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dean- vibrato problems
Not able to vibrate on d or g string
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
October 10, 2014 - 12:59 pm
Member Since: October 9, 2014
Forum Posts: 3
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Hi it's dean again, I've never been on a forum before, so I didn't know how to respond to others who responded to my earlier post, so I started a new post. I apologize if I'm not doing this correctly. In my earlier post I said I was not able to vibrate using the first finger on the d and g string.,1st position. I know what the problem is, it's not how I'm holding the violin etc. I just can't bring my left elbow closer towards my right side enough, plus my left wrist won't turn enough to let me come over the top more to clear the finger board .If I do manage to hold the violin and clear the finger board, I can only hold this position for at most ,a minute before my elbow and wrist joint feel like there going to explode.  I'm 60 years old, I played quit a lot earlier in life.and have started playing again for about a month. I was hoping to hear from others who may have had this same problem but found over time maybe the joints  will loosen up a bit? I practice holding the violin with the first finger on the d and g string maybe 20 times a day for a minute or so, hoping over time maybe the elbow and wrist joints will loosen up a bit? Do you think I'm wasting my time?  As I mentioned earlier, I have 2 daughters who have never played the violin who can easily  hold the violin and touch the 2 outside strings with the first finger and clear the fingerboard with no stress or tension.  

Thanks :dean

California, the place of my heart
October 10, 2014 - 1:09 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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I see what you are saying Dean.  Welcome to the forum.   It is nice to have you.  I would think that over a bit of time you will be able to loosen up and get to the position  you need to achieve for your vibrato.  

Good luck... and welcome. 

I surely do not think you are wasting your time.  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Honorary tenured advisor

October 10, 2014 - 1:40 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 973
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Welcome to the forum Dean.  For replying, down at the bottom after the last post, there's a button that says "Add Reply" that will allow you to respond to the thread.  Inside the box around each post there is also a button near the top of the box that says, "Quote", this button will include a copy of what the other person said, and then you can type in your response below the quoted text.

With regard to your vibrato issue, first, I wouldn't put that at the top of "The most important things to be able to do with a violin" list.  However, I think you have hit on the answer to the problem yourself -- You said: "...it's not how I'm holding the violin etc."  I'm guessing that it is, since you go on to say that you can't lower your elbow enough.  So the first thing to do is review how you are holding the violin.  Look over there ==>, on the right sidebar, under Pages and look at the first tutorial on "Holding the violin."  Make sure that you can and do hold the violin as it shows in the video tutorial.  My guess is that you're going to have to adjust the way you are holding the instrument.  Let's go through the physical list of abilities required first.

First, allow you arms to hang naturally against the side of your body.  If you can accomplish this, then your left shoulder is not going to be the problem. 

Second, with your arm hanging near your side bring your forearm up and touch your shoulder with your hand.  If you can do that, the left elbow is probably not the problem.  

Next, try forming a circle by touching the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb.  If you can do that, and the circle is larger than the neck of a violin, then you have plenty of room to get your hand away from the neck for vibrato.

With your hand still forming a circle and pressing the finger tip lightly against the thumb tip, straighten your thumb and watch the first knuckle of your middle finger move, then move it back to form a circle again.  Do the same with each finger.  If each knuckle moves without pain, then you have the necessary finger flexibility to do vibrato.  

Hold your hand up and move it from side to side and forward and backward, if you can do this without much pain, then you have the wrist flexibility to do vibrato.

If you can do all of the things above, the issue is simply one of learning the proper technique, not one of physical ability.  Vibrato is not easy.  Do not expect it to be learned quickly, but if you do it with improper technique, expect it to take forever. 

I'm 64 and there are folks here in their 70's. Most of that crowd, and me included, have pretty creaky joints. Welcome to the arthritic, but still rockin' group.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

California, the place of my heart
October 10, 2014 - 1:44 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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Wow.. thank you Uzi!

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

October 11, 2014 - 11:18 am
Member Since: October 9, 2014
Forum Posts: 3
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Thanks for the advise. The problem seems to be I seem to have kind of stubby fingers for a man. When I make that circle with middle finger and thumb you talk about , to clear the fingerboard needed for vibrato ,especially on g and d string, it causes a lot of tension in my thumb,fingers and arm,which causes everything to tighten up, not being relaxed as needed.  I'm sure either the wrist joint or elbow joint aren't flexible enough to allow me to come over the top more. To maybe people like your self and others who can easily clear the fingerboard for vibrato on these 2 strings , it would be like adding 2 more strings to the left of the g string (6 string violin ?) and you people having to reach these strings and still have clearance under the pointer finger and the fingerboard . It's kind of stupid analogy, but that's the only way to describe my problem. Clearing the fingerboard on the d string is very uncomfortable, but clearing the g string is even worse. Anyway, I started spending  5 minutes every hour  holding the violin with the necessary clearance even though it hurts my wrist and elbow a bit, hoping things maybe after 6 months or a year loosen up enough to clear the fboard and vibrate properly. I guess the worst thing that could happen ,is ill never vibrate properly with my first and second finger on the g and d, (third and fourth fingers are ok) , Anyway, people are probably tired of reading about my finger problems by now,so thanks for your advise, and I'll let you know later how my training works out!

thanks :dean

Honorary advisor

October 11, 2014 - 1:05 pm
Member Since: September 19, 2013
Forum Posts: 234
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Hey Dean ,

I'd like to help if i can ...please hold yer left arm , elbow to yer body , palm up , arm out in front of you ...no fiddle , wrist streaght .  In this position all yer tendons are too tight fer fingering the D and G strings much less vibrato ...

So , bend yer wrist ...and keep it bent while playing ....at the start of each line , check to see it is still bent ...play in front of a mirror and have a look as well ...

Hope this helps ...have fun ..violin-1267IMG_2633.JPGImage Enlarger

 IMG_2632.JPGImage Enlarger

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Fort Lauderdale
October 11, 2014 - 1:21 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16062

Hey dean,

There is also a button under each topic called "Subscribe". If you press on that button for ever thread you want to be updated on, and your email address and settings are correct (default), you will receive an email notifying you of new posts.

Thanks everyone for your great explanations.

Dean, if because of stiffness caused by age you are not able to bring the elbow enough under the instrument you can try something that I don't often recommend because it's not the optimal position concerning balance and gravity, which is to turn your violin clockwise.

And NOOOO, you are not wasting your time unless you don't feel it's worth the effort. Learning an instrument should be fun as well as a challenge. If you can be happy with baby steps (as long as they are forward) you can enjoy learning and playing. Perhaps no Paganini in your future but fun simple music shouldn't be a problem. I've known violinists who have started at all ages with various hinders and still become quite proficient at playing the type of music that they feel gives them satisfaction. :)

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

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