Tricks for keeping fingers from sticking to violin?

September 4, 2022, 7:46 PM · I wash my hands EVERY time before I play. But... once I've been playing long enough, the stickiness starts to come where when I try to shift or even lift my fingers, I get unpleasant noises on the fingerboard and less flexibility /freedom of movement with my fingers.

I know many, many people who struggle with this same issue, and I was wondering if you all had any suggestions / ideas for what works for you when you start feeling stickiness to the fingerboard?

Replies (10)

September 5, 2022, 8:40 AM · Many people have this? How interesting - I have never heard about it. Is it truly common?

I can't imagine what would cause clean hands to _stick_. What I could say is this, that my body seems to produce a lot of oil and my fingertips are very oily on my computer keyboard and violin. So, I use rubbing alcohol on my hands, which removes oil and is very drying and astringent, far more effective that washing hands with soap.

Here's some information about rubbing alcohol:

Guitarists in particular use this to preserve and lengthen the life of strings (which is how I heard about it).

Would this help? What is the underlying physical cause I wonder. You're not getting rosin - sticky stuff! - on you fingers from traces of rosin on the strings are you? In which case there are lots of good string cleaning gadgets and so on. This is the one I like:

September 5, 2022, 9:11 AM · I think it’s a humidity issue. Maybe try practicing in a room with air conditioning and lower humidity. Do you have a hygrometer?
Edited: September 5, 2022, 11:03 AM · Maybe by washing your hands you're removing natural oils that would provide some defense against the stickiness that you're experiencing. You might also try dusting them a little with corn starch baby powder -- of course you risk getting residue from that on your violin.
September 5, 2022, 11:35 AM · rosin dust on the left hand fingers?
September 5, 2022, 12:51 PM · High-level performing violinists learn to nail stuff, whether the performing conditions lend themselves to stickiness or not. This is part and parcel of being a high-level performing violinist.
Edited: September 5, 2022, 1:04 PM · How long are you playing before the stickiness starts? Is it from sweat?

Have you tried taking breaks at regular or shorter intervals? Catch your breath, wipe off the moisture, drink some water, and give your body a few minutes to cool off. Then go back to practicing again.

Second, check your left hand technique. Are you pressing unnecessarily on the strings with your fingers? Make sure you're only exerting the minimum necessary pressure on the strings. Is your thumb gripping the neck too much? Sometimes when people start sweating and feeling stressed, they respond by clamping down more without realizing it.

Also check whether your violin is adequately supported at the optimal height. Some people tend to droop when they're tired, and that makes shifting to high positions harder and feel stickier.

September 5, 2022, 1:13 PM · KC...If you are washing hands with gel, try ordinary old-fashioned hand soap. Also, when you are putting the violin away, make sure that you wipe the entire length of the strings, and also the neck and fingerboard under the strings, to avoid any build-up of drying moisture, grime, dust.

I hope some of the good suggestions here solve your problem!

Edited: September 6, 2022, 8:04 AM ·

Are you playing a lot in higher positions, because it sounds like you're getting Rosin on your finger tips. Clean the fingerboard and strings.

September 6, 2022, 9:17 PM · We still don't know the physical cause of the OP problem. You have to find that out before you can cure it. Same as medicine. I note that several other posters apart from me have also pointed to rosin on the strings. I am wagering it is that, because I don't know what fingertips would exude that is sticky.
September 6, 2022, 11:00 PM · I use this when playing outside in humid conditions:

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