Please VOTE for your favorite Christmas Project selection.

Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Does anyone else experience this problem while using Vibrato?
When I try to play with vibrato when my hands are dry, my fingers keep sliding up and down the strings. How can I correct this?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
Avatar
Elwin
Houston
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 12:57 am
Member Since: January 3, 2017
Forum Posts: 122
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I'm a violist, and have a vibrato issue.

When I play Vibrato, I find that my hands have to be slightly wet for it to work. Either through sweat if the climate is humid, or something along those lines. If my hands are bone-dry, every time I try to play with Vibrato, my fingers will just slide up and down the string. I use arm vibrato, as that's the only method that results in a wide enough motion to produce a necessary pitch change. Wrist Vibrato doesn't really work for me until the upper positions. The string teachers at the college I attend doesn't recommend using finger vibrato, for a reason I don't remember.

Has anyone experienced this before? I know in a practical sense, my hands won't always be damp enough to have a good vibrato, but I do not know how to correct that issue of fingers sliding up and down the strings. I do not want to resort to carrying a bottle of water to wet my fingers every time I play. What advice do you all have for me, so I can correct this? 

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 1:09 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1245
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

My guess is that your finger joints need to be more flexible, especially the top joint.

It's really hard to explain in text alone, so here are two videos with some left hand flexibility exercises for vibrato:

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 1:15 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1245
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Also, it helps to practice vibrato with a slow, exaggerated motion. Perhaps use a metronome, and start with one back-and-forth per beat, then gradually speed it up.

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 1:34 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2580
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi, @Elwin - 

Andrew has very good advice for you!

I'm getting old, so I have a terrible time keeping my skin hydrated and if I've been pressing too hard, my skin get tough - even worse.

If your skin is dry, I think it makes a huge difference in the quality of finger contact with the strings! 

That said, you only want your skin to be supple... I only had trouble with my vibrato slipping when I first started to learn it - not since.  

You can try creams meant to soak quickly into your skin - what works for me may not work for you. 

I'd stay away from lotions that leave a greasy film/deposit because you don't want that getting on your strings - and watch for potential corrosion on your strings & try another brand if it's an issue (everyone's got a different chemical make up). 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c0/a4/6f/c0a46f4a2d6370d2ed9512536ce19823.jpg

 

- Emily

Avatar
Elwin
Houston
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 1:37 am
Member Since: January 3, 2017
Forum Posts: 122
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

AndrewH said
Also, it helps to practice vibrato with a slow, exaggerated motion. Perhaps use a metronome, and start with one back-and-forth per beat, then gradually speed it up.

  

For Viola especially, I've been told a wider range of motion is required. I guess the "damp" fingers kind of became a crutch in my case, because they would prevent my fingers from sliding. I think that the paranoia that my finger will slide is causing the stiffness, but all excuses aside, it's time for me to add 20 hours to my 40 hours a day practice time. (get it?)

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 1:56 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1245
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've used similar exercises to the ones in the videos to get my top joints flexible enough. That joint is all-important because it allows your fingertip to roll instead of sliding.

After reaching a certain point in developing finger flexibility, I've played with badly dehydrated hands on a few occasions without having much difficulty with vibrato.

Avatar
Elwin
Houston
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
April 2, 2021 - 2:01 am
Member Since: January 3, 2017
Forum Posts: 122
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

AndrewH said
I've used similar exercises to the ones in the videos to get my top joints flexible enough. That joint is all-important because it allows your fingertip to roll instead of sliding.

After reaching a certain point in developing finger flexibility, I've played with badly dehydrated hands on a few occasions without having much difficulty with vibrato.

  

Thank you for sharing this. At least I now know what I need to practice, so I won't spend my 40 hours a day in vain.

Avatar
Elwin
Houston
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
April 3, 2021 - 2:38 am
Member Since: January 3, 2017
Forum Posts: 122
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

So, I've tried the exercises when my hands are dehyrated, and I do think relaxation of the joint makes a huge difference. It is kind of weird, because my thumb does not really "stick" to the neck much, and moves around freely, but if my finger is relaxed, it can oscilate for vibrato but not slide up to the string. It kind of feels a little weird, but I think that's because I'm not used to it yet.

