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depends how big your hands are, if i play b flat I can quite easily hit c sharp without moving my thumb. generally I would have thought if you move your thumb you will alter your hand frame, which in turn alters your reference point for hitting other notes. Dontknow if you are still using tapes, but if you are once you remove them you will have no muscle memory and will be playing the violin somewhat like a guitar. you usually move your thumb in tandem with yout whole hand when shifting position. If I understand your question you will essentially be playing in second position, but I no nothing really and could quite easily be wrong.
Just to be clear, being a woman does not necessarily mean you have smaller hands and should alter things because you are a woman. My hands are large, probably as large as many men. Many men have smaller hands, also. So, adjustments made to playing may have to be altered from the normal way to suit your body build, no matter if you are a woman or man.
Just pointing it out because in another endeavor from years ago, someone made a statement similar about women being smaller simply because they are women, and two women decided they just couldn’t do it the normal way because they were women, not realizing, they most certainly could, took a while. It is body size, flexibility, etc, not whether you are a woman or a man. Wow, that was years ago, not even sure what I was doing. @elcbk, you brought up a partial memory that is now bugging me. 😂
Anyway, @katie m, not trying to get off your topic, that was more for other people who may read this question. You have already stated you are of smaller stature. Please don’t respond with a comment about my comment. Just had to speak up because of that past expetince.
Back to your topic Katie m. Very good question, by the way. I have thumb issues with my cello. Amazing how the thumb position makes a difference.
Cello, Violin, and Viola Time!
I find that my thumb needs to be nimble and constantly to be moving to wherever it's most comfortable and following the rest of the hand, not leading it. When it gets stuck, my whole hand gets stuck and stretches will be uncomfortable. Either Galamian or Fischer says, don't reach from the first finger up to the little finger, reach down from the little finger to the first. Whatever you do, let the thumb obey, not command.
To get the stretches the best way is to play scales, (b flat in this case, ) first finger b flat, second finger c third finger d fourth finger e flat, you also need to relax your hand, cant state how important this is.
It must be difficult for you, I tend to forget what its like starting to use your left hand on a string instrument because I have been doing it for so long with other instruments, for me the stretches are very easy, its just getting the notes in tune I find hard lol.
Like everything else you will get used to it, if you feel any cramp or strain, stop and place your hand palm down splayed out fingers on a flat surface like a table its very relaxing and is what guitarists for instance do when they are learning, stick at it you are getting there and will make it, you have the determination which is half the battle won
WARNING: The author of this response bears no responsibility for damage done to your instrument if you decide to do what she does. Please consult with a qualified luthier before making any modifications to your own instrument.
I have found over the years that I do not like the feeling of a lacquered neck, and they always tend to feel 'sticky' to me. This is the same on my guitars also.
If they do have a sticky feel, I sand the neck down to a satin finish, and it feels much more comfortable playing, and no more thumb sticky. :D. I have done this to many guitars, and even did it to a violin decades ago. Luckily, my Fiddlerman Soloist already has a great satin feel, but I might do this to my NS WAV 4. I do not sand all the way down to the wood, just enough to take the poly or nitro down to a silky satin finish.
Just something to think about, it might be the instrument, and why fight something that can be fixed? Nitro finishes will wear down of years of playing on their own, a poly finish never will.
I am fairly certain it does nothing to help the resale value of an instrument, another thing to keep in mind.
And it still won't help with a death grip (not saying you have one) but it does make it easier to move.
I'm pretty sure that moving your thumb about while playing in a single position is frowned on badly. You need to find a position for your thumb where you can reach all the notes in the position you're using.
For small hands, this will be somewhere opposite where your middle finger goes (according to online videos I've seen anyway - I have pretty massive hands so I don't have a problem even with my thumb near the first finger).
And is your wrist straight? If it is bent so that you are cradling the violin neck in the palm of your hand, the thumb will usually be up against the scroll, and many stretches will be difficult. Mental effort is needed to straighten the wrist and adjust the hand shape for the required stretches and then accommodate the thumb accordingly.