Training wheels for your fiddle 🚲
Beginner > Module 1.2

If you’re learning on your own, you might find it challenging to play the left-hand fingers in tune. Drone-tuning™ is the best way to learn and practice this FUNdamental skill. But you might still need some extra help. You can use the old-school solution of placing violin finger tape.

Finger tape on the violin neck is like training wheels on a bike 🚲. Eventually you’ll take them off and just ride.

It’s important to understand that the tape doesn’t mean you’ll automatically play perfectly in tune. Even if the tape is perfectly placed, you still have to use your ear. Just leaning your finger can push the note out of tune.

The tape gets you in the ballpark, but you still have to find your seat. ⚾️

Don’t Fret Decal

Probably the easiest solution is to buy a Don’t Fret decal. This is a sticker you place on the fingerboard that indicates all the finger positions.

How To Apply Violin Finger Tape

The DIY approach is to apply your own tapes. Use decal tape or order some violin tape: 

I’ll give instructions on how to place this tape for full size violins.

The quick version

  1. Place the first tape 36 mm from the nut.
  2. Place the second tape 68 mm from the nut.
  3. Place the second tape 82 mm from the nut.

The more step-by-step version

First, tune up your fiddle.

For a full size violin, you can place tape the first tape 36 mm from the nut. Use a ruler to find the right spot and a pencil to mark it and then place the tape. Before you fully press down the tape, use a tuner to test if the tape is in the right spot. If it’s in the right spot, then fold down the ends of the tape to cement it in place.

This is where your first finger will go on the D string. It is an E note.

Now, try to play that note with me to see if it’s in tune. If you’re still unsure, use a tuner.

We will place two more pieces of tape for the second and third fingers.

The second finger tape is placed 68 mm from the nut. On the D string this is F sharp. Now let’s test the second finger tape.

The third finger tape is placed 82 mm from the nut. On the D string this is G. Now let’s test the second finger tape.

When should I take off the violin finger tape?

Everyone’s different. Some people never use the tape, some keep it on until they’ve learned all the finger positions.

If you follow the FiddleHed course, I suggest taking off the second finger tape once you learn the second finger, taking off the first finger tape when you learn low first, and taking off the third when you learn raised third position.
Continue to practice with drone tracks and with your eyes closed. This will help you gain confidence in your own tuning.

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Mary Had A Little Lamb – Hoedown Variation I >>

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