The Complex Neck of the Fiddle and How to Learn It

The Fiddle is different from the other instruments on this site for several reasons. The first, and the one that is important for this article, is the neck of the fiddle. Unlike most stringed instruments, there are no frets or markings on the neck of a violin that allow players to quickly know where they are!

The next of course is the fact that instead of being picked, a Fiddle is played by being ‘bowed’.

The fact that the fiddle doesn’t have any frets makes learning the notes and hand placement for the neck of your fiddle very difficult. In this article, we will be mostly concerned with the 1st position, or high on the neck near the pegs. 

Notes on the Neck of the Fiddle 

The challenge with the neck of the Fiddle, Violin, or Viola is the fact all three are fretless. Playing the guitar I know that by holding down the 3rd fret on either of the E strings will produce a G note. The fiddle is much more nuanced in your finger placement.

The fiddle really requires time and dedication to develop the habits to place your fingers in the correct places, even more so than the guitar, banjo or ukulele.

1st Position Fiddle Notes

You can find the complete fingerboard (with notes and playable sounds) at ViolinOnline. For a beginner we recommend that you start with the 1st position. Once you have these notes mastered you can work your way down the neck learning more and more notes and finger positions!

Learning the Neck of the Fiddle

Once you know the notes of the neck, and their approximate locations, there some things that will help lessen the learning curve. By applying each of these you’ll learn faster and be able to progress. 

Tips for Learning the Neck of the Fiddle

  • Start with 1st Position before moving lower on the neck
  • Have mp3 sound files (or something similar) of each note so you can check as you play
  • Use thin strips on colored tape as temporary fret markers. Make sure these are placed in the perfect location to help develop your ear for the perfect sounding note
  • Review and practice with your notes every time you pick up your Fiddle. 

Just like any other instrument we cover here on StringVibe, the learning the fiddle can be difficult. To find out more about the notes, and especially the fingering, check out this great resource over at FretlessFingerGuides

The Final Note

While this is just a quick guide to learning the neck of the violin and fiddle, it does give you a great starting point to this extremely complex topic! For more fiddle resources, check out the section on our site dedicated to the fiddle!