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Trouble with vibrato
Learn vibrato
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
October 9, 2014 - 6:33 pm
Member Since: October 9, 2014
Forum Posts: 3
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I started playing the violin when I was 21 ,played for 10 years,but never leaned the proper technics for a proper vibrato. Having watched do's and don'ts about vibrato ,it clear to get rid of that "death grip" with the left hand as some instructors call it. I'm 60 yo now ,and on my bucket list is to developer a nice vibrato, even if it takes several years. Here's the problem, no matter how hard I try,it's almost impossible in the first position to maintain ANY clearance between inside of first finger and fingerboard on the "d" string,without feeling a ton of stress or tension . I have 3 daughters ,so for a experiment I asked my 25 yo, if she could hold the violin and touch the e on the d string with her first finger. She easily did it with a lot of clearance and no stress, same with the 28yo,, her first finger easily could do the same. With the 30 yo, she was the same as me,there was no way she could hold the first finger on the d, without she said, " she felt her elbow was going to come apart". Do you think there are people like me whose wrist or elbow joints prevent them from vibrating on the lower d and g strings.? . I thought if I spent a1/2 hr a day just holding the violin with my first finger on the e on the d string ( even though it kills my arm and elbow) maybe eventually my joints might loosen up enough to get some clearance? I would hate to have a nice vibrato everywhere else, but scared to play any long notes on the lower g and d. Do you think I am wasting my time hoping my arm will configure itself?
Thanks; dean Wittick

King for a Day, Peasant for many

October 9, 2014 - 9:08 pm
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1815
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Welcome to the group (err. family) Dean...

It's never a waste. I started two years ago and just celebrated my 59th year here. With any luck I will be able to play a dozen tunes by the time I'm finished and move on.


Work with it and play what you got... If you can't stretch those notes right now, who knows that maybe in a year or two you'll be able to then!

I know I found muscles I never knew I had when I first started playing.


Give it hell and change the genre of music to suit your abilities, that's what I've done.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

October 9, 2014 - 9:31 pm
Member Since: September 17, 2014
Forum Posts: 47
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Hi Dean,

So you were 21 and played for 10 years, and then stopped, and now your 60.

How long have you been playing for now?

The death grip is for sure a terrible thing and it will kill any possibility to vibrate.

Now you wrote that there is no clearance between the inside of your first finger and the neck/fingerboard when you play on the 'D' string.

I take it that the same is true on the 'G' string as well?

Naturally it is real hard for me to diagnose your problem without looking at the way you are standing and holding your fiddle, but I am guessing that your fingers are too low or being inpeded by the position of it.

Watch some old videos of Milstein or Heifetz (YouTube) where the camera zooms in on their left hand and you will see how high the wrist and fingers are. This gives greater freedom to the fingers to move rapidly and vibrate in all positions on all strings.

Also notice how they position their fiddles, this has much to do with giving the left had the freedom to do what it has to do Dean.

Hope this is of some help.



P.S. Dean ask someone to take a photo of you holding you violin and attach it to your reply please.

Fort Lauderdale
October 9, 2014 - 10:08 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15722

Welcome to the forum Dean,

Yes, a picture would be very helpful in diagnosing your issue.

Is it difficult for you to bring your elbow further under the violin? If you can accomplish this even a little bit, it will bring your fingers closer to the fingerboard and lower strings. If possible, try to use the tips of your fingers for more clearance. Also, check where the violin neck is resting between your first finger and thumb. It's possible that you could let it slip down a bit more to allow more length....

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

California, the place of my heart
October 10, 2014 - 1:25 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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 Thanks Pierre....that makes sense and seems like a good option for some extra reach.

I love all the questions, they all help me have a better foundation and learn also.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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