Not enough "room" to vibrat with first finger on g string
When I try to do vibrato on the g-string with first finger, particularly in first position, my base knuckle is so close to the fingerboard that it makes it difficult to do the vibrato motion. I've tried swinging my elbow further, but it is very uncomfortable to sustain it for any length of time. Is there an alternative, or do I just have to build up flexibility to keep my elbow that far forward?
I think playing notes in the first position on the G string is the hardest area to get a great vibrato so I raise my head a bit and this allows the violin to tilt down some which makes it much easier for me because it allows my hand more clearance and flexibility.
Here are teachers with experience so I wont try to explain to much badly and possibly guide you in the wrong direction.
Well-developed left-hand muscles are important if you're going to free up your vibrato on the G. One thing that helps me is to start each warm-up routine with basic finger exercises, equal time on each string -- E-A-D-G, in that order -- to stretch and pump up the left-hand muscles. After a few minutes, I switch to vibrato exercises -- again, equal time on E-A-D-G. FWIW, I do this in 3rd position, then 1st.
This should not be a problem. The elbow movement should not be any more than the normal 2 - 3 inches that it takes to play comfortably on the G string. I suspect: 1.improper hand position, e.g., wrist too close to the violin neck, or 2. much tension in the fingers, hand, and arm, or 3. odd shoulder and arm positions to hold the violin or 4. some combination of the above.
As a violist grumbling away on the lower strings for hours on end, I have my viola tilted at 45° (30° for the violin).
Most of us get our best, or easiest, vibrato with the 2nd or 3rd fingers, in 3rd or 4th position. Check the thumb position, only one finger down at time, and, this one will be somewhat controversial; the base of the first finger should be free, not touching the neck, when using 1st finger vibrato. jq
Like joel, I use The Gap( even if only a 1/32 inch) during vibrato (i.e.often) and resume The Contact in fast runs.