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Third finger on A string
Intonation?
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RDP
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November 19, 2021 - 4:44 pm
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When I first start practicing I can play all 4 fingers on the A string and get good ringing tones.  But, after about 15 minutes, my 3rd finger suddenly starts to sound like wind over a bottle mouth - whooooooo.

I swear I'm putting my finger down in the same spot as I always do, but it just changes and goes hollow sounding.  If I mash the string I can get some tone back, but not much.  I've tried different finger positions and still can't seem to get good sounding tone.

All the other fingers are fine, just that one.  I've tried to watch to see if I'm slurring with the D string, but I can't tell and dropping my elbow definitely brings in a slur with the E string.

What am I doing wrong?

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Mouse
November 19, 2021 - 5:54 pm
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Maybe, you are just tired out after 15 minutes causing the third finger to lose strength?  If you could post a video that we can see that, it might help. Show the bowing etc, but that part of the fingering. Not sure if it is possible. 

Also, does it happen on other strings? 

Just trying to think of things other members might ask or suggest to help you get this solved quickly. 😁

The Bumblebee Flies!

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RDP
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November 19, 2021 - 7:18 pm
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I only have my phone to take videos with.  Not sure where I can upload it other than YouTube.

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ELCBK
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November 19, 2021 - 7:49 pm
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@RDP -

Don't think it's a good idea for me to guess at this, because it could be your bowing. 

It's really very easy to use YouTube for videos and make it so NO one can see them unless you give the link.  ...and it doesn't cost anything. 

Just sign into YouTube and "share" your video from your photo.  It will be on your "Channel" - which you can keep private (that's what I do).

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RDP
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November 20, 2021 - 4:51 pm
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Here's a link to a video on YouTube.  You can hear it start on the downbow at about 25 seconds.  The howl got worse from this point and I had to quit practicing because it was getting me frustrated.

My bowing sucks.  TBH, it's the first time I've played "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" so that's part of the reason it's so awful sounding but not the entire reason.

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ELCBK
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November 20, 2021 - 5:52 pm
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@RDP -

GREAT! 

It's because you slowed your bowing down, right there. 

Just practice keeping your bow moving at a good, consistent speed for a bit - try to keep it going, even during the time you look to where you place your next finger.  This exercise may sound wrong, but will help you start to learn that your hands must work independently, as well as together - especially for smooth transitions. 

Your bow hair is too tight. 

While you are drawing the bow parallel to the bridge, try also tilting the bow slightly away from you, for a nicer sound.  Save full-hair contact for when you want strong emphasis - tilt the bow the rest of the time.  You can practice alternating these - one way up bow, other on down bow, then switch. 

Very helpful that you were able to get a video up.  

 

 

Thank you for sharing your progress - you ARE doing GREAT!

- Emily

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Mark
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November 20, 2021 - 6:41 pm
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RDP

I may be wrong, but I believe you bow is bouncing.

I've had the same issue before tensing up my bow arm causing the bow to bounce.

Might take a look a this video and see if it make sense.

Mark

 

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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RDP
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November 20, 2021 - 6:45 pm
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I get more bounce if I take tension out of the bow hair.  My shoulder is down and I'm trying to lead with my hand rather than push the bow, but I still have horrible bounce and quavering.  It's better than it was, but it's still really bad.

 

I will work on getting a consistent bow speed.  Hopefully that gets rid of the hollow echo.  I can take fingernails on a chalkboard, but that sound makes me cringe.

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RDP
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November 20, 2021 - 6:50 pm
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Mark said
RDP

I may be wrong, but I believe you bow is bouncing.

I've had the same issue before tensing up my bow arm causing the bow to bounce.

Might take a look a this video and see if it make sense.

Mark

 

  

I watched that video and it helped but I still have bounce issues.  Worse, if you watch the video you'll see that it only happens sometimes and usually starts at the heel rather than at about 2/3rds up the bow like "most people."  Which goes to show that I'm not like "most people."  But then I'm learning to play the violin so that's a given.

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ELCBK
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November 20, 2021 - 7:34 pm
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@RDP -

Maybe this will help - addresses the possible issues of bow speed, not tilting the bow & over-tightening the bow, etc... 😊 

Can't see you bowing hand all the time, so also check to see if your thumb & pinky are curved - your hand, all relaxed.

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Mark
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November 20, 2021 - 8:33 pm
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RPD,

My big issue I was tightening my tricep and a death grip on the bow.

I'm programed to grip and hold on tight to tools, chain saws, ropes etc. Being delicate, well was not something in my tool box of tools.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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RDP
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November 21, 2021 - 3:38 pm
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Well, after recording and playing back a ton of videos (which included a lot of fumbling, all kinds of wrong fingering, and an unmentionable amount of swearing) from all kinds of different angles, I figured it out.

 

The wind over a bottle sound starts when I begin sliding the bow along the strings rather than across them.  The more I play, the worse it gets.  Which is why it starts after a few minutes and then progresses downhill from there.

The bow bouncing is something I'm going to have to work on.  I'm certain that everything is connected to my lousy bowing technique and that I'll eventually get beyond it only to discover the next problem that frustrates my efforts to learn this.

 

Right now, I'm feeling very frustrated with myself.

 

@ELCBK I did watch the video, none of the suggestions changed a thing.  I think my bow is just too lively for someone at my level of playing ability/control.

