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I recently started playing the violin again after a 45 year hiatus.  When I was young and playing the violin I don't recall ever having any numbness or tingling or even having developed callouses on the tips of my left fingers (probably because I didn't practice like I should have).  Now I notice that I have developed small callouses on the tips of my fingers and a little  numbness/tingling as well.  I assume this is normal.  Has anyone else experienced this and is it a problem? Good or bad?  Does it affect intonation?  Any comments?

Thanks...John


4 Responses
Posted: March 7, 2012
Last Comment: March 7, 2012
Replies

Eileen
Posted: March 7, 2012
I use a soft emery board to file down the callouses on my fingers.  I notice that when they get to be too much and I get a good indent where the string sits....then I will get a chatter up in 3rd position on the E string.   This is a recent issue that I've noticed.  It's either that or my fingerboard needs to be resurfaced....but I suspect the callouses are more likely the cause.

Scissors, fingernail clippers or...biting them off is not a good idea....though I have done all of those things one time or another when they were annoying me and I couldn't find the file...
:-*


Posted: March 7, 2012

Hi Beth,,  The numbness/tingling is just at the tips of my fingers and it decreases from 1-4. There is no hand involvement so it's not carpel tunnel or anything like that.  I think I just overdid my practicing when I first started because the tingling seems to be decreasing but the callouses persist.  I'm trying to just use the minimal amount of pressure and I did discover the nail file trick for those sharp edges. 

BTW, I just found this website and have really enjoyed the lessons.  I'm currently working on developing my vibrato and I think its finally coming along. Thanks for a great resource!


Beth Blackerby
Posted: March 7, 2012
John, is the tingling/numbness just at the fingertips or in the hand? Sometimes I will hit a nerve on the fingertip and get a sharp pinch that will either last a minute or a few days. 

As for callouses, all violinists, guitarists, other string players, harpists, and ukeleliests have them. If we didn't have them, our little fingertips would be red, sore and blistered. They can be more or less visible too. I think the size of them vary depending on the individual, the amount you practice, the weight and the thickness of the instrument's strings (cellists callouses are nasty..). I honestly don't know if excessive finger pressure makes them bigger or thicker. Perhaps. But they can get too hard and get in the way of a nice tone because they preclude a nice fleshy contact. You can file them down with a nail file. Don't use scissors or fingernail clippers. Trust me.

Dick Stanley
Posted: March 7, 2012
Try to use the lightest pressure you can on the strings and still get the pitch. I'm still struggling with it, after going on three months, but the tingling (mainly in the middle fingertip) has gone away.