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Left thumb
Something I think a lot about ..
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (13 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 24, 2023 - 5:55 pm
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I went over the Violin Lab Vibrato video again, then watched several of her other Left Hand-related videos.  One important point she makes in all of those videos, she expects the violin to be completely immobilized between the shoulder & head with a shoulder rest - absolutely no weight or effect on the left hand, so the thumb & fingers are completely free to move. 

Unfortunately, having my violin/viola locked in one place is not feasible for me.  I'm working on more instrument stability at the moments I need it most - some kind of compromise. 

Great new help with this Left Thumb topic in the Fourth Finger Thread!

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AndrewH
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January 24, 2023 - 7:41 pm
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I don't advocate completely immobilizing the instrument between your head and shoulders. But it should be possible to free the left hand while still allowing your left thumb to hold some weight. The challenge, though, is that your thumb needs to be firm in one direction (vertically) but flexible in others (rotationally). In the vibrato motion, the contact point between thumb and neck acts as a pivot point.

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Gordon Shumway
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January 27, 2023 - 3:43 am
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John Hartford

Image-John_Hartford_playing_at_Merlefest%2C_North_Carolina_%282000%29-fls.jpgImage Enlarger

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ELCBK
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January 27, 2023 - 8:23 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

If you watch John Hartford play you'll see he has HUGE HANDS, let's the neck rest all the way down in the crook of the thumb & doesn't need to move his hand because his fingers reach across all strings just fine!  ...don't think he ever uses vibrato - have you ever seen him use it?

Back to 12:54 in the OP video with Tobiah Murphy, the Fourth Finger Thread - find the hand position that works for your own type of hand. 

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Gordon Shumway
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January 28, 2023 - 1:39 am
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I posted the Hartford photo because of the way the thumb is nowhere near the scroll, not because of how much it sticks up. Also I thought his bow looked instructive.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway
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September 29, 2023 - 2:48 am
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Sorry I haven't been around much; and most of this autumn I shall be away on family business.

Someone on VCom posted this as a perfect lesson on how to use your left thumb, and I agree. (I joked that some of it requires the violin to be velcroed to your shoulder pad, but someone didn't get the joke)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....qX-BYLhhqk

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ELCBK
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September 29, 2023 - 12:05 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

That's a very helpful video - thank you! 

Hadn't heard of Ida Haendel before - she was a remarkable woman, totally immersed in her violin.  There's 2 interesting documentaries about her on YT. 

Wish I could get my arm under my violin like that!  It's torture, unless I'm bent over or holding the scroll above my head!  Not so sure I'd have an easier time of it even if I could play standing up... might as well learn to juggle while I'm at it. 🙄 

 

Related thread: https://fiddlerman.com/forum/l.....mb/page-3/

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Gordon Shumway
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October 4, 2023 - 10:00 am
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ELCBK said
 Wish I could get my arm under my violin like that!  It's torture, 

I tried some arm-stretching a couple of weeks ago without a violin and really hurt my left shoulder bending my left elbow under, so anything like that should be done with thought and care and probably with a violin to limit how far you stretch.

Andrew

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