Now, before we begin, read first my post on Putting Tapes on Violin: Is it for you? This is for you to know some of the pros and cons of having violin tapes. No one should dictate you on what you want to do with your violin. If you think that putting tapes on the fingerboard will be good for building muscle and tone memory, then go for it. But if you prefer to learn the traditional way and go without finger tapes, that will do as well. For now, we’ll be discussing the tapes, where and how to put them.
- Tapes. You can buy violin tapes in Amazon. However, Beth of ViolinLab.com also recommends using pinstripe car stickers bought in your local car specialty store. Both violin and car tapes are easier to remove without leaving behind that sticky residue. Pre-cut the tapes in a length that is twice as long as the fingerboard so you can overlap the tapes underneath the violin.
- An Auto Chromatic tuner. You cannot use the GDAE-only as you will be checking notes other than those found in the violin tuner. What’s good about an auto chromatic tuner is that you can self-tape your violin with a better degree of note accuracy faster and easier. If you don’t have any other musical instrument or tuner at home, one way to check your violin tapes is to visit this tumbra drone website (shared by a violinlab.com member). This site has an extensive collection of different notes played on the tumbra uploaded in mp3 format. Try to harmonize as much as you can with the notes as you mark the violin.
- A pencil and a ruler to mark where you will be putting the tapes
First step: tune first your violin. Make it a habit to tune your violin before doing anything to it, even if you’re just practicing your bowing. An out-of-tune violin can make your violin fingerboard tape totally useless as you’ll be producing different notes.
|violin tape locations|
Mark the violin according to the measurements shown in the photo. My warning here is, these measurements are just approximations on where the notes are generally found on the violin. The violin tape positions may be a bit above or below the specified measurements. Place the zero mark of your ruler right at the nut. Make pencil markings on the edge of the fingerboard near the G string, and again other edge near the E string. This will help you put your tapes in a straight position. If your violin tapes are not straight, your notes will not be accurate.
Once you have created your markings, take your prepared violin tapes and insert them under the strings just above the bridge right where you use your bow. Make sure that the sticky side is not touching any part of the violin as you glide the violin tape beneath the strings right at the first marking. Once you reach your first marking, lightly lay the tapes on the violin fingerboard and check if the tape is straight along the nut. Don’t wrap the tape on the violin fingerboard yet as you’ll be doing some fine tuning later. Proceed in doing so with the next 3 tapes, always taking care to check the alignment as you go.
|D string notes|
|G string notes|
|E string notes|
|A string notes|
Congratulations, you've just put violin tapes on your violin. You can now start practicing your scales and get right on your first musical piece. ViolinLab has great videos on how to do your scales on the violin with your newly placed violin fingerboard tapes.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? Please share your thoughts and let's exchange ideas on how to improve your tone with or without the tapes. ;)