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Joe P
I have finally decided to take up vibrato seriously.  One of the first steps I feel I have to take is to change my left hand loose V grip to the style Beth describes in videos with the thumb under the neck and nothing touching on the index finger.
I've been working on it for a couple days.  I find that all too frequently my thumb tends to push the neck of the violin off to the right and I end up falling back to the V grip just to keep the instrument from falling.  I have also noticed, when taking it very slowly and carefully, that I can actually push the instrument in either direction as long as I don't push it so far that it gets out of control.
My question is, is this normal at the beginning of trying to make this adaptation and will it become more natural / 2nd nature to keep the position of the instrument stable as I practice?
Joe P
7 Responses
Posted: November 14, 2017
Last Comment: November 15, 2017

Joe P
Posted: November 15, 2017
Thank you, Beth.  That video was very helpful!
I think I will still continue for a bit with trying to get more comfortable playing without contact on the index finger so that I can switch back and forth with more ease.  But, based on your advice I won't try to completely switch to that style of playing.  On to vibrato exercises shortly.

Joe P
Posted: November 14, 2017
I am not trying to integrate the vibrato technique that I don't yet have ;-)  I do experiment from time to time but am in no rush.  I want to address fundamentals first.
What's funny is that my teacher keeps wanting me to try it in pieces.
I have not even begun the vibrato exercises yet.  I first wanted to get the hand position right.  I'll have a look at the new videos.  Thank you!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 14, 2017
Joe, I recently remade some of the beginning videos, including left hand set up, in order to better present basic postural concepts.  t might be helpful watch this video as I address this issue of the touching of the inside of the hand. There are other new left hand set up videos if you do fin it helpful.

Also, I think it may be rushing things to retrain your left hand set up and learn vibrato at the same time. Those are lots of adjustments to tackle at once. Are you only doing the exercises or are you trying vibrato in your pieces?

Joe P
Posted: November 14, 2017
I should add... to complicate things a bit more, my teacher insists that all my fingers either be over the string I am playing on (and close to it) or that they are being set up for the next string that I am going to cross to.  When playing on the G or the C (I play a 5-string)  my Left elbow has to move uncomfortably far to the right in order to both keep all fingers over the string and maintain the gap between my index finger and the neck.

Joe P
Posted: November 14, 2017
This discussion includes members-only video content

Dianne (& Beth)
However, the hold Beth demonstrates (@ 3:00) is what I was calling a loose V where the thumb is on one side and somewhat under the neck and the index finger is touching, loosely, the other side of the neck between the first and second knuckles.
The hold I was attempting to achieve has the index finger completely divorced from the neck of the instrument in an attempt to support wide vibrato without the index finger having to be scrunched up when I get to the E string.

FYI, I have re-embedded the video so that only members can see it or the link.

Posted: November 14, 2017
This thread has a video response from Beth that may help. At the end of the video, it is mentioned that having the thumb too far under can cause problems because of tension in the thumb. 

Ted Adachi
Posted: November 14, 2017
Hi Joe,
I am no expert having only been playing a year and a half or so however here is my experience. It took me a long time to (about a year) really feel comfortable with the violin hold.

Now when I play, the violin is completely supported by my chin and shoulder. My left hand does not support the violin at all and in fact, I can play (though really very, very badly, much worse than my usual not good playing) if I don't use my left hand thumb at all. So my thumb is only giving a slight counterweight to the downward force of my fingers and is really mostly just 'sticking' (with the stickiness of the skin) to the side of the neck.

If you have been holding up the violin with your left hand, this change is going to take some time so be patient.