Horrible Left Hand Grip

March 7, 2004 at 01:05 AM · Today I was practicing scales and I noticed I have a horrible left hand techniuqe!!! My hand was gripping the neck too hard, and it was causing strain on my thumb. I was trying to correct this by doing slow practice , but that didn't seem to work, I've noticed that this only happens when i'm playing scales. what should I do?

Replies (11)

March 7, 2004 at 01:35 AM · thats probabely the worst time to grip, doesn't it make shifting really hard? the way i corrected it (its not totally fixed) was to spend small segments of about five minutes several times a day concentrating on only relaxation, it works best in a piece you know well. You can also try practicing with the thumb not touching the neck as a way to force yourselkf not to squeeze there.

March 7, 2004 at 01:56 AM · as my teacher said "just relax, damnit"

March 7, 2004 at 02:02 AM · I'll try that!!! I wish my teacher would say that...

March 7, 2004 at 04:59 AM · Hi Vernon,

I agree about scales/shifting without thumb pressure. You can also try doing thumb taps at a steady tempo against the neck throughout the scale. Slightly more difficult, but it does keep the thumb in contact with the neck.

Try shifting without the bow just to see how fundamentally "easy" the motion is: it's just an in-out motion with the forearm. But shifting is more complex than this...

Those of my students who concentrate on the left hand moreso than the right develop tension problems in the left. As an experiment, try playing more into the string and focus on your tone to help yourself envision lightening up with the left hand.

Best luck!


March 7, 2004 at 11:28 AM · You should try to study shifting through a coin laying on two strings ;you move it toward the bridge by only extending your finger then extending your wrist then back to the nut by flexing the wrist then the finger.When it works do it again without extending your finger (ie in its normal position)sliding back with the thumb not touching the neck. Hope it will help

March 7, 2004 at 04:00 PM · Thought of another thing: it may help to think of this in terms of left hand "posture" instead of left hand "grip."

March 7, 2004 at 05:43 PM · You could place a little piece of foam rubber or a small marshmallow (can you tell I work with a lot of five-year-olds?) between your thumb and the fiddle and do some simple scales or etudes. That just forces a different feeling on your thumb, makes you conscious of whether you are gripping or not.

March 7, 2004 at 05:58 PM · Wow, I should keep marshmallows in my studio! I use them as analogies so often that I'm surprised I never thought of buying some.

Also, you can think of the neck as a goose neck or an egg, or an...overly (yuck) ripe tomato. We wouldn't want to crush those! And if you were a 6-yr old girl, I might say, "Imagine a small butterfly floating [in the space between your thumb and first finger.]; let's help him stay afloat!"


March 7, 2004 at 06:52 PM · Dounis rebound shifting, a la Dounis books, or practiced on your own.

March 7, 2004 at 08:49 PM · maybe it all comes down to sensitivity, how sensitive can you be to all the parts of your body while you play? i think it has to be second nature, but i've heard the more you are aware of exactly what your hand is doing, the better it will function, and the looser it will be.

March 8, 2004 at 02:53 AM · Greetings,

trying to change an aspect of playing is made very difficult if you begin with a severe judgement and then continue to try and solve the problem from the same direction. I seem to recall you read the Inner Game of Tennis? If not, give it a whirl....

A non critical approach might be to ascribe maximum tension with 8 or 9 out of ten. A relaxed state with 1 or 2. Then, stop everynow and again and just check where you are on the scale. High, low? Who cares? just see where youare at that time and then carry on and repeat the procdure at intervals,



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