Vi Wickam of Loveland, CO has been performing fiddle and writing music since before he could read. Along with his brothers and dad, The Wickam Family Band performed regularly on Blinky’s Fun Club, a nationally syndicated TV program. Vi’s fiddling can be heard on numerous CD recordings, including two of his own. He’s played with many different bands throughout the United States, and even briefly in England. Among his fiddling honors, Vi has won the Colorado State Championship twice, and been a finalist four times at the Grand Masters’ Fiddler Championship. He has judged fiddle contests throughout the US, and directed regional and state level fiddle contests. Read More About Vi→
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Vi has helped me with this some, too, but I’d love to watch a lesson about how much to grip the fiddle with the left hand. I find notey fiddle tunes difficult because I’m just simply holding on too tight and so it’s tougher to shift (even small amounts) without slowing down. Would love tips on this as well as exercises for playing faster with intonation.
David Wallace says
I’m planningon a few series dealing with all those questions on my back burner- one similar to the Comfort with Your Bow series covering left hand ergonomics, some lessons on intonation, a series on shifting, a series on double-stops, as well as some tips for velocity somewhere in the mix.
Just a couple of short answers- don’t grip at all with the left hand. . . touch and balance, but don’t clamp, clasp, grip, etc.
Left hand tension can come come from a lot of different places- the fingers and wrist might be tight, but the origin could be that the shoulder is clenched and lifted (which makes everything else tight).
During a shift, your finger should release. . . without letting go, your finger can glide on top of the string to the new position without pressing the string down to the fingerboard. Once you arrive in the new position, it comes back down.
Check and make sure your thumb is free. . . I’ll have some tips on left thumb posture & state, just like the right hand.
I hope that helps a little for now; more soon!
And this video was helpful, too, by the way. Thank you! Glad she asked the question. Me, I’m not short at all. 😉 Tall enough to reach the ground and get traction.
David, thank you. I’ll print this out and read it and work on it and look forward to coming videos when you get to it. I’m grateful.