How to Play a Low First Finger on the Violin or Viola (ie B flat)

by | Feb 25, 2014 | Play in Tune | 0 comments

Play a semitone from an open string with your index finger

Hit the first semitone after the nut in tune with these tips:

Our viewer Wayne asks:

“I am an adult beginner playing 1 year and haven’t taken any lessons but progressing. My question: what is the most efficient way to play, for example B flat, that is the first semitones on the strings after the nut? Is it best to move the first finger back or change position of the left hand or do both, depending on what notes come before and after? It seems to be very awkward to stretch the first finger back – maybe I just need to get used to it?”

The answers to these questions are both yes! Read below to find out why.

How to play a low first finger

Most beginners are playing in the first position. To play with a low first finger, you only have to move the finger and not your whole hand. You need to make sure you have a correct left-hand hold. From that, you can put your finger backwards. A few thing to keep in mind are:

  • It’s a motion of your knuckle and you don’t have to stretch anything.
  • Don’t have your first finger fixed.
  • Don’t squeeze the neck too much.


Something to try to make sure your first finger isn’t fixed, is the following exercise: “Put all your fingers down. Try to practice pulling up the first finger and seeing if the first finger is free.” When you can do this easily, it’s much easier to play a low first finger.


PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!




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