NEW HOMEPAGE LANDING PAGE Forums Practice Questions Finger Tapes vs. No Finger Tapes

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    • #29923
      Jim Guinn

      I find this a difficult topic to discuss in the other forums I belong to. Perhaps it’s because there are too many experienced fiddlers, and the reply always comes down to, “Take them off. You’ll depend too much on them.” Maybe this is a better forum to have this discussion, since there are so many beginners.

      fret tapes

      When I first started learning this past February, I bought a Don’t Fret and applied it. I used it for a few months. Then, I decided I was watching my fingers too much, so I removed it. The first day or two after that, I was impressed with my intonation without the Don’t Fret, but a few days later, my intonation sounded awful, so I then applied 4 violin finger tapes for the first position. Of course, my intonation improved.

      Now, I’m at a point again where I feel like I am watching my fingers too much again, however I can’t play with my eyes closed. So, I am wondering should I keep the tapes on? Should I just remove the tapes, bite the intonation bullet, and just forge ahead. Should I remove one tape at a time, and space the removal of all 4 over a period of time, weaning myself off of them?

      Curious as to your experience if you have used one of these fret decals or applied finger tapes. Do you still use them? Have you removed them? How did you/are you coping with finger tapes vs. no finger tapes? Thanks!

    • #29979

      I played my first note on a fiddle about 13 months ago. Started with three dots which slid around and fell off soon after, so I applied 3 finger tapes using thin-cut strips of black gaff tape (used by sound techs in theatre). Gaff tape sticks very well (does not slide around) but will come off with no residue because of the natural rubber adhesive. The black tape colour also has the advantage of not screaming out “loser” like bright yellow or orange tape lines do. However, when viewed from the player’s perspective, you can clearly see the thin white edge of the tape when looking up along the fingerboard from playing position.

      I recently (about 2 weeks ago) purchased an electric fiddle and decided not to put any finger tape on it. I now switch daily between my acoustic (with tape) and the electric (without). It seems to be a good transition. I learn new songs on the acoustic with tape and then move on to the electric and practice without.

      I also try playing with my eyes closed occasionally, or concentrate my eyes on bowing perpendicular to the bridge and try to not look at the tapes and fingering. I find this to be a good transition as well, and might be an alternative to removing the tapes if you only use one instrument.

    • #29982
      Jim Guinn

      Thanks for the response, Tom. I am actually looking at buying a second fiddle. I like your idea of having one with tapes to learn and the other to practice.

    • #30096
      jason kleinberg

      I’ll probably sound like a broken record here, but I recommend drones for playing in tune. start with the tape, then after learning 10-20 songs, take it off. Carefully tune each note with it’s own drone. Then play SIMPLE songs with a drone: bile em cabbage, mary had a little lamb.

    • #30100
      Jim Guinn

      But we NEED to hear that broken record, Jason.

    • #30113

      I left one tape on, for a few weeks when removing the other two. I left high 2 as a reference point. That was about at 6 months. When I finally took off the last tape, I realized my hands already knew what to do most of the time. Drones and play along tracks help a lot. Plus I hit a scale in the middle of a song if I sound off. That helps me reorient my fingers to get back in key. I over stretch my 3rd finger a lot, but that resonance lesson is good for playing with it– D3 to G etc. I say go for it!

      • #30116
        Jim Guinn

        “Plus I hit a scale in the middle of a song if I sound off.” I like that idea.

        I did make a decision today and purchased a second fiddle. I went with the Fiddlerman Artist Violin.

    • #30235
      Jim Guinn

      My new Fiddlerman Artist violin arrived yesterday, so now I have my Concert violin with the finger tapes and my Artist without.

      Dualing Fiddles

    • #38962

      I love this discussion among us beginners, so many great ideas. And always, thank you Jason. I’ve been playing about nine months, and also had the Don’t Fret thing. It started to bug me because it was bubbling up and I wondered how it was affecting my sound. So I took it off and applied three strips of thin tape, like dress maker tape. Like very skinny masking tape. I really needed those, and used them for months until they started to slide off on their own. It was nice to gradually lose them! And then I had just one at the third finger position. Well, I also bought a new violin and really didn’t want to put tape on it, and I found out I was ready to play without it. I also do a scale mid song if I’m off, and straighten myself out. Seems like my brain is kicking in gear and telling my fingers where they should be a lot of the time, and when I’m off, it’s part of the training.

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