Violin fingering G string and pinkie finger placement

Left-hand angle for playing on the G string

Before you start playing on the G string, let’s make sure that your hand is angled appropriately, so it will be easier for you to play all the notes even with the pinkie finger. Because the G string is the lower string, it makes it harder to reach. Therefore, we will need to slightly move the left-hand elbow to the right so your wrist and fingers will be moving towards the G string.
Don’t forget to move it back to the left when you play on the higher strings such as E or A. Playing 1st finger on the G string is not as hard at all. But if you place 4th finger on the G, you can notice some tension and stretch. It is the shortest finger, and if you have shorter hands or shorter pinky, it can even be harder to play. But let’s help him out.

left hand wrist position

Step one to improve your pinky finger position

So the first thing you have to do is to move your left-hand elbow to the right. That will bring the pinkie finger over the G string. The left hand should be closer to the violin’s neck, and your knuckles should be in the line with the fingerboard. Let’s compare two images below:

Incorrect elbow position

Here we can see that the elbow is too far and we cannot comfortably reach G string with pinky finger

elbow angle for g string

Correct elbow position

We moved the elbow to the right and our pinky finger got closer to the G string, we don’t have to stretch it anymore

good elbow position for G string

Step two: Wrist rotation

The second thing you can do is rotate your wrist towards the pinky finger, so the base joint of it comes closer to the string by only changing the wrist’s angle.

Pinkie is too far

As we can see, the pinkie finger is too far from the violin’s neck and will not be able to reach the string with this wrist angle. Therefore, we have to move the base knuckle of the pinkie finger closer to the fingerboard

left hand wrist position

Pinkie,wrist: correct position

As you can see, I moved the pinkie finger closer to the fingerboard so I can reach any note on any string. The wrist rotation is a very important element in correcting the pinkie finger position.

pinkie is close to the fingerboard

Step three: is your pinkie too low?

Pinkie is too low

Here you can see that the base knuckle of the 5th finger is too low and even if I move it closer to the fingerboard, I wouldn’t be able to play comfortably

pinkie knuckle is too low

Pinkie: Correct height

I raised the base knuckle of the pinkie finger so it is positioned at the same level or higher, above the fingerboard.

 

Pinkie finger correct position

Tapping exercise

Practice tapping (pinkie finger exercise).
For most people, the pinkie finger is the weakest. So when we are talking about technical playing, etudes, or music with passages and scales involving pinkie finger, or even vibrato with pinkie, we have to consider practicing some strengthening exercises.
The basic idea of this exercise is to make slow repetitive movements with the pinkie finger, which will train its muscles and consistently enhance its power and stamina.
Make sure that your fingers are nicely curved and the base knuckle of the pinkie finger is at the same level as the fingerboard. Rotate your wrist to the right to get closer to the neck, and the base knuckles align with the strings. Right now, when you place the pinkie finger on the string, you see that it stays curved and doesn’t flatten out too much. Try to keep other fingers on the string and start tapping with 4th finger in slow tempo. Place it gently and lift it with energy. Consider doing this at least 4 cycles and take a rest. Then you can increase the number of cycles gradually. Stop when you start noticing fatigue. Let your muscles relax and rest. Start again.
After doing this exercise for at least a few days, you can gradually increase the speed and tap faster. Again, don’t forget to take a rest. You will soon notice improved strength of the 4th finger, which will help you feel more confident and play comfortably.
The last step would be playing with the bow and repeating the same exercise. This time you don’t necessarily have to keep all your fingers down on the string. You can vary them and tap lifted ring finger, with lifted middle and ring finger, or with all fingers lifted as well.
There is a very good book with exercises for the left hand called “The School of Violin Technics” by Shradieck. I recommend it to all of my students who need to improve their left-hand technique.

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