Now, my issue is the 4th finger. What I have to do in order to get it to oscilate is nearly bunch my fingers together. Normally in 1st position, my 4th finger is stretched out pretty far, and can't really oscilate in that position, unless I bunch my fingers together. Does anyone have any advice on 4th finger vibrato?

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
April 3, 2021 - 5:56 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 180
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

That woman in the first video is doing things my left hand cannot do. The square-circle thing ? my 4th finger totally refuses to cooperate : no way to get the square shape. I guess that rules out 4th finger vibrato for me, or I'll have to find a way around, sliding or so. The times I tried "finger strenghtening exercises", I only ended up with hand/wrist pain and a totally stupid 'I'm inadequate' feeling.

Avatar
Elwin
Houston
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
April 3, 2021 - 1:29 pm
Member Since: January 3, 2017
Forum Posts: 122
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

wtw said
That woman in the first video is doing things my left hand cannot do. The square-circle thing ? my 4th finger totally refuses to cooperate : no way to get the square shape. I guess that rules out 4th finger vibrato for me, or I'll have to find a way around, sliding or so. The times I tried "finger strenghtening exercises", I only ended up with hand/wrist pain and a totally stupid 'I'm inadequate' feeling.

  

What's your skill level? Have you tried doing the square circle thing really slowly? My guess is that your pinky hasn't had to do that kind of motion, so it's still tight. Doing it really slowly might help.

As for your hand and wrist pain, my best guess is that your fingers are not yet strong enough, so your hand and wrist are tensing up to compensate, and that's what hurts. I'd recommend that you try those exercises slowly, and if you notice your hand and wrist tensing up, then relax and try again.

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
April 3, 2021 - 1:42 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 180
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I don't know about skill, but I've been playing for something like 5 years now. I'd like to be able to do it slowly, or even quickly, but I meant I'm not able to do it at all. It works with all other fingers, but not this one.

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
April 3, 2021 - 2:31 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1245
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

What part is hard?

If it's making those shapes with your fingers: I don't think it's strictly necessary to form a square with your thumb and finger. The important thing is that the top joint moves.

Avatar
stringy
Members

Regulars
April 3, 2021 - 3:38 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2020
Forum Posts: 738
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

This is a truly excellent vibrato video, becuse  it shows common problems. I started to practice vibrato and filming it to make sure my wrist action was correct. When I found it wasnt (3.33 into the vid) I decided to try arm vibrato instead, which for me is much better and I am now starting to get to grips with it. I found learning wrist vibrat first was causing me to just move my wrist backwrds and forwards which gave the illusion of vibrato, as she shows in this video, which is well worth waching all the way through.

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

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
April 4, 2021 - 8:24 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2580
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

These are ALL very helpful videos! 

I have been guilty of the bad wrist movement Stringy points out, in my attempts at vibrato.  I knew it wasn't right, but it was the best way I could start to try to get a feel for where vibrato is used and that my hand MUST be relaxed (shake it out - lol).

I've only very recently been able to start to loosen my 1st finger joints, gain a little coordination and get a bit closer to what is more correct for vibrato - it's just going to take me a while.  I am making progress.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to try to get the best intonation and vibrato I can from my left hand - while using the least amount of finger pressure possible.  I try to visualize my fingerboard disappears while I still play, because I pretty much have a terrible urge to smash that C string right thru the neck! 

"Pressure", "stressed and overworked muscles" are terms I really don't want to associate with using my little finger - or any of my fingers. 

I realized "coordination" of the correct muscles, is much better to visualize.

Maybe choose "Endurance" over "Strength Training" for fingers.  I want to be able to remain relaxed while I play, so I don't want the word "Strength" stuck in my head. 

I can't remember where, but someone recommended using the 3rd finger next to the 4th - kind of like "bicycle training wheels" until it starts to catch on - maybe not a bad idea! (lol) 

Btw, my little finger is slowly, but surely, approaching a point of usefulness!  

https://patriotden.com/fotki/smileys/Fiddle_Player_Smiley_Face.GIF

 

I still have a long way to go. 

 

- Emily

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
April 4, 2021 - 8:58 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 180
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

AndrewH said
What part is hard?

If it's making those shapes with your fingers: I don't think it's strictly necessary to form a square with your thumb and finger. The important thing is that the top joint moves.

