your hold/reach, as in how you reach the notes.  This will cause you nightmare intonation problems, and I suspect it is making some of those notes very difficult to properly play.  I would be much more concerned about your chin rest and shoulder rest, more than whether you can place those fingers properly.  You will be amazed at how maintaining proper control of your violin will relax your left hand and arm, allowing you to play notes correctly and naturally.  This will also affect your vibrato tremendously...  Even your bow arm is affected.   This needs to be addressed.

Also, be aware that the goal is NOT to clamp down on the violin with your jaw.  This is, in fact, counterproductive and it WILL cause you injury over time.  You can certainly hold the violin with your chin, but this should be a natural, easy hold with no tension whatsoever.  The concept is a combination, or partnership with your chin hold and a light left hand which cradles the neck of the violin, allowing you to effortlessly shift, switch, play naturally and beautifully.  Everything depends on it.

Tension is always the enemy of string players..  ALWAYS! Find ways to eliminate tension... this will be your answer to just about every aspect of your playing.  

Thanks for the help. Much appreciated.

Anytime!!  You'll get this!  It's a matter of just a little practice and proper hold.

- Pete -

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cid
September 15, 2019 - 9:18 am
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@Pete_Violin I usually play ahead before my teacher presents a song for me to work on.  We have a joke where I tell her whether I hate the song coming up... meaning, I have played it and it is more complicated than others.  So she knows there will be work to be done on that song. LOL.. it's hilarious!!!

We aren’t using a book specifically. He is doing violin like cello. He selects a song tbat would contain what is needed in the next step of learning. This time I have a song from Suzuki Book 1 and the Essential Elements for Violin Book 1. The EE for violin book 1 aong is in the Suzuki book 1. Ut is better in the EE for violin. I did this song with that first instructor I had, but from the Suzuki version. Unfortunately, like I stated before, with that instructor, IMHO, it was just a half hour for her to have someone with. No issues were pointed out. I had issues, as I dis with every song done with her, but she never addressed them. Thankfully, my cello/violin instructor actually instructs. I also have hour long lessons now. 

Also be aware that the goal is not to CLAMP down on the violin with your jaw

Yes, I know that. My wording was to the extreme. Right now the violin is not secure at all. The shoulder rest cannot get higher to make up for the short chinrest. It worked before but I have adjusted the angle of my violin or something. It is much easier to actually see the music with whatever I am now doing now, and feels right, except for the being too “gappy” between the chinrest and violin. I think “gappy” is a better choice of word. I should not be having to bend the neck down this much to my chinrest. I should not be getting a sore neck after 15 minutes of playing. 

When I am doing those C and G naturals, I feel like I am going to drop my violin. Part is due to my issues with just hitting the mark, but part of my issue with hitting the mark, after playing a bit more last night, appears to be because I am also trying to keep the violin in place (or at least it feels like I should have to). 

I think I will just not worry as much about it until I get my new setup, as I think the issue will not go away until that happens.

I do not consider myself to have an extremely tall neck, but every setup I get, after using it a while, I keep thinking that a taller chinrest and the shorter shoulder rest would be better. But then, the taller chinrests are always described as for people with long necks, so I figure I am wrong and fight with the normal height chinrest. The shoulder rests never seem to get tall enough. So, I decided to go with my gut feeling and try the opposite, taller chinrest and normal height shoulder rest.

I ordered the 40 and 50 height Flesch center mount chinrests, the Kun Bravo collapsible and Mach One Curly shoulder rests to try. Maybe I can get a combination that works from them, or one of the chinrests with one of my current shoulder rests. We will see.

Thanks for the help talking this through.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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sf_bev
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September 15, 2019 - 10:31 am
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Of course you might have fingers like Itzhak Perlman, but it's not likely.  My thought was similar to @Pete_Violin.  Make sure you're using the tips of your fingers.  As beginners we tend to lay off our fingers somewhat.  Have you asked your teacher about this?  There are a number of ways to make adjustments, so he may be able to suggest something.  Elbow angle, wrist angle, height of your hand on the fingerboard, how much the palm faces the fingerboard, etc. Can all affect this.

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cid
September 15, 2019 - 11:18 am
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@sf_bev Hi! Thanks for responding.

