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I have recently started to learn the violin. I have been trying to mark 1st, 2nd & 3rd positions on the fretboard to help me find the correct notes. The violin is perfectly tuned using a tuner. I have been using a tuner to get the B note on the A string at 1st position and marking a line across fretboard to mark 1st position.
When I test the G and D string at this line they both produce the expected notes, A and E. But the E string is not F#, it's closer to an F. As I said, the open E is tuned to an E according to the tuner.
I'm wondering if there is something wrong with the violin. The bridge looks ok, it's not twisted or lopsided.
- Any help would be appreciated. I'm not sure if I should return the violin or if it's something I'm doing. I've looked online and can't find anything related to this issue. I'm not sure if it's a common occurrence.
What you're experiencing may be a perspective effect; the curvature of the fingerboard makes the locations of the notes on the E string seem odd, or out-of-place.
Things to try:
Hold the violin like a guitar, and make the E string sound an F#. You needn't bow the string, but just pluck it. Your tuner will hear the note all the same.
Holding the violin at the shoulder (as normal), bow the E string, and slide your first finger along until the tuner shows the F#. Keep the grip, and then try to mark the place.
Ultimately, your ear will be the judge of where those notes are, and you'll no longer rely on the lines you've marked. That's when things get really interesting. Trust me: it'll happen, and you can then carefully remove the lines. For what it's worth, I used little dots of correction whiting along the G-string edge of the violin when I was starting out.
Oh, and welcome! You're among a fantastic, friendly community here; if you have any questions, just ask. When you're ready, make a video of yourself playing and ask for a critique. We're all here to help you succeed. Do it all in your own time, keep practicing and playing, and enjoy your violin journey.
"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less" - William of Ockham
@shino I have found the same. I adjust the tape to reflect the position for that string. It isthe same on my cellos. They are all set up properly, but the tape cannot go straight across. I think when videos tell you to put them straight across, they are simplifying it, I can’t put it straight on any of my instruments. I think those making the videos are just doing a simplified way and not really explaining that you might have to adjust the tape and it won’t be straight across. It is the same in my cellos.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
The thought that occurs to me is, the thicker the string, the closer to the bridge it will press the fingerboard for the same finger position, and the sharper it will sound, so it's all about how you interpret the mark (or tape) across the fingerboard and where you place your finger on the E string. If you place it a little low (i.e. where you place it for a fat string) and the thinness of the string makes it rise a little more than the others, it will be flat. There's also the question of the string's tension lifting your flesh up, giving the string more length.
Assuming the nut is well shaped and the right height and the fingerboard is smooth and flat, everything should be OK, and when you have learnt to play by ear, you'll be fine.
This is one of the reasons I am wary of tapes - they are a temporary guide for small kids, but one doesn't just learn to use one's fingers, one learns to use one's ears too. That's a lot for a little kid to take in, so tapes are OK for them. For adults, the sooner you can get the tapes off, the better. Instead of marking the fingerboard, an adult should be thinking, "about an inch," then using their ears for fine control.