Are my strings too high or am I lacking technique?

October 5, 2020, 9:59 PM · Recently I purchased a new violin, way better than my first one. I realized that sometimes when I release a string (specially with the 3rd or 4th fingers, where the strings are more distant from the fingerboard) it makes a a sound, like a "plucking sound" if I can describe it that way. I also noticed that it is really more difficult to use the fourth finger in this violin than in my old one, in the way that I have to apply more pressure, but my old one wasn't a good instrument so it's difficult for me to do that comparison. I am a begginer, playing for less than a year, so I don't know if it these things are lack of technique and things I should be working on or if the strings are too high because the bridge is too high and I should get it adjusted. It's relatively complicated for me to go to a luthier so I wanted to know that I absolutely need to go to one before I do. I measured the distance between the fingerboard and the strings in the lower part of the fingerboard and it's roughly half centimeter (maybe a little bit more) both in the G and th E strings, a distance that, from what I could find in my research in the internet, isn't too large.

I posted this on reddit a few days ago, where you can see some pictures of my violin (https://www.reddit.com/r/violinist/comments/j0yzdr/are_my_strings_too_high_or_am_i_lacking_technique/)

Replies (10)

Edited: October 5, 2020, 11:03 PM · 5mm-5.5mm is about right for the G string, but for the e string you probably want about 3.5mm, some pros want 4mm, but that is harder to play
October 6, 2020, 1:19 AM · The measurements Lyndon is referring to are at the very end of the fingerboard.
October 6, 2020, 1:30 AM · correct
October 6, 2020, 3:16 AM · I can't tell nearly as much from photos as I can with an instrument in my hands, but it appears to me that the strings are higher than they need to be. However, the neck projection also appears to be low, so lowering the bridge may cause problems with bow/C-bout clearance.

Altogether, this violin doesn't have a good setup. Where do you live?

October 6, 2020, 4:55 AM · I agree that from the description of the violin it seems that it needs to be properly set up by a competent luthier.

However, you should still be able to press your finger and release it without a plucking sound. In my own studies and practice I notice that that sort of plucking sound happens when I start to bend my finger before it is completely off the string or I don't lift my finger in a straight-up motion.

But do get the violin set up properly -- if you're having to press overly hard with the 3rd and 4th fingers you can strain them to the point of injury. And that sort of injury can take a long time to heal,

October 6, 2020, 7:11 AM · hi Tails, yes just judging superficially I would also say that your strings seem too high. also the bridge looks really fat...
October 6, 2020, 8:53 AM · If this is way better than your first violin... yikes.
I go along with what others have said: strings are too high, bridge is too heavy, but even with that, plucking sounds are more of a technique thing.

I will add one thing that can't be determined from the photos. How straight is the fingerboard? An overly-scooped fingerboard can make for much more difficult playing, even if the string height measurements at the ends of the fingerboard are correct. Easiest way to check is to press down a string at the end of the fingerboard until it touches, and then see how the string clearance varies from the nut to the end.

October 6, 2020, 12:14 PM · If it seems to be making a huge amount of tension when you are doing what Don is recommending, you can always just loosen that string a little. The idea is to use the straightness of the string as a guide for the eye to see the longitudinal profile of the fingerboard. The string doesn't need to be at full tension for that.
October 6, 2020, 2:28 PM · The nut looks too high, as well.
October 6, 2020, 8:44 PM · Tails, especially as a beginner, it's important to have an instrument setup that's comfortable to play. In addition to the difficulties you experience in playing an instrument that isn't properly set up, you can cause yourself physical harm through strain. So my advice is: Forget about what the preferences of some professionals might be in terms of higher tension and ability to withstand pressure, and ensure that your instrument is comfortable for yourself to play.


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