The other issue with thinking Itzhak Perlman or any professional as an example, is that they most often started at a young age, grew up with the issue and adjusted accordingly as progressing. Or they cam across the issue during the process when they were more proficient and more able to adjust. I am 65 and learning. Using professionals as examples, for me, is defeating. The entirety of the learning and dealing and adjusting for the issue is a whole different process, with the aging complications to include along with everything else.

I used to look to the professionals, but I find it defeating. Not because I think I will never play like they do, I don’t aspire to that. Reality is there. 😂 But, we never see them in the learning stages to see what they did, so it is no help. We see their perfection, which will never be. So, watching them for pure entertainment is great, but for watching and learning from their performances, not a help at all. 

I have not seen the instructor since being given the song. My lesson after the first lesson when it was assigned is Friday. I was hoping to get it squared away before then, or at least almost squared away. We noticed the issue and tried to work on it during the lesson, but never quite got it. I have not made much progress. I was hoping for some before Friday. I have my hopes set on the setup fix.

I do use my fingertips. That is a little different than my cello, but with my violin and viola, my fingertips are always used, wrist is straight, etc. My hold may be an issue. My hold issue, from the way it feels to is partly due to the fact that there is such a gap between the jaw and chinrest, unless I really bend the neck. I also keep my left hand fingernails trimmed. 

Does this association between the gappy setup and hold and fingering issue make sense to you all? I don’t want to get my hopes up too much.

Well, off to give it another whirl while my decaf cools to drinking temp.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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cid
September 15, 2019 - 2:37 pm
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@Pete_Violin and @sf_bev and anyone else:

Ok, I just finished playing my violin. I tried a few different lines of thought and actions to try to pinpoint my C and G issues (probably A# and D# on the G and D strings).

First I changed nothing. Same result. Tried slowing down, and it was the same result. Serious issues with the C and G. Also issues with the B stretch. All of this is explained in my original post, so I am not getting directly into the issues here.

Well, I got down my Fiddlerman Concert Deluxe, FiddleDeeDee. It has a different setup. It was easier. I played that for a while to make sure it was not a fluke. It does however seem a bit gappy, now, too.

I think I have discovered the reason for the gappies occurring. I have changed up my diet to lose weight. It has been working. I think there is less me at the neck and jaw line. I have been eating more fruits and cottage cheese and veggies. So, that could be a factor in my gappy issue. I discussed this gappy issue in my second post replying to the first person who offered assistance. Not going into it here.

So, I adjusted my shoulder rest and chinrest to what I thought would help on FiddleDeeDee. It helped. I hope I don’t have to change out the chinrest because I absolutely love the Boxwood that is on it, but I might have to.

I went back to Rudoulf. I held it like I would want it to feel on the shoulder. I could not come up with anything to assist the holding in position. While holding it where it is comfortable, there is a gap. I had to ignore the gap and just play. The C and G, and the B stretch issues were lessened. I felt I had more control of the violin, other than I knew I had to hold it. My neck was not bent. I wouldn’t let myself do that. The angle and position on my shoulder released a lot of stretch and tightening of my arm because of the positioning.

I know this will not be a miracle cure to get me to hit my mark with those issues but, it did make it less “strenuous” when doing it. I am hoping that I can come up with some kind of setup that will fit my current needs with the two chinrests and two shoulder rests I ordered from Fiddlershop and think will arrive tomorrow. It will certainly help me get used to the proper positioning of the second finger for those notes, and the stretch for the B on the E string. I won’t be fighting the setup, I will be concentrating on my playing.

After I did all of that and played through the rough patches over and over, I then created my own little exercise.

I just kept going up and down the A string like this: Open A, B, C, C#, D, D, C#, C, B, open A. I did it slowly over and over paying attention to the sound and the movement of the second finger and its relationship to the B and D. I repeated this with the E string.

The next time I will do this, but will add this twist:

Open A, B, C, D and back down. Then Open A, B, C#, D and back down

This is so that I can get used to going to the C and C# directly from the B or D. I will do the same on the E string.

Does this make sense? I have forgone the martele bowing my instructor wanted me to do. I need to get those notes down pat first.

