HOW TO USE VIOLIN FINGERING TAPE
- To assist beginning violinists, some violin teachers use thin strips of colored tape (e.g. 1/8" graphic chart tape or pinstripe auto detailing tape) to mark where students should place their fingers on the violin fingerboard. Other varieties of tapes used include commercial musical instrument tape, circle sticker dots, or masking, painting, vinyl or electrical tape cut to the desired thickness.
- Fingering tape is often used to mark a regular 1st finger (such as the note B on the A string), high 2nd finger (e.g. C# on the A string), third finger (e.g. the note D on the A string), and 4th finger (e.g. the note E on the A string -- sounds the same as open E). See the image above to view how these thin pieces of tape are placed on the fingerboard, under the violin strings.
- Rather than use precise measurements to place fingering tape, it's best to place the tape by ear. That means, after placing each piece of tape on the fingerboard, press your finger down on the string where the tape is located and use your bow to play that note. Llisten carefully to determine whether or not the note sounds in tune and adjust the tape if needed. Variations in the width and shape of each person's finger affect where each tape should be placed so it's always best to listen and adjust the fingering tape to make sure they're properly placed.
- It's also important to remember that although fingering tape can provide beginners with an approximate location of where they should place their fingers, playing in tune requires the violinist to listen carefully to make sure they are playing the correct pitch. Fingering tape should be used as a temporary aid, not as a long term solution.
- Once beginners know where to place their fingers, the tape is removed. If a sticky residue is left, an instrument cleaner may be used to clean the fingerboard. If the residue is difficult to remove, isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean the fingerboard (do not let the alcohol touch the instrument varnish or it can cause significant damage).