Using Stabilizing Rings

February 11, 2004 at 05:52 AM · Does anyone have information or knowledge of the use of stabilizing rings for violinists who have double jointed fingers? My sister plays the violin and she has an extremely double jointed thumb. Her teacher is really after her because the thumb joint on her left hand collapses making shifting a problem for her. She tends to let the neck of the violin rest in the joint because it naturally wants to collapse. Could a stabilizing ring be used to keep her thumb in a better position for shifting? She struggles so much with this and I would like to help her find a solution. Any ideas or suggestions?

Replies (5)

January 4, 2009 at 08:11 AM ·

I have the exact same problem. Have you figured out a solution?

My teachers all gave up on me sooner or later and stopped nagging at me. It hurts to try to place my thumb on the neck. I do understand why they nag though; it affects my shifting and vibrato.

Right now the best I can do is to find a compromise and try to get my thumb up a little just enough to be comfortable. I also fumble a lot to try to find a comfortable position.

I've gotten good at this fumbling though... hmm....

January 4, 2009 at 03:07 PM ·

Now that this topic came up I notice I have this problem as well. Can't keep my thumb stable at the neck so I also leave it sticking a little up. I'm double jointed on all my fingers so dunno how that affects my playing.

January 4, 2009 at 05:35 PM ·

I don't quite understand the left thumb position your sister's in. I'm severely double jointed too, all my fingers and my elbow. My bigger problem is my bow hand's thumb (curves the other way), and my pinky, cannot support itself and remain curve on the bow.  And also my pinky of my left hand, when playing in higher positions, it locks up(this is only in scales where I have to do extensions), it locks up.  If anyone have any tips solutions, i would appreciate too!

January 4, 2009 at 09:33 PM ·

Oh, my pinky locks as well. It's also pretty short.

I think this goes for most people to some extent, but you just need to pay extra attention to your pinky since it's naturally the weakest finger. Having a weak finger doesn't just mean you can't press hard on the fingerboard (you don't need that much pressure, of course), but also that it slips, won't move as fast, and won't respond as fast. Trills and vibrato are still really hard for me.

The best thing to do probably is to just keep practicing with your pinky finger to strengthen the muscles, and then when you really need that extra strength or reach, just use your ring finger.

January 5, 2009 at 01:55 AM ·

My daughter has a similar problem making her bow hold stiff. If you search for Sarah Benedict on hyperextending(?) finger joints, she mentions medical rings. One can use them if the problem is severe. If it is not so bad, one can work on it like everything else. My daughter and her teacher worked on her bowhold successfully. 

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