It doesn't, at least not when it's pressing down on something (thumb or string). At least not unless the middle joint caves in before. It's easier to show than to explain, so here's what happens (sorry about the mirror image) :
4th-finger.pngImage Enlarger


(… anyone tell me I'm not the only one ?)

On the viola I often use the 3rd finger to help hold down the string, as @ELCBK suggests.

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments
Avatar
Unfretted
Members
April 6, 2021 - 8:14 am
Member Since: October 17, 2020
Forum Posts: 29
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Wtw, It’s very sad to see you say, “guess that rules out 4th finger vibrato for me.”  Don’t ever rule out anything based on one YouTube video!

Don’t give up!  Using the right form and technique is the secret to surmounting most of the perceived obstacles in playing.

Forget about what you’re doing with your thumb and pinky in those pictures you posted.  Your hand would never actually be in such a crunched up position when  playing, and that position has more to do with the tensions on your pollici muscles than anything else— a difficult position for any but the youngest hands.

I’d also ignore much of video 1, especially if it’s not working for you, and focus on the info in the video from Beth at Violin Lab, “Violin Vibrato SLOW MOTION Do and Don’ts”  posted above.

Stop hyperextending your pinky.  Try to weight the left side of the pinky when contacting the fingerboard.  Watch Fiddlerman’s excellent short-but-sweet and accurate video “Vibrato for Dummies.”  His instructions on weighting the fingers will really help, especially with the pinky.

Be patient with the new techniques. Work on this just a few minutes a day while your finger slowly develops more strength.  If it’s uncomfortable, skip the new exercise for a day or two to let your finger rest.

Avatar
Mark
Members

Regulars
April 6, 2021 - 11:57 pm
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 1272
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

Wtw,

Perhaps this may help.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

Avatar
Unfretted
Members
April 7, 2021 - 1:26 am
Member Since: October 17, 2020
Forum Posts: 29
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
18sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Wow, what a great video, Mark, with some fresh ideas.

Avatar
Elwin
Houston
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
April 7, 2021 - 3:50 am
Member Since: January 3, 2017
Forum Posts: 122
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
19sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Here is my progress since making this thread.

I am getting the relaxed joint, and is helping tremendously. Right now, I have to work on not letting my joint act "clunky" while using vibrato. Other than that, my vibrato has improved tremendously. The only thing that's still hard is that my thumb when my hands are dry slides up and down the neck, and that makes the vibrato feel awkward.

What helps with finger relaxing is the "chicken technique". I learned this from a string teacher from Brazil who is long dead (he has a few lesson videos still around). Basically, imagine that your fingers are "chickens" pecking their food. That general idea is how the fingers should press the strings. Doing that allows the weight of the left arm to sort of make the fingers "hang" on the string. That way, your fingers are still putting sufficient pressure on the strings, but you're not squeezing the neck. I've found that gives sufficient relaxation on the finger joints to have vibrato. Getting used to this and making it habitual is a different story, though.

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
April 7, 2021 - 4:10 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2580
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Elwin -

I want to thank you for this thread!  

Even though I've seen most of these videos in the past, watching them again has helped me, too!   

So glad to hear you are getting the hang of it!  

Btw, very interesting concept "Chicken pecking" - great visual.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/_zmzLNEDA1s/hqdefault.jpg?sqp=-oaymwEXCNACELwBSFryq4qpAwkIARUAAIhCGAE=&rs=AOn4CLCQC4YKxsbqtePyseWQlfeADPRotA

...going to take me a while to convince my 1st finger joints they can remain loose and independent, but I'll stick with it.

- Emily

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 42
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming coolpinkone, Fiddlestix, cdennyb, ErViolista, zander7, RosinRepublic, Helene, Panda-P, OP Alaraasakka, Shane "Chicken" Wang, PoisonJay, ClaireS
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2680
Fiddlestix: 2647
ELCBK: 2580
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
damfino: 1992
Kevin M.: 1971
cdennyb: 1815
iFIDDLE: 1763
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27537
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 76
Topics: 9196
Posts: 114540
Newest Members:
William c. menke, Elisha Samuel, lisaf, indipina, mrgoing, maggieli
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 15611, KindaScratchy: 1757, coolpinkone: 4180, BillyG: 3591, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, Mouse: 3280