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choumichou

Violin finger tapes : Help beginner

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Hello everyone,

I have just bought a 4/4 mendini violin, i am trying to self-learn some basics for the moment.


I tuned the violin and placed the finger tapes according to the positions on this link http://myviolinlessons.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-to-put-violin-tapes.html

I am sure i measured correctly from the bottom line on the fingerboard

 1. 36mm    2. 67mm  3. 79mm  4. 110 mm

(what is confusing is that some sources give other measurements)


The problem is when i put my finger on the tapes , bow on a string and listen on different tuners it doesn't give  the right note .

For example on A string bowing with finger on tape 2 (67mm) must sound C#   . I get the correct C# sound at 63mm.

It's very confusing because i don't think each violin has its own positions. It means a violinist has to memorize positions for each different violin ????!!!

Here is a picture of the violin : (i removed tape 1 and 4)

https://imgur.com/a/MTU2l


Thank you anyway 

Edited by choumichou

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I placed mine using the tuner and that seemed to work. In tune with the tuner is better than my ears and I couldn't find an internet guide like the one you had. I wonder if how/where you place fingers has an effect, and how this changes among specific violins (i.e. should not apply to fractionals, which would need different guides).

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On 12/24/2017 at 7:33 AM, choumichou said:

It's very confusing because i don't think each violin has its own positions. It means a violinist has to memorize positions for each different violin ????!!!

Violins may vary just a little bit but not much. Depends on the construction and setup. It would eventually become much easier to play on different violins once you get a hold of it. If the quality of setup is good, then you don't need to adjust too much.

Remember that the way you place your finger combined with the width of your fingertips also contributes to what note is played. 

Do you have the measurement of the scale length? Please see belowmeasure_violin_scale_length.jpg

 

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Even the article says the placement may not be exact.  your finger tip is not an exact point either so could vary one way or the other.  also is it the front or back edge of the tape or the center of the tap that should be at that measured location?     what I did is make small diamond shaped piece of tape and put it on the side of the finger board with the point a the exact location.  But still it's not exact,  depends on how well tuned each sting is.    Finally I took the tape markers off and just find the right note by ear.    I'm just a beginner too.  

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A ready-made fingerboard sticker (from music shops, ebay, amazon etc). is that it is flat, whereas pieces of tapes cause the finger to be not quite flat.

Personally I think fingerboard tapes are a terrible idea. However, I have just bought a fingerboard sticker for someone close to me who is beyond certain that she knows better than I do what she needs in order to learn the violin, so there is no point in arguing, and I am not going to repeat my views here.

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The pitch sounds the vibration of the string between the bridge and the highest place on the fingerboard that your finger allows it to vibrate-it is not the middle of your finger. The use of tapes is never more than an approximation to help you develop and your brain to remember how to "block" your finger positions. If you use the tapes when playing some of the early pieces in Suzuki Book 1 (with familiar tunes) it can help you set up your hand properly - but ultimately you always have to depend on your ears. The tapes should be removed as soon as  you have learned where all 4 fingers go to be in tune. Actually, when I had to tape fingerboards for students, I never taped the 4th finger. I figured that by the time the students got to using their 4th fingers it was time to remove all the tapes "and set them free."

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The vibrating string length (distance from nut to bridge) and the string clearance above the fingerboard all affect the placement of the tapes.

A beginner only needs two tapes: one for the first finger and one for the third finger. Depending on the scale, the second finger is placed either just after the first finger tape or just before the third finger tape. Once you can play in tune without looking at the tapes, you might add a fourth finger tape and remove the other two.

Here is a method that works well for me:

Tune the violin. 

Using your fingernail to stop the E string, pluck the E string until your tuner registers an F#. Make sure you stop the string to the fingerboard. Use a pencil against your fingernail to scribe a mark on the fingerboard.

Repeat the procedure on the E string but this time make a mark for an A.

Now repeat the procedure on the G string but this time place a mark at an A for the first finger, and a C for the third finger.

I recommend white, low tack drafting tape, or paper artist tape. This stuff is easy to position and leaves very little residue when removed. 

A width of 3mm to 6mm (1/8" to 1/4") works well. The wider tape is a little easier to see while playing.

Slide a piece of paper under the strings and stick one end of the tape to the paper. Hold the other end of the tape up against the strings and use the paper to pull the tape across the fingerboard.

Position the tape so that the G and E string marks are covered by the center of the tape. Press down and trim tape to the edge of the fingerboard.

 

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I'm a relative beginner to playing the violin myself, having started about 7 months ago. I have been playing guitar for 20-odd years though.

My teacher didn't have me use finger-tapes or markers of any kind, and I must say I'm quite glad. I think that not using tapes or markers allows you to place your fingers as they want to be instead of trying to focus on an edge or contact point to coincide with the tape.

Most of the time my first position playing is now quite adequately in tune, however, I can't imagine how useful any sort of marker would have been for very long as the difference in being in tune and out of tune is incredibly slight. I can play a note that sounds almost perfectly in tune and then throw it noticeably out of tune by altering the position of my wrist slightly, never mind the finger.

I think, as people trying to the learn the violin, this is just a hurdle we have to overcome over time (and mostly with our ears rather than our eyes).

Progress feels slow, but if you keep correcting it does happen!

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Going a little off-topic ... maybe this will help you (now or eventually) do without tapes.

Be sure you have good strings on the violin.  If you have decent strings, you should hear sympathetic vibrations from neighboring strings.  For example, playing D on the A string will cause the open D string to vibrate an octave lower than the string you are playing.  You listen for the vibrations, and that will help you play in tune without looking at your fingers.

