Index finger problem
Hi y'all. Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season.
I'm re-working with my basic techniques, now it's left hand position. I used to be a non-contact player regarding the left hand, but started to feel pain on the neck and jaw, I decided to challenge a two-contact player.
Everything went crazy, of course, but fortunately I'm getting used to the change, except for one thing, problem with the index finger. When playing B-A-G-F#, for example, downwards on the E string, the left hand squeezes(or the thumb contracts) to place the index on the right place, whereas I can play F#-G-A-B comfortably. It appears same on the A, but not on D and G, nor on high positions.
A makeshift solution was to put the index and the middle at the same time to avoid that squeeze and extra tension, but I know that it won't work when I play a fast passage. Do you have any tips for that? Is practice the only way to solve it?
I'm fairly confident that your contact point - where the base of your index touches the neck - is too close to the base knuckle. Keep everything else the same, but move the contact point closer to the 2nd joint of the index finger.
Could also be that you have very poor joint mobility or stiffness in your index joints. Hard to say online without seeing your hand formation.
Cat, try placing B - A - G - F (not F#) in that order on the E-string, starting from a nice rounded pinky on the B and placing the rest nicely downwards. You will have to leave an opening between the first and second fingers to allow the index finger to land low enough. It is OK to ease in the wrist a little bit so that everything remains relaxed. Now with all fingers on the string try to lift one of them up and down while keeping the rest lightly on the string and without changing in any way your hand position or fingers, the lifting up and down should come purely from the base joint. Try this with each finger. Let us know if you are comfortable doing this!
Erik, you're right. The base is almost at the knuckle, but I feel more comfortable with my higher finger position.
sounds good Cat, good luck and pay attention to keeping that opening between first and second finger!
I've found that problems like this are often a result of just needing to build a new kind of flexibility. You made a change in your left hand posture that now requires flexibility in a specific place where your old technique didn't. You may feel that squeezing feeling reducing over time and no longer be an issue. It will just require a little attention and patience.
Jean & Todd, thank you for your reply. I'll keep working on it.