Tonight will be cello. I have an easier time with cello, at the moment. Subject to change without notice. 😂

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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September 15, 2019 - 11:07 pm
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@cid 
I apologize to have reiterated things you already know... I know you are aware of a lot of this...  Sometimes I write with the idea that many people could be reading this and may need to hear some of it.

cid said

I know this will not be a miracle cure to get me to hit my mark with those issues but, it did make it less “strenuous” when doing it. I am hoping that I can come up with some kind of setup that will fit my current needs with the two chinrests and two shoulder rests I ordered from Fiddlershop and think will arrive tomorrow. It will certainly help me get used to the proper positioning of the second finger for those notes, and the stretch for the B on the E string. I won’t be fighting the setup, I will be concentrating on my playing.

After I did all of that and played through the rough patches over and over, I then created my own little exercise.

It's a matter of reversing the tension which you have become used to.  Using better chin and shoulder rests will help this.  You can consciously concentrate on relaxing.  This will help to reverse the issue faster.

Does this make sense? I have forgone the martele bowing my instructor wanted me to do. I need to get those notes down pat first.

Yes, but make sure you can get to that bowing quickly.  You will be surprised how quickly you can do this.

- Pete -

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cid
September 16, 2019 - 7:42 am
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Pete_Violin said

I apologize to have reiterated things you already know... I know you are aware of a lot of this...  Sometimes I write with the idea that many people could be reading this and may need to hear some of it.

@Pete_Violin Not a problem at all. No apologies necessary. Many people newer to the violin than all of us are visiting this forum as guests. I don’t think it hurts to reiterate what you know the person you are responding to knows, for that exact reason. Other times, something the person you are responding to, may have forgotten that point. Good friendly reminder.

I appreciate all of the comments.

Sometimes, just talking through something will give me a solution. I call my sister periodically with questions I know she will not have the answer for. If I am trying to make my own pattern to sew, for example, and ai am not sure what I am doing will work. I hate diing something, only to have it not work. Waste of time and material. I will tell,her what I am trying to do, what my plan is and talk about it. She will say that she does not have a clue, she knows I know that. Talking it through with her, step-by-step allows me to picture it kore clearly. More often than not, I have changed my lan when we are done because I see a flaw in the plan.

I then thank her for her ear. She says she didn’t do anything. I say, Yes you did. You helped me talk it throughstep-by-step and I could see what I was actually doing.”

She will then say, “Okay. Whatever works for you,”

I tell her she is my muse. It s a cycle that is repeated over and over.

This is the same thing. I probably ask a lot of silly questions, but it is like my sister, asking the questions kind of paints the picture. 

So, no problem with saying the things most of us already know. Sometimes we forget, sometimes it helps others, and sometimes it helps in the discovery process. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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cid
September 16, 2019 - 10:15 am
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@Pete_Violin 

About the bowing. That was my first violin lesson with this instructor and hadn’t had many violin lessons before, and literally no useful ones. My instructor really gave me too much. He was used to my cello speed. That much would have been fine with my cello.

I really cannot get into “fancy” bowing until I can control my straight bowing. For me using that “fancy” bowing only hurts my learning to make my bowing straight and correct. Many don’t have issues with doing a couple things at one time, but I am not wired that way. I am very systematic and structured when I am trying to learn things. After I learn whatever it is, I can take off, but getting to that point is slow and systematic. 

I did not have a lot of issues with cello and it goes a bit fast, but violin, right now, is more of a challenge. I suspect that I am reaching a point in cello where I will have to slow down. I can feel it in the songs we are doing. I think it is because I had a lot of cello lessons a few years ago. I am beyond what I did then at this point and I can feel the need to slow cello down, too. If I have major issues with my cello assignments before my next lesson, I will let my instructor know.

It is just the way my learning operates. I can’t have a lot thrown at one time. Part is because I really need to get things down pat before I pile more on or I get defeated and  I get confused.

I am in no hurry. I am having fun, learning and keeping busy. If I am still at that learning stage when I can no longer play, that is fine. I am having fun.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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sf_bev
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September 16, 2019 - 9:55 pm
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@cid, It sounds like you're on the right track.  Any chance your teacher could help with shoulder rest adjustments/fittings?  I know you want this settled before your lesson, but ...

