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Left hand tension

Posted by bj on Monday, November 17, 2008

So this morning I pick up the fiddle and just start mindlessly playing whatever, to see what my brain worked out for me while I was asleep and dreaming. And I immediately became aware that I was stopping the strings HARD with my left hand, almost as if they were guitar strings with lots of tension to push down, instead of fiddle strings with much less tension. And my whole left hand was tensed up,  but especially that one tendon/muscle that was injured years ago, the one that runs up the outside top of the left wrist and hand to the pinkie.

Hmm. Could that be why I have trouble speeding things up?

Tried purposely relaxing and simply touching the strings with just enough pressure to make the note. Instant improvement, though the minute I take my mind of that left hand it eventually tenses back up, and the tensing usually commences the instant I use my lame pinkie. And I've been working on songs that use the pinkie in a small way to try to get it working better.

This is going to take a bit of work. But I think recognizing this issue and working to solve it could help a lot.

Looks like the dream brain found that one for me. Sweet! Thinking on it, I know when I use my pinkie overly I experience a bit of discomfort and dissonance. I think there's some anticipation of that going on that's tensing me up.

I also noticed that I'm always just a little bit tense in that hand, though the anticipation of using the pinkie makes it much worse. And I have been using more pressure on the strings to stop them than needed.

Another small step forward . . .

6 comments on “Left hand tension”

ChickenMan Says:
Monday, November 17, 2008 @10:29:00 AM

When I took lessons years ago, my teacher gave me s**t for pushing down too hard - like a guitar! I was actually making an audible noise on the finger board as I slapped my fingers down :-) I still struggle with that sort of tension when I'm not warmed up, and when learning a new tune. I only recently corrected my grip on the neck so I wasn't cradling it in my L palm and that released some tension while at the same time, created new and different tension. Go figure.

Oh, the time when I am MOST relaxed is 3 AM after a night of electric guitar with my R&R band. Something about the ease of it all after a night of wrestling with stiff wiry guitar strings...

bj Says:
Monday, November 17, 2008 @12:05:27 PM

Yeah, it's amazing how little pressure it really takes on the string, especially on my A crosstuned fiddle with the light gauge strings. Barely a touch!

Re your 3AM after playing all night time, could it be the beer (or whatever) you allow yourself after playing all night? ;-)

PeachyPicker08 Says:
Monday, November 17, 2008 @12:30:15 PM

Guess I should take my banjo picks off when playing the Fiddle BJ, that might help me. I play better when I have other musicians pickin' with me, it relaxes me more, it's effortless then. Thanks for stopping by my site, and missing me, I've missed you guys also, got better at my music tho.

bj Says:
Monday, November 17, 2008 @12:42:46 PM

LOL! Yeah, socializing on here can be a time killer, huh?

playmorebluegrass Says:
Saturday, November 22, 2008 @9:40:31 AM

Find the time when you thoughts are most collected and think nothing but fiddle!!! Trust me, it helps...

bj Says:
Saturday, November 22, 2008 @9:50:18 AM

There's a problem with that, playmorebluegrass. I'm ALWAYS thinking nothing but fiddle! To the detriment of my work . . .

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