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  • #2662 Reply

    Nicole
    Participant

    I have had two violins throughout my playing career and neither of them had this squishy feeling that my friend’s violin has. I know that hers was made by a fairly new luthier, and I know that she is even less experienced than I am in the world of violins.

    The “squish” that I am talking about is the same feeling you get when you put your weight on a pool inflatable. I put my chin on the rest, and suddenly I feel that there is some give, which scared me the first time and honestly, still does. That is not what I expect in a violin! The squish causes some unsteady-ness to the point where I cannot do thumb-less vibrato (which is the only type I am physically able to do with a double-jointed thumb). I don’t think she has learned vibrato yet, or at the very least, she has never done it in all the playing we do together. Also, she has never complained about any of its features around me.

    Of course I can’t force my friend to switch instruments, but I am curious about this issue. What is the cause of the squish? I don’t think it is or could be the chin rest, so it must be the type of wood that the violin is made of. Are there squishy materials sometimes used to make violins?

    #2663 Reply

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster

    I’ve never heard anything like that before, it makes me think the violin is made of rubber. I can’t imagine anything other than wood being a good material for a violin, so whatever it is I would highly recommend they learn on a different instrument. The only type of material that I have come around on other than wood is carbon fiber, but that took me a while to feel enough confidence to say so. Very interesting!

    Some of your comments regarding your thumb/technique make me think you have too much hand tension when you are doing your vibrato. There shouldn’t be any sort of grab on the fingerboard where your fingers (thumb) would have enough stress to double-joint. Would you mind posting a video of you here in the forums so I could take a closer look? You definitely don’t want your thumb to not touch the fingerboard as this will negatively effect your shifting and intonation. My guess is you are holding the instrument too much with your left hand (instead of chin and shoulder). Just a thought, would love to help!

    #2667 Reply

    Nicole
    Participant

    Rubber?? Interesting!

    I’m not sure really if it is double-jointed-ness or just bone structure. My teacher guessed that it’s double-jointed-ness. All I know is that I can’t make a straight line between my thumb and forefinger (6:00 on clock-hands). I have to try really hard to get 8:00, forefinger being the long hand.

    How do I post a video?

    #2668 Reply

    Nicole
    Participant

    Wow. I never thought about how hard it would be to take a picture of me playing the violin, much less a video.

    Well, here are the pictures…

    View post on imgur.com

    View post on imgur.com

    #2771 Reply

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster

    I’m not noticing anything really abnormal with your hand (shortness of fingers etc.)–I do see a clue though about hand tension. Do you see how your pinky is curled up as you have your third finger down? That implies that you are pressing down too hard on the fingerboard with your third finger, as the natural reaction for over tension is finger curling. Look at how far your pinky is curled, and how far it would take you to place the 4th finger down on the G string. This distance causes it to be difficult (regarding speed/efficiency).

    The other comment I will make is that even if you are double-jointed, you should be able to avoid the joint by not pressing down hard. I think this would drastically improve your playing, and result in ability to play faster. You should aim to place the finger down on the tip of the string (right before the nail), and you will notice the improved ability to press down less, and still get good contact. Your 4th finger will also not curl up and be more ready to go when the 4th finger note comes up.

    #2784 Reply

    Nicole
    Participant

    Hmm. I do see what you are talking about, however I haven’t really had an issue with playing fast. In fact, I usually play too fast (just not on the hard parts, which drives my teacher nuts… oops, lol). I also don’t have any memory of it usually being curled. I’m going to have to try to get someone else to take a picture while I play normally.

    (Is this normal vibrato positioning? I was imagining something slightly different. But I guess that I don’t really see many other people do vibrato.)
    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/s8OT7EFKE78/maxresdefault.jpg
    I’m trying to imitate this position without the weight of the violin, and I cannot get my thumb to stay in a position remotely similar without buckling.

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