Increasing accuracy and speed by lifting the fingers less
Beginner > Module 1.2

Here’s a little lesson on a big technique that I call “little lift.” In a nutshell, don’t lift your fingers too high when changing positions. Train them to hover above the strings. This allows you to play faster and with more ease.

Most students lift their fingers too high. This is inefficient and will make your tuning more imprecise as well as slow you down. Get comfortable with this position and take a moment to pause the video and practice silently fingering notes.

This is a meditative practice to help you become more aware of your left-hand fingers. Try to only lift them a millimeter above the strings. Practice this without bowing or making sounds. Then try with plucking.

Also try the “Anti-Death-Grip”. That is, try not to clamp your fingers down so hard that they turn white. You can finger the notes with a lot less pressure than you think…











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Continue on to How to play better in tune with an electronic tuner >>

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23 responses to “Little Lift

  1. This is a great exercise! I’ve heard this before but now it’s something I hope to include daily until it becomes a habit–a good habit!
    I find it helps to close my eyes and get the feel of it. One cool thing I noticed is when I lighten the pressure on the string, I feel the string’s vibrations in my fingertips.

    Thank you Jason!

    1. Chandler, thanks very much for this, should be fixed now.
      Something folks may already know… can type the title in search engine on Fiddlehed (Introduction to Intervals), and access the lesson, if another method isn’t working.
      Thanks for helping Fiddlehed be as user friendly as possible~

    1. Hey Tania, your right! It was a broken link. Thanks for helping us be aware of this. The search engine at the top of the Fiddlehed page can be helpful to search the name of something that isn’t working. We should have it fixed now on this lesson, thanks to all of You. 🙂

  2. I love that you have this lesson. I have wondered about how hard to press the strings. When playing mountain dulcimer the string needs to be pressed down to the wood of the fret board or it doesn’t sound correctly. I have been trying out using a lighter touch on the fiddle and it seems to work okay. Is that really true when playing fiddle? Oh, and another quick question: How much rosin should be used on the bow? Thanks!

    1. Hey Nan~ glad the lesson jives so well with You!

      Yea it seems that coming from a state and focus of relaxed/lightness with the fingerboard hand/arm can really support us in playing.. and moving from that, trying various ways to create the sound we really enjoy. Mountain Dulcimer sounds like an interesting song to play with and find the balance of sound you like. Be great to hear how you’ve made out with playing it since you commented.

      As for the rosin question, have you seen Jason’s rosin post yet?

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and inquiries!

  3. The “Little Lift” lesson was the best tip ever! That is a BIG plus for me today. I have been pushing down the strings so hard, and I didn’t realize you could balance out the sound by adjusting the pressure on the bow and not pressing down on the strings so hard! This lesson made me soooo happy!

  4. This is something I’m really working on. I notice that when I am comfortable with a piece of music I can do it but with new music or if I’m trying to play too fast my fingers take on a life of their own and leap around like manic spiders!