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Really Dumb Question

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Mar 29, 2020 - 2:20:20 PM
5 posts since 3/29/2020

Hello folks !

Q: when a fiddler or violinist is playing high on the 1st string , are they actually forcing the string
to the finger board? I have very strong hands and I cant do it, makes me feel kinda....dumb

Please explain, insults are gladly welcome.
My background is on the guitar btw

Mar 29, 2020 - 2:29:54 PM

1503 posts since 12/11/2008

Maybe it's just your fiddle's action/playability. Yeah, reaching those spots can be tough for me, but if I can reach it I'm still able to get that E string to the fingerboard.

Mar 29, 2020 - 2:36 PM
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93 posts since 4/15/2019

This just doesn't sound right. Never heard of such a thing.

Mar 29, 2020 - 2:37:41 PM

5 posts since 3/29/2020

old cowboy

Are you saying you dont hold down the highest note to the fingerboard, remember, it shows, I'm a NOOB

Mar 29, 2020 - 4:29:05 PM
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117 posts since 6/11/2019

Pretty good question, actually--

On a guitar, you 'fret'--force the string in contact with the fret to essentially shorten it. On violin, you pretty much use a finger to STOP any 'upstream' vibration on the string. I've never noticed if the string actually makes contact with the fingerboard when you press it down, it probably does because you see the need to resurface after awhile, but you will know if it's stopped or not, you'll hear squeaks and whistles you don't want.

You don't have to press hard to stop a string at whatever note, the fingerboard just gives your fingertips something to press down on.

Mar 29, 2020 - 4:53:57 PM

5 posts since 3/29/2020

Flat 3rd

was my question clear or cloudy ? LOL

Ill never be playing at the end of the neck but was wondering how 6 yr old girl could
press the string down onto the ebony at the highest position. Bah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar 29, 2020 - 4:59:04 PM
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18 posts since 3/29/2020

Could you take a picture of your string height, or maybe measure it?

Full on classical heights are typically measured from the end of the fingerboard to the middle of the string. G 5.5 mm, to E 3.5 mm with a typical bridge curve of 42 mm. The D and A strings set themselves with those specs if the fingerboard has the correct radius.

Most really good players will say you don't push down to the fingerboard at all, and some prove it by playing clean passages with office paper sliding freely underneath. It was a revelation to me. I was slamming my fingers so hard into the board it sounded like a drum. laugh

Edited by - The Body Electric on 03/29/2020 16:59:50

Mar 29, 2020 - 5:05:23 PM

5 posts since 3/29/2020

Benski

Thanks, now pushing down w/o hitting ebony makes sense. But, I took the violin up too late in life to explore terra incognito

Mar 29, 2020 - 5:13:11 PM

117 posts since 6/11/2019

The action may be too high--bridge may need to be lowered. The shorter the (poorly-stopped) string, the worse it sounds.

Mar 29, 2020 - 7:08:10 PM
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114 posts since 3/1/2020
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quote:
Originally posted by Strangedude

Hello folks !

Q: when a fiddler or violinist is playing high on the 1st string , are they actually forcing the string
to the finger board? I have very strong hands and I cant do it, makes me feel kinda....dumb

Please explain, insults are gladly welcome.
My background is on the guitar btw


Yes, you do have to press the string down to the fingerboard. If you don't, you'll be more likely to accidentally play harmonics. To play a note the string has to be "stopped" or pressed down against the fingerboard. Use only enough pressure to get a clean note; any more is unnecessary and will be harder on your hands.

If you're finding it difficult to reach the fingerboard, the string heights are wrong or there is too much scoop in the fingerboard. Take it to a luthier. If the string heights have changed recently, you could have a problem with the neck. 

Mar 29, 2020 - 8:02:53 PM
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18 posts since 3/29/2020

quote:
you do have to press the string down to the fingerboard. If you don't, you'll be more likely to accidentally play harmonics. To play a note the string has to be "stopped" or pressed down against the fingerboard.

No. Easily disproved. Especially the end of the second video, where, amazingly, he uses the paper trick I half remembered reading about.

https://youtu.be/uYBlxzuqMF4

https://youtu.be/uYBlxzuqMF4

 

Good point about the neck though. Without seeing the op's fiddle, there is no real way to know for sure. 

Edited by - The Body Electric on 03/29/2020 20:07:06

Mar 29, 2020 - 11:04 PM

114 posts since 3/1/2020
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quote:
Originally posted by Benski
quote:
you do have to press the string down to the fingerboard. If you don't, you'll be more likely to accidentally play harmonics. To play a note the string has to be "stopped" or pressed down against the fingerboard.

No. Easily disproved. Especially the end of the second video, where, amazingly, he uses the paper trick I half remembered reading about.

https://youtu.be/uYBlxzuqMF4

https://youtu.be/uYBlxzuqMF4

 

Good point about the neck though. Without seeing the op's fiddle, there is no real way to know for sure. 