Low-end strings from major makers will likely be better than what came on your Mendini.  Something like Preludes or Tonicas don't cost a fortune but will vibrate sympathetically.

Also you can look at your tuner to know whether you are playing in tune, another way to do without tapes.

 

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I do not recall at all using tapes to learn to play the violin.  I think it would be better to place the fingers in the right positions to get the right pitches, much like singing the correct pitches.

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On 12/24/2017 at 7:33 AM, choumichou said:

It's very confusing because i don't think each violin has its own positions. It means a violinist has to memorize positions for each different violin ????!!!

Find a book that shows finger positions (in first position) and memorize that.  The actual transference to the fingerboard is transferring that via mental image, and making adjustments using your ear.  Finger tapes are for kids who are too young to make that leap.  The adjustments later become mostly automatic.  Your hand and fingers develop sensitivity to distance.  The most important thing is to always use your ear and suspect every note. 

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I was never taught using tapes the first time around, so it didn't occur to me to try them this time. I made up an exercise, though, with which I start each practice session. With my tuner app running, I go through all the first finger notes string to string, to feel and hear where they are in relation to each other--first naturals, starting with first fingers (F, B, E, A), then second fingers (G, C, F, B), and so on. Then sharps. Then flats. It reminds me how far back that F on the E string is, and how far forward the B on the G string is. I start slow and speed up, so I'm dropping the fingers down briskly and snapping them back up. This seems to be really helping.

Edited by pawsplus
Typos

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On 1/13/2018 at 3:07 AM, Darrma said:

I'm a relative beginner to playing the violin myself, having started about 7 months ago. I have been playing guitar for 20-odd years though.

My teacher didn't have me use finger-tapes or markers of any kind, and I must say I'm quite glad. I think that not using tapes or markers allows you to place your fingers as they want to be instead of trying to focus on an edge or contact point to coincide with the tape.

Most of the time my first position playing is now quite adequately in tune, however, I can't imagine how useful any sort of marker would have been for very long as the difference in being in tune and out of tune is incredibly slight. I can play a note that sounds almost perfectly in tune and then throw it noticeably out of tune by altering the position of my wrist slightly, never mind the finger.

I think, as people trying to the learn the violin, this is just a hurdle we have to overcome over time (and mostly with our ears rather than our eyes).

Progress feels slow, but if you keep correcting it does happen!

Yes indeed. I started with the finger tape, and noticed that I was training my brain to see where the fingers go for tune. That led me to the discovery that I was not training the fingers to rely on muscle memory and "intonation hearing" memory. But what I did do was buy the D' Arrdario NS Micro tuner. I feel it is a better "trick for my self learning, because a momentary visual indication of intonation is tied to the pinpoint finger stop or blocking as some call it. After it times out (3 minutes), I continue the the finger intonation exercise. The brain training and muscle memory connection is happening much quicker. Additionally I would offer this advice. Get the D'Arddario finger exerciser or some other simalar type of tool. Also a therapeutic post surgical extensor exerciser. Use those wilst watching TV (or whatever). When I use these exercisers I focus on each individual finger, imaging the note position during each individual movement. 

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1 hour ago, Edelsailor said:

 But what I did do was buy the D' Arrdario NS Micro tuner. 

What is this? I googled it and got nothing.

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On 5/13/2018 at 1:42 AM, Edelsailor said:

Typo error!

It is D' Addario NS Micro Tuner. Sold at Amazon and other places.

Found it.  How would this be better than the tuner app I have (for free!) on my tablet?  That seems to do a good job.

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I was using tuner apps for a while..but found them a little inaccurate. The micro tuner, is much faster in response, more sensitive to intonation, and easier  (in my mind) to sight. Best wishes for your practice. I am 58 and it is fun! Wish I had stuck with it when I started in 4th grade, but decided to play the Concert Flute instead. 

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Pawsplus,

 

The smartphone-tuner apps seem to be TOO sensitive. They quickly respond to every twitch of the left-hand fingers and every change in bow pressure; vibrato drives them nuts!

The microtuner is less sensitive and responds more slowly so the relatively imperceptible intonation changes are imperceptible to those watching it as well.

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4 hours ago, Andrew Victor said:

Pawsplus,

 

The smartphone-tuner apps seem to be TOO sensitive. They quickly respond to every twitch of the left-hand fingers and every change in bow pressure; vibrato drives them nuts!

The microtuner is less sensitive and responds more slowly so the relatively imperceptible intonation changes are imperceptible to those watching it as well.

Yes. Thank you for your input. You said it very well. I like the D' Addario NS Micro Tuner because it's display turns a shade of red on the left for the note trending flat , and the right side turning green for the note trending sharp. It does this before the bars move to indicate more flat intonation or more sharp intonation.

I can recall my lessons in 4th grade and that the music class had a tuner that was a strobe tuner. We were made to exercise our scales with that.

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For finger markers, I like to use the "Don't Fret" decals. Just make sure that you line it up correctly with the nut and the sides of the fingerboard.

Practicing with a tuner can be good but most tuners do not accurately get all notes correctly and take a while to lock onto the note. The only ones I've found that work true and fast are Peterson strobe tuners with violin "Sweeteners." There is a Peterson app for iOS with Sweeteners, the Android version does not.

Most tuners are even tempered which are close but not spot on. In my experience, some tuners can be tempered for the violin but only have the open strings' frequencies correctly, finger stopped notes are off.

YMMV

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