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Author Topic: Fingering templates???  (Read 6048 times)

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Offline brandonsbutterfly

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Fingering templates???
« on: Dec 16, 2009, 03:31:47 AM »
Hi everyone, my name's Jill and I'm new to the forum.  I've been a cello player (on and off) for the majority of my life.  My daughter has seemingly taken up my ways and is now a violin player.  She just picked up the violin on Thursday and can already play "Twinkle Twinkle" pretty proficiently  ;D  Needless to say I am a proud mama!  Anyway, I remember when I first started to play cello, my orchestra teacher put some blue tapes on my fingerboard to show me where my 1st, 3rd, and 4th finger belong (in 1st position).  I was at Music-Go-Round today looking for something like this and the guy behind the counter said something about fingerboard templates.  He didn't explain it in very much depth, but from what I understand it's something you put on the fingerboard that shows you where to place your fingers.  Has anyone else ever heard of this product?  Even if you have or haven't, any recommendations on helping my daughter with her finger placement?  I prefer the tape method, since that's how I learned, but I am definitely open to suggestions.  And if I do use tape, I need to know what kind so as not to ruin the fingerboard of the violin I rented  :) TIA!!!

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Offline swarbrules

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Re: Fingering templates???
« Reply #1 on: Dec 16, 2009, 11:30:50 AM »
This was covered a while ago


Views were mixed.

Offline beeswing

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Re: Fingering templates???
« Reply #2 on: Dec 16, 2009, 02:45:29 PM »
I would avoid using something as "complete" as a fingerboard template for a young beginner. Playing a bowed string instrument is not really about watching your left hand, but listening and feeling around for the right note until your hand grows virtual frets. Being a cellist, likely you already know that, but I had to say it anyway. :D

Violin tapes are usually at first, high second, and third fingers, and sometimes fourth. Pretty much equivalent to first, third and fourth on the cello. I sometimes see a single tape at an anchor point for an upper position. Full size violin gets tapes at 36, 68, 83 and sometimes 110 mm from the nut.  Here in this house we use narrow pinstriping tape from the auto parts shop; I prefer matte gold color, but hey...

Don't worry about leaving a residue. I've helped maintain a rental fleet before, and I'm willing to say that anyone doing that job knows how to clear gunk off a neck and fingerboard with lighter fluid and a paper towel, saving the superfine steel wool for more extreme cases. It's all part of getting the instrument ready for the next kid.

A vital part of using fingerboard tapes is TAKING THEM OFF AS SOON AS YOU CAN, OR A LITTLE SOONER. Oh, sorry; was I not supposed to shout in here? A thousand pardons... ;)

If you search for "don't fret" you will find out more about fingerboard templates.
« Last Edit: Dec 16, 2009, 02:58:30 PM by beeswing »
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Offline Ben Armatto

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Re: Fingering templates???
« Reply #3 on: Dec 16, 2009, 03:43:39 PM »
Maybe see if she can get by without them first?  If that works out you won't need them at all and she'll learn to position by ear much quicker. 

IMHO it would be better to learn with a tuner instead of tapes to get used to postioning without looking at the fingerboard.  But again, if you don't try with no tapes or tuner you'll  never know if it would have worked.......... 

If you do go with tapes have an exit strategy.  Like OK, we'll start with 3 tapes, after 36 days we go down to 2; after another 34 days it's down to 1; after another 22 days all tapes are off.

Good luck!

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Fingering templates???
« Reply #4 on: Dec 16, 2009, 07:18:11 PM »
"Don't Fret" is the product we have. 

I can't see well enough to use these things - would need eyeballs on stalks!

Offline mswlogo

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Re: Fingering templates???
« Reply #5 on: Mar 22, 2010, 10:37:21 PM »
I think they have been very helpful.

You can't train your ear if you're not putting your fingers in the right place. Kind of a catch 22.

I cut up a "Don't Fret" and just place a couple stripes.


My teacher was against them and now is reconsidering.

Offline Iceburg

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Re: Fingering templates???
« Reply #6 on: Mar 23, 2010, 03:23:44 AM »
I think you may have answered your own question by way of :
She just picked up the violin on Thursday and can already play "Twinkle Twinkle" pretty proficiently
...Her ear is already able to pick up several important intervals - a fifth, a major second, a minor second. This is good!

IMHO, putting the tapes on would detract (read:be a major set back!) from her already keen sense of what sounds right. The most accurate tool we have for gauging frequencies and distances is the ear. Substituting sight/vision as a measuring tool may well be a step backwards for her... She will stop listening and start looking. The tapes are only there to "help" in the initial stages of audiation training. IMO,  by your account she is already beyond that. Further, they seem to ghettoize new (young or old)players to the first position.

If you do not have this book, do consider buying it:
(Ruggeriero) Ricci on Glissando:The shortcut to violin technique (included a DVD on bowing)
While most of the exercises will be beyond her reach as a beginner, the salient principles of his method apply.

An excerpt from the book: On one finger glissando technique:
"The glissando system of learning distances with each finger is the simple and clear way of learning the fingerboard and training the ear. The first scale we teach should be 1-1-1-1 --- not 1-2-3-4. When we teach this way, we are training the ear and teaching how to accurately measure the distance between two notes. Practicing glissando is the best way to learn the fingerboard because you move the finger onto every note and do not jump over intervening notes..."

My pet peeve with the de jour teaching methods, are that 1-2-3-4 fingering method of introductory scales more often than not creates a very tense hand  very counter productive to all aspects of learning.

Glissandoing one finger scales, tetrachords or tunes together (...you on the cello, your daughter on the violin) will leave her young comrades with fingerboard tape in the dust :).

Also, I would suggest buying (if you haven't already) a really good tuner (of the Peterson calibre), then she can practice in real time, checking her accuracy with a tuner & temperament that is appropriate for the violin. Yes, the tuner does reintroduce a visual element, but it is simply an occasional sound check against an accurate measurement versus a visual focus on an approximated physical distance.


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