Here's the Wiki article on violin technique, followed by a link to Violin Playing for Dummies.

According to Auer, there isn't a proper  amount of pressure, as different players have different physiques.

It's certainly worth noting that playing with insufficient pressure leads to problems with sound production and intonation. 

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_technique

https://www.dummies.com/art-center/music/fiddle/how-to-contact-the-fingerboard-properly-on-the-fiddle/

Mar 30, 2020 - 9:01:07 AM
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boxbow

USA

2506 posts since 2/3/2011

I've never had trouble pressing the string down entirely too hard, but you can pull the pitch sharp that way. Once I got past the iron man death grip, I found it very informative to discover exactly how little pressure will generate a usable, controllable tone. It can speed up your fingering quite a bit so long as you keep making tone.  Ya gotta make tone, and the qualities of that tone are up to you.

Edited by - boxbow on 03/30/2020 09:03:28

Mar 30, 2020 - 2:22:23 PM

1346 posts since 4/6/2014

 Tone is a balancing act between finger pressure, finger placement, bow weight, bow placement, bow speed, etc etc. if you press the string down so that the STRING actually touches the fingerboard,  (which is harder than it sounds, as the string actually forms an  upside down "V" in your finger tip), you must be pressing way too hard.

 Imo the fingerboard is there as a guide to how much pressure you are applying to the string. sometimes my finger hovers above the fingerboard by about 0.5mm-1.0mm, and the string is sitting it its upside down V about another 0.5-1.0mm or so. So the string must be between 1 and 2 mm off of the fingerboard especially in higher positions. in lower positions my finger pad is touching the fingerboard and the string is in the upside down V, again 0.5mm or so above the fingerboard.

 If i wanted to reliably press the string right down to the fingerboard every time i put my finger down, i would need a grip like a G clamp and finger pads of steel, and be able to unclamp it, and clamp it back down in exactly the right place in milliseconds. if you can pull a string sharp by pressing harder it can't be all the way down in the first place, And if you feel you need that much pressure to get the tone you want, you can always move your finger back a little to compensate.

Not so dumb a question.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 03/30/2020 14:26:06

Mar 30, 2020 - 3:17:19 PM
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114 posts since 3/1/2020
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quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

 Tone is a balancing act between finger pressure, finger placement, bow weight, bow placement, bow speed, etc etc. if you press the string down so that the STRING actually touches the fingerboard,  (which is harder than it sounds, as the string actually forms an  upside down "V" in your finger tip), you must be pressing way too hard.

 Imo the fingerboard is there as a guide to how much pressure you are applying to the string. sometimes my finger hovers above the fingerboard by about 0.5mm-1.0mm, and the string is sitting it its upside down V about another 0.5-1.0mm or so. So the string must be between 1 and 2 mm off of the fingerboard especially in higher positions. in lower positions my finger pad is touching the fingerboard and the string is in the upside down V, again 0.5mm or so above the fingerboard.

 If i wanted to reliably press the string right down to the fingerboard every time i put my finger down, i would need a grip like a G clamp and finger pads of steel, and be able to unclamp it, and clamp it back down in exactly the right place in milliseconds. if you can pull a string sharp by pressing harder it can't be all the way down in the first place, And if you feel you need that much pressure to get the tone you want, you can always move your finger back a little to compensate.

Not so dumb a question.

 


If pressing the string down to the fingerboard causes the pitch to bend, your fingerboard or nut are not properly shaped. Pressing the string down on a proper setup will NOT alter the pitch--altering finger position will. If you're using the knockoff strings that come on a lot of factory instruments, the pitch may bend with a change in bow pressure, but those strings are only strings in name and should be replaced immediately. 
 

If you have so much space under your fingers when you press down on the string, there is something wrong with the setup. As I suggested above, take it to a luthier to make sure the neck hasn't dropped or the button hasn't broken. 
 

Many excellent players prefer their strings lower than the standard heights for ease of playing. Ruggiero Ricci liked his strings lower, and several of my customers do as well. 

Mar 30, 2020 - 4:18:24 PM
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2135 posts since 8/23/2008

The higher up the string the more pressure is required to press the string down to the finger board, and if you can not press the string all the way down to the finger board or, if it causes pain to do so then the string is too high. However, there is a point of 'minimal finger pressure' required to produce a suitable tone, and there are varying degrees of pressure required to execute various techniques. Even when using the highest degree of pressure it must be allowed to be released within a nanosecond. If excessive finger pressure is employed the hand will become tense making it difficult to play fast passages, and to micro manage adjustments to intonation.

Mar 31, 2020 - 1:56:47 PM
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4573 posts since 9/26/2008

Tell us about your fiddle. Where did you get it, was the bridge already in place? How about measuring the string height as suggest?

Apr 1, 2020 - 3:00:31 AM

1346 posts since 4/6/2014

Been messing around with this and started another topic for folk who are interested

https://www.fiddlehangout.com/topic/53175

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