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Fingerboard tape: Good or Bad
Lots of folks use tape on the fingerboard. Does anybody ever stop?
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sf_bev
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October 17, 2019 - 12:54 pm
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I'm curious about the use of tape on the fingerboard. When I learned as a kid, I never had it. I'm self-teaching now, and figured if I didn't need it as a kid, I don't need it now -- but I'm wondering if I'm making it harder on myself.  I'd like to hear people's experiences.

I'm guessing the use of tape makes it easier to play in tune more quickly.  I can certainly verify that it is slow going without it.  OTOH, I notice people who have been playing 3 or more years and still have tape on their fingerboards.

1)  Does it become a crutch?  Anybody who started with tape on the fingerboard who no longer uses tape?  How long did it take?  

2)  Anybody here who never used fingerboard tape who can play in tune?  How long did it take?

3)  Anybody who used fingerboard tape and wishes they did not, or vice versa?  What's your reason. 

I'd love to hear about all different kinds of experiences, both with a teacher and self-taught.  Thanks!

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Gordon Shumway
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October 17, 2019 - 1:26 pm
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It may be that for little kids training the fingers asap is most important, but adults need to train their ears as well as their fingers, and I think the best way to train both at the same time is to shun tape.

Andrew

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Mouse
October 17, 2019 - 1:37 pm
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Ok, this is something that is up to the person learning. I took mine off too early, and to be honest it had to do a lot with reading how people say it is a crutch and it is a badge to remove them. I have since I put them back in. It is COMPLETELY up to the student, no matter how old the student is.

I cannot tell completely by sound if I am off. I need a starting point. The tapes help me. I am beginning to be able to hear the proper tone now and do have one violin without the tapes. I am finding that I am now beginning to hit my marks better, but I do need the tapes. It depends on whether you need them or not.

One argument is that the strings get out of tune, so then the tapes are not accurate. Tune the strings. Voila. If you need to adjust the tapes, re-tape.

You are going to be told they are crutches, you are going to be told they are not helpful by many. People either love them or don’t. Those that don’t are very set against them. Most who are dead set against them simply do not understand that some people need them. Not everyone learns the same way.

Some people need them simply because of the way THEY learn. If you need them, use them. There is nothing wrong with using them. 

I can feel where the fingers need to be much better now because I am hitting the mark accurately to begin with with the tapes. Not fumbling around to find the sweet spot makes me feel where they belong to begin with. I am beginning to know how it feels and how it sounds when on the mark.

I hope this helps. It is up to you.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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lsm
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October 17, 2019 - 1:41 pm
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I learned the violin with tapes on the fingerboard as a child, but within a year or two all of the kids including myself would get the tapes taken off. As a short term thing it can be ok to get used to the finger positions but sooner or later they need to come off and most violin teachers will remove them. Do I wish I never had the tapes, no, and if a student finds it helpful that's fine. However, I find most people naturally don't use them anymore when they start sightreading properly since you can't read music at look at the tapes at the same time anyway, and people get used to the right finger positions anyway, just like touch typing on a keyboard.

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sf_bev
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October 18, 2019 - 11:53 am
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Thanks to @Gordon Shumway, @Mouse and @lsm for your replies.  Cid, I especially appreciated your sharing your personal experiences.  

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Mouse
October 18, 2019 - 12:15 pm
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@sf_bev You are more than welcome.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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violin_again
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April 5, 2021 - 9:50 am
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A bit late to the topic, but I have one violin, my main practice rig (I’m new enough that all I do, really, is practice) and I have fingering tape on it. I have a second violin (got it at an auction for 20 bucks but it holds a tune and sounds decent-ish) that I play for a bit each time I practice that has no tape. As I get a bit more confident/competent I am going to move the tape to “ol busted hotness” and go tape free on “the new hotness”. It’s a process. It allows me to develop other skills while slowly working on fingering. 

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stringy
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April 5, 2021 - 10:48 am
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I am self taught no lessons, been playing two years,  never used tapes. My own opinion is, you have to train your ears, which isnt easy, in fact its one of the reasons violin is so hard. The only reason I look at the fingerboard is to make sure my bow is straight.

After saying that however, what does it really matter? unless you are aiming to play in an orchestra, as Andrew does, you could leave tapes on forever if you enjoy the playing, thats all that  counts after all, better to have tapes and play, than not have tapes and not have the enjoyment and satisfaction. 

I used tonalities and a tuner, as well as playing scales over and over, I still play bad notes but then again even the worlds greatest violinists practice intonation so I am in good company😉

Do what ever you want, just enjoy it.

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

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