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Wrist Issues, Suggestions?
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soulkeeper
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February 27, 2018 - 1:37 pm
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I am new to violin, 48 yrs of age.  I just received it a month ago, I've done a few online lessons, basic open string and position exercises.

My issue is, my left wrist simply will not turn as needed to reach the low G string.  Even when I twist it, I get maybe 2 fingers to hit the string with enough to make sound.

I am doing some simply stretching where I bend my hand up (think hands together in prey position) and one where I bend my wrist down (upside down L).  Up is not hard, and is making small progress, down in darn right painful.

Do I just need time, different exercises, or am I going to need to learn an adapted way to play?  I'm not looking to join the Philharmonic here, I just want to enjoy playing.

Thanks for any help at all.

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JamesRSmithJr
New Jersey, USA
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February 27, 2018 - 3:26 pm
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Are you moving your left elbow?  Swings to the right to get to the G and the left to get to the E ? 

To play a wrong note is insignificant;  To play without passion is inexcusable.  - Ludwig van Beethoven 

 My journey began on Aug 3 2017

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Bella86
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February 27, 2018 - 3:28 pm
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Are you moving your elbow in under the violin when playing on G and D string? This is necessary to reach and place the fingers right on the strings. The palm should be facing the neck of the violin, wrist still straight. Shouldn't need to turn it more than that. Or are you not at all able to turn your hand like that?

Photos would help.

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soulkeeper
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February 27, 2018 - 4:28 pm
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I am moving, but maybe not properly. 

@Bella86 I know you're comment meant pictures from me, but what might help is a picture of how I "should be" moving. 

I was told to put my thumb under the center of the neck, and to not use "gypsy palm" which was described as cupping the violin neck in the U of my palm.

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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February 28, 2018 - 11:02 am
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Pictures, or even a video, would help us give you more tips 🙂 

 
Make sure you are swinging your elbow, for example you would swing your elbow back, under the G string to better play the E and A strings, and swing it forward, out to the direction of the E string to better reach the D and G strings. 
 
Your set up with how you have your violin positioned on your shoulder could also come into play, if you have it set too high. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 13, 2018 - 3:14 pm
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Yes, pictures and video are of great help.
Don't be too much in a hurry. Baby steps with the positions that cause any kind of pain.

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

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Charles
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March 14, 2018 - 9:41 am
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If you can hit the D string without trouble, try lifting your left hand (and therefore the neck of the violin) an inch or two when you're trying to play the G string. This will automatically bring your elbow forward. I've found when I try to consciously move my elbow in/forward, there tends to be a lot of stress, and I'm frequently overdoing it. You only need 8 or 9 millimeters (about 1/4 inch) to be able to hit the G string the same way you normally hit the D.

Part of it IS time. Young children are flexible enough that the twisting around backwards that's required is no big thing. Us older folks need to give the body time to adapt to that position. Don't play too long at once, and if something becomes painful, take a break.  Twisting the arm the other way (without the violin in it) and massage may help.

Another thing that may help (depends on how you're holding it now) is to move the scroll end of the violin back so that it's closer to due left of you.  (You don't want to actually be straight left, but a couple of inches closer to that may help.)  The further back you go, the easier things are on the left hand, but the harder it is to bow properly.

"Bow properly" partly means using the whole bow, and that's what you might lose if you move the violin too far back. The world will not end if you don't use the last couple of inches of the bow. (Although you eventually want to work into being able to do both, hit the G string solidly and use the whole bow.)

Another thing that will make it easier is to tilt the violin so that the bass side (the left, if you're playing a standard violin the standard way) goes up, and the treble side (the right) goes down.  Most shoulder rests make this (temporary) change in violin position difficult or impossible.  Try things like using just a pad for a shoulder rest. That will let you tilt the violin right (the change I just described) to hit the G string and left (bass down, treble up) for the E. That makes the bowing for those strings easier, too.

On reason that helps is that it gets your finger past the G string, so that it is having to come back a little bit to hit it. You want that, because the neck is curved and straight down on the string is actually a line moving from upper left to lower right. (About 10 or 15 degrees.)  If you play the G string from the right-hand side of the neck (which is the "easy" way), you won't get a solid connection.

Try all of those things (moving the violin back some, lifting it for notes on the G string, and tilting it to the right when playing on the G string) and I think you'll find a combination that works for you.

If the most comfortable combination of those gets the right result, don't worry about pain after you've been doing that for a bit. DO take it slow and stop and take a break, because it will take your body several weeks (possibly even months) to adjust to these weird contortions you're asking of it. "Play through the pain" might be good advice for professional football. It's not a good idea on the violin.

Hope this helps

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soulkeeper
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March 14, 2018 - 9:53 am
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Thank you everyone on the responses.  Sorry I did not reply sooner to let you know I am reading them.  I am working slow and have been doing wrist exercises for the past few weeks.  It has helped.

@charles  Thank you for the list of suggestions, I will work through them and see what works!

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bluesviolin
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March 15, 2018 - 12:34 am
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speaking of wrist issues, I guess I was going at it a little too hard at a couple of jams the last few days. gotta get a cortisone shot, wear a wrist brace, apply prescription anti-inflammatory creme 4 times a day. and can't play for 2 weeks. Nuts!

"Striving to attain Mediocrity"

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 15, 2018 - 10:47 am
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Sorry to hear it bluesviolin. Hope it passes quickly and you are back to playing your blues intensively.

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

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bluesviolin
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March 15, 2018 - 11:01 pm
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Fiddlerman said
Sorry to hear it bluesviolin. Hope it passes quickly and you are back to playing your blues intensively.  

Thank you fiddlerman. I seriously think it was the recent installation of an Evah Pirazzi Gold (silver) G string that pushed me over the edge. That's a very sturdy G string.

I've ordered a set of lower tension Warchal Brilliant Vintage. Should be here in a couple of weeks.

"Striving to attain Mediocrity"

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 16, 2018 - 1:06 pm
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Interesting. Let us know how they work out for you.

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

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