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cid
September 16, 2019 - 10:32 pm
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@sf_bev I actually received the two chinrests and 2 shoulder rests from Fiddlershop today. I have a setup that seems much more secure. I have boxed up the shoulder rest and chin rest I am not keeping to send back tomorrow. 

I was right with it being better for me with the low shoulder rest and 40mm chinrest. I was using it quite a bit today. Aside for my normal issue with getting the intonation right, the movements going to the C and G naturals is much easier. I no longer feel I need to keep my violin from falling. It has also helped with the B on the E string that was giving me issues. 

I am keeping my fingers crossed that it was not just due from it being different. 

I ended out with an extra tall Flesch (40 mm), and a Kun collapsible shoulder rest. I have the Kun as low as it will go at the shoulder and higher at the chest end. 

I am returning a 50 mm Flesch chin rest and Mach One Curly shoulder rest.

Thanks for asking and coming with assistance.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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September 16, 2019 - 10:44 pm
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Hey @cid 

I am so glad to hear this is working better for you!

- Pete -

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cid
September 17, 2019 - 6:52 am
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Thanks, @Pete_Violin. I hope it keeps up. Sometimes something new just seems better because it is different, so, I am keeping my fingers crossed that my neck doesn’t start getting sore, telling me the chinrest is too high.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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cid
September 17, 2019 - 7:14 pm
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Just an update. I was playing my violin a lot today. I do believe my new setup on my Rudoulf Doetsch is helping. I feel my violin is more secure, but not like it is superglued. 

My neck and shoulder, arm, wrist and fingers are now much more relaxed. I was a lot closer with those notes I have issues with, I no longer feel like the violin is going to hit the floor when I go for that B on the E string.

I still have work on intonation with the C on the A string and G on the E string, but it was much better today because I was not struggling with my violin.

I am using the collapsible Kun Bravo shoulder rest with the Flesch Flat Center Mount 40 mm chin rest. For me, with this violin, the higher chin rest and low shoulder rest seems to help. Maybe the center of gravity is lower and it makes it feel more secure?

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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September 17, 2019 - 7:18 pm
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@cid - For these intervals practice putting down the 1st and 2nd fingers down together and tight up against each other. The difference from a B natural and C natural is only a half step. Same thing with the G natural and F#, just a half step.
Your other intervals are

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

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cid
September 17, 2019 - 7:36 pm
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@Fiddlerman Oh, get used to putting them down at the same time, not one at a time? I have been putting first finger down, then the second finger on C, but then lifting that first finger up because it is in the way. On the way down from the D to the C, (in this song the B follows that C sometimes) I put the second finger down for the C and hope I got it close enough to the B.

But, if I put the B down with the C and the B is hitting right, the C will be right or at least a lot closer than I get now. Doesn’t it matter how wide your fingers are? That is one thing that puzzles me. I went through that with poor Pete.

What confuses me is that I have no issue with the C# and D. I never paid attention, but maybe the C# is not at close to the third finger D. 

I am also thinking that this has been such an issue since way back in January, right before the other violin lessons ended. We had just started this very song. I have been working in it on my own since then. Now this instructor picked it the first lesson. I could not believe it. I should have ripped that page out of book. LOL I like the melody, though.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 18, 2019 - 8:50 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I suppose you have a point. Why is it easy for you to play C# and D but not B and C.
Just the fact that you know about this means that you will work it out. Awareness is half the problem. 🙂

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

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cid
September 18, 2019 - 9:21 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 1462
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@Fiddlerman When I was playing this afternoon for two hours, most of it with this song or exercises to play those notes and use that fingering, it went better. It was improved when I quit. I was doing as was suggested, I out both the firat and second finger down at the same time repeatedly for a long time. It really helped. I still have issues, but most of the time I am in target or a lot closer than I was.

I was also working in the stretch to B on the E and back to the G natural. 

I also got down the FiddleDeeDee and worked on a song I am doing on my own, not a lesson song, The Irish Rover, definitely a FiddleDeeDee song. It is in C, so there are no flats or sharps. There are also a lot of C’s on A, F’s on D string and G on E. So that was a lot of those fingering issues. A lot of the C’s were with the B. That went better today, also.

Felt like I made great progress today.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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