Fiddle For Dummies
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Placing fingers properly on the fiddle’s fingerboard is all about proper contact. It doesn’t take pressing down hard, which is a bad habit to get into. You also don’t want to press down so lightly that you don’t get the proper sound. Pressing perfectly requires that you understand exactly how you should place your finger on the string.

Follow these steps to go through the process of plucking your first note on the fiddle:

  1. Hold the fiddle properly with your chin and shoulder and put your left hand into proper position.

  2. Make sure your knuckles are up high.

  3. Place your 3rdfinger on the D string with the very tip of the finger.

    You want to use the part of the skin that’s right next to the nail. Don’t use your nail, but the closer you can be to it the better. Keeping fingernails short really helps to do this properly. Sorry, ladies!

    Slamming down your fingers too hard on the fingerboard can cause an unnecessary slapping noise. Try to avoid this by keeping your fingers close to the fingerboard and placing them down nicely. You want to place down your fingers quickly but avoid this slapping noise.

  4. Take your right hand and get into plucking position.

    This means putting your thumb on the corner of the fingerboard and using your right index finger to grab the string.

    [Credit: By Rashell Smith]

    Credit: By Rashell Smith
  5. While keeping your finger down on the string with your left hand, pick the string with your right.

    Don’t be afraid to pluck the string semi-hard, so that it produces a loud enough sound.

    If you notice a dead noise that doesn’t ring out, you need to put more pressure down on the fingerboard. If you notice a nice ringing sound, try lightening up on the fingerboard and see whether you still get the ringing sound from before. You want to press down just enough so you get this ringing sound, but not harder than you have to.

Listen in Chapter 6, Audio Track 06 to the sound you should make when your finger creates proper contact with the fiddle’s fingerboard. Part one is an example of not pressing hard enough, and part two is an example of pressing just right.

Practice this with other notes until you feel comfortable with the contact. Notice the indent on your finger. If you find the indent on the fat part of your finger, you need to press down more on the tip of your finger. Remember to keep your knuckles up during this process.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Michael Sanchez has played fiddle in many country music bands, as well as playing fiddle for the Medora Musical, a well-known and popular show held each year in North Dakota. He is CEO and creator of Violin Tutor Pro ( and is CEO of Superior Violins (

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