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Jim Dunleavy
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November 22, 2021 - 4:51 am
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If it's any help, I had tremendous problems with shaky bow on down bows for quite a while after I started learning.

I almost never have a problem with it now, although the more stress I'm feeling (e.g. video camera going, people listening etc), the more likely it is to happen; it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be though and even when it does happen, you can't really tell if you're just watching the video back - it's only apparent to me while I'm playing.

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RDP
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November 22, 2021 - 3:18 pm
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Jim Dunleavy said
If it's any help, I had tremendous problems with shaky bow on down bows for quite a while after I started learning.

I almost never have a problem with it now, although the more stress I'm feeling (e.g. video camera going, people listening etc), the more likely it is to happen; it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be though and even when it does happen, you can't really tell if you're just watching the video back - it's only apparent to me while I'm playing.

  

To me it's very frustrating even though it follows what happens most of the time when I try something new.  No matter what it is, Beginners Luck helps me get a passing grade for the first or second time.  Then it all falls apart.

I do need to talk to my doctor about meds for my tremors.  I'm certain they're contributing to the shaky bow problem.  Not sure if they're also partly to blame for sliding the bow along the strings part but it probably doesn't help.  It might be that I'm tensing my thumb to try and eliminate the bouncing and that's what starts the sliding.  The more I try to prevent it, the stiffer my hand/thumb gets and that just makes everything worse.  Which is a reasonable working theory at the very least.

 

I also noticed that I'm dropping the scroll below level with my shoulder.  Which certainly helps the bow start sliding around.  So, maybe Mouse was partly right, I'm  getting tired about the time it starts.

 

Even though I'm frustrated at all the self inflicted problems which have jumped up and bit me on the butt, I still want to play and learn.  To that effect I'm going to step back a lesson and keep at it until I can play without errors (other than the shaky bow) at tempo before returning to the current lesson and moving on.  I also need to spend more time on bowing.

A good grounding in the basics is what I need to concentrate on.

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JohnG
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November 22, 2021 - 6:01 pm
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@RDP - Funny (not haha) you should mention tremors. I was thinking of posting about them as I sometimes, mostly when very tired or after doing physically challenging (which doesn't take much with this old man) activities, have tremors which almost makes it sound like vibrato though not controlled. I know it's not bow bounce as I can see that the hairs never leave the strings.

I hope meds can help you. For me, I just put up with it, the relatively infrequent times it manifests itself or if it is too bad, discontinue practicing for that session.

The old curmudgeon!

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RDP
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November 23, 2021 - 10:58 am
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JohnG said
@RDP - Funny (not haha) you should mention tremors. I was thinking of posting about them as I sometimes, mostly when very tired or after doing physically challenging (which doesn't take much with this old man) activities, have tremors which almost makes it sound like vibrato though not controlled. I know it's not bow bounce as I can see that the hairs never leave the strings.

I hope meds can help you. For me, I just put up with it, the relatively infrequent times it manifests itself or if it is too bad, discontinue practicing for that session.

  

It's part of the physical challenges I'm trying to overcome.  I used to do watch repair as a hobby but can't now because of how badly I tremble.  There are loads of funny stories about how people refuse to "lend a hand" sometimes because of fear for the safety of their own fingers.

 

Yesterday's practice session was much better.  I originally limited it to 30 minutes instead of an hour but stopped after 20 on the high note of being able to reliably repeat the string change from E to D (3 fingers on A) in Twinkle without looking at my fingers.  I still need more work on it, as well as finding the 4th finger E on the A string without looking, but maybe in a week I'll get there.

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RDP
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November 29, 2021 - 5:15 pm
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More research and more daily practice with videos to review and I've discovered that what's happening is a well known phenomenon with Cellos and Basses but it does happen with Violas and Violins too.

Wolf tones.

They're unwanted harmonics from the instrument which upset the harmonics from the strings.

I put (for now) a home made wolf tone killer on the A string and it's better but still there because it's home made and I have no specs to match a commercial one.  Amazingly enough, with it in place my playing has improved almost immediately because I'm not hunting for the proper finger position any longer.  I was actually playing the correct note but the howl from the wolf tone was making it sound like I wasn't.  My sliding the bow along the strings was me hunting for a place on the strings to put the bow and it was making the howl worse but it wasn't the answer to getting rid of it.  With the wolf tone killer on the A string, I'm not doing that as much as I used to.  (Although I think I learned a bad habit that needs fixed because I'm sometimes playing well down on the fingerboard and scrubbing the bow on the edge of the violin case.  Sloppy bowing is what that's called and I'm guilty of it.)

 

I will eventually talk to a luthier about fixing it permanently if it doesn't go away as the violin gets worked into its final tone, but for now I'm back to improving instead of getting frustrated.  My bowing is getting better too because I'm not constantly trying to fix a non-existent problem with "me" even though I'm still bouncing a lot.  Dr's. appt on the 8th and I'll talk to him about meds for my tremors.

 

Currently working on "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" and I can make the string change from E0 to A3 without slurring on the D string 3 out of 4 times.  That's a "win" right?

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Mark
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November 29, 2021 - 8:58 pm
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RDP

Sounds like a win win to me,

Grats on finding the issue, never thought about a wolf tone there.

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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