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Vibrato-fingers slip and slide
When doing vibrato, fingers slip and slide...could it be the strings or fingerboard?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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dillon
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April 28, 2021 - 8:04 pm
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Hi,
Beginner on the violin...trying to teach myself, with the aid of youtube videos, etc.
When I try to do arm vibrato, I find that I have to press down fairly hard to prevent my fingers from slipping and sliding. But pressing down inhibits the flexibility of my fingers.
If I do the same thing on top of the violin, sort of like in this video at around 5:00, but without a towel,

I can move back and forth easily, and my finger stays put. Is this normal, and I just need to keep practicing? Or could the strings or fingerboard be exacerbating the problem. I am using an inexpensive violin (Cecilio) with presumably cheap strings.
Thanks for any help.

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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April 28, 2021 - 9:11 pm
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It's hard to say. I would suspect it may have something to do with how you're holding the violin, or the way you've positioned your wrist. Pictures or video would help in diagnosing the problem.

It's possible that violin setup could be a problem. Inexpensive violins are often shipped without proper setup work being done; it's very common for the bridge to be too high, which makes it harder for the fingers to stop the strings.

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Gordon Shumway
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April 29, 2021 - 1:25 am
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How long have you been learning the violin, Dillon?

Andrew

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Jim Dunleavy
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April 29, 2021 - 2:35 am
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If you're a beginner, it's not advisable to learn vibrato yet - it's an advanced technique and can mess up the process of learning the basics (e.g. bowing and getting the right pitch when you stop a string).

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Gordon Shumway
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April 29, 2021 - 2:49 am
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Well, I wanted to wait a little before saying it, Jim.

Dillon,

a ragbag of suggestions: -

there are many Youtube videos on many subjects. Some of them talk forever and say nothing. That woman you found, if this is part two of a series, should probably be ditched for someone more succinct to whom you should stick.

My two recommendations would be Fiddlerman and Nicola Benedetti. (and perhaps Itzhak Perlman, but he doesn't tend to be methodical, unless I missed those videos)

The combination of beginner AND (badly interpreted) "arm" vibrato could well be fatal.

(I have my own ideas about vibrato, but they conflict with Pierre's. Otoh, I spent 6 months practising diaphragm vibrato on the oboe every day in 1979, so I'm not totally without understanding from experience)

Get a teacher. Stance, for example, is very important, and you will lack self-awareness, which videos can never teach.

Don't learn vibrato before you have perfect intonation, is a rule of thumb I have seen.

Andrew

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stringy
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April 29, 2021 - 5:05 pm
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All the above have said it all. I am not qualified to give advice about vibrato, but if you have only recently started playing, within the last year, I would say dont watch you tube violin progress videos as the vast majority are economical with the length of time they have really been playing, and can give false ideas of the length of time it really takes to learn things, which puts people off playing when they find they dont skip along at the same pace as the video uploaders. I have watched people on there who play in fifth position, with beautiful vibrato and hand and arm movement, having no problem at all with advanced music that takes years and years to learn, and claiming its six months progress from complete novice.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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ELCBK
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April 30, 2021 - 5:12 am
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@dillon -

Just keep at it, slowly - and try to relax your hand and fingers. 

Don't get frustrated! 

Don't give up!

It does seem to take a very long time for most of us to get the hang of vibrato. 

My left hand needed to be reminded it can flex at the 1st joint without messing with the other joints.  I am getting old and my joints aren't very flexible anymore. 

I have even held the tip of my finger and watched myself move my hand so only that joint moves - just to focus on what that feels like, before moving my hand into position on the fingerboard. 

Your fingers WILL slip to begin with.  When they have stopped slipping, try to remember vibrato originates at the tone, then fades back lower in pitch - this is important, too. 

Once you can do it with all your fingers - slowly - try a scale, then move on to a few notes in a short etude or tune.  Slow the whole thing down at first. 

Strings and fingerboard don't have anything to do with vibrato - since you don't even need to press the string all the way down to stop it from vibrating. 

Don't expect miracles in days or weeks and you won't be disappointed, but I think it's good to try to get a jump on this - as early as possible!

You'll get it!  🤗 

 

https://www.lanesboro.lib.mn.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/cat_fiddle.jpg

 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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April 30, 2021 - 5:43 am
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"Don't give up" is excellent advice if it refers to violin playing, but not so good if it refers to bad habits.

There are two kinds of vibrato - vibrato on a single note, and vibrato over a slow legato phrase that is continuous from note to note - no hesitation in the vibrato, no hesitation in the notes of the phrase. If a beginner spends a lot of time trying to master vibrato on a single note, it may hamper the more important ability to learn to play a slow legato phrase.

Any negativity in this thread will be a matter for Dillon to interpret according to their own progress and ability and not take it to heart.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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April 30, 2021 - 6:31 am
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@dillon -

The 1st page of this thread has some videos that may be of interest to you about exercises for vibrato and more advice - even some from Fiddlerman! 

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/p.....-anyone/ 

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dillon
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April 30, 2021 - 4:54 pm
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I very much appreciate all the advice and recommendations from all of you!

Thank you.

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Fiddlerman
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May 24, 2021 - 3:25 pm
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I've mentioned this before but it's very definitely worth keeping in mind. Dry fingers slide too easily and especially for a student just learning to play vibrato, it's important that your fingers don't slide too easily on the fingerboard. When my fingers were super dry, I would use a not greasy hand lotion. That helps.

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

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
May 25, 2021 - 1:55 pm
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Interesting tip @Fiddlerman.

Strangely enough, when I was playing guitar, especially with long slides and high up the fretboard, for long periods of time, I found I had to actually dry my fingers ( I would result to dipping them in talcum powder) - but - it's a different instrument, different technique, different wound strings, and a significantly less-smooth finger/fret board.

I'm on board though with the not-too-dry fingers on fiddle/violin (not that my technique, genres or fingerboard excursions put over-much demand in that respect, but yep, I get that!  Cool !)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Gordon Shumway
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May 27, 2021 - 6:54 am
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I was just wondering - I've not had a problem with sliding around on the fingerboard (my main problem was that the vibrato affected my bowing), but I wonder if it's because I learnt classical guitar for a few years 10 years ago and developed vibrato then.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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September 8, 2021 - 11:24 am
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Can you chew gum and walk at the same time Gordon. ;)

It's all about getting in the habit of doing it. Your left hand will only be affected by vibrato in the beginning. You'll get past that.

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

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