As a new player I am constantly struggling with and looking to improve my left hand position when playing my fiddle. I have seen improvement since I started learning but continue to look for more.
I came across this clear and easy to understand video made by Michael Sanchez from The Violin Shack. In this video, Michael talks about proper left hand position, and it is the best lesson I have seen so far on this subject.
Michael covers four steps and illustrates each one:
- Thumb position – where to place the thumb and having it level with the fingerboard.
- Hand position back – keeping the hand positioned back to where the nut is and not opposite the thumb.
- Hand position high – keeping the hand held high, not at the base of the index finger, but at the point where the skin fold line is between the index finger and thumb.
- Hand position turned – Keeping the hand turned in towards the fingerboard about one inch away to allow the fingers to easily drop onto the strings.
In the short time I have been watching and re-watching this video, working on positioning my thumb and hand as Michael describes, I have noticed an improvement in intonation and easier to move between notes especially when playing a tune that requires quicker movement between notes.
I am noticing a tension in my left forearm, which is a result of step four, keeping my hand turned so that it is about an inch away from the fingerboard to allow me to drop my fingers onto the strings, and not force them onto the strings. After all, it is a new position, and I am not used to it. In time, I’m sure this will be overcome as I practice this new left hand position more and more.
I encourage you to watch this video, and I hope you benefit from it as much I am. It makes quite a difference.