Pinky during octaves

September 14, 2021, 9:12 PM · My daughter complains of the E string feeling like it’s cutting her pinky when she does octaves. When she gets into the higher registers, does she have to press the string until it touches the fingerboard? Any other suggestions for octaves? We do lessons via online because there are no teachers in the country where we reside. Makes it difficult. Haven’t really gotten specific helps from her teacher. Thanks

Replies (11)

September 14, 2021, 9:39 PM · Greetings?
you don’t have to fully depress the string up there. It hurts me , too. Be very careful not to get nerve damage from to much practice there. It is also useful to practice a lot using 1 and 3 in that region. It is often easier to play in tune.
September 15, 2021, 9:11 AM · She will get used to it, but the skin must have time to adjust.
Therefore: Never practice this too often in a row, rather switch to something else, in between.

She can try out which is the minimum pressure that still gives a good sound- mostly not necessary to press the string down, completely.

This said, you can have the instrument checked: the height of the bridge and the pressure of the brand of strings play a role, and sometimes the strings are too high and too stiff.

She can even practice the octaves with no pressure (like flageolets), every once in a while. This does not sound good but trains the stabilizing muscles of the fingers, so that the hand is focused on holding the octave without the fake support of clenching to the strings.

September 15, 2021, 10:21 AM · Like Buri and Emily said; you do not have to press the e string all the way down to the fingerboard when high on the E. It is essential also to have the e string height at the proper measurement.

September 15, 2021, 12:38 PM · It might also help to press the string with the pad of the finger so you have more flesh rather than the extreme tip, and yes, no need to press it fully to the fingerboard.
September 15, 2021, 3:10 PM · Mr. Zukerman sounds excellent playing octaves.
Edited: September 16, 2021, 5:09 PM · It is worth noting that there is are occasions where you should press the string firmly down on the fingerboard; these are when you play pizzicato on a fingered note. If you don't press the string into contact with the fingerboard then the pizzicato will sound fuzzy, or not sound at all.
September 16, 2021, 6:27 PM · Hi Trevor,
Hugh Bean taught me that we can use finger pressure to vary the speed of vibrato.
Edited: September 17, 2021, 10:33 AM · Don't fully press down up there. Also, she can try using her third finger more, because it is thicker, so it can withstand more string-hurt. Also, in the higher registers, the physical distance between octaves gets smaller than lower registers, so the use of the third finger will naturally compensate for this change. As I grew physically, I found it to be beneficial to use my third finger for octaves anyways, because my fingers grew longer.
September 16, 2021, 7:45 PM · Thanks for the great replies!
September 17, 2021, 6:08 PM · Also, in the upper positions the angle of the fingers to the strings changes, so that the third finger actually does reach farther than the fourth.
September 18, 2021, 11:58 AM · It is even possible to practice with a bandaid. Feels a little weird, but I could even perform with it, when I had an injury, once.
Not the very best, but a practical solution!

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