The violin strings rise away from the finger board as it reaches bridge, right? What should be the optimum clearance of the strings at the bridge end from the fingerboard?

I am asking this questions since I feel there is a lot of clearance between the strings and the board especially closer to the bridge, which is making is so hard to press the strings down. Now, I am a beginner so everything maybe quite hard.

Also, how do I store the volin? Vertically, horizontally or can I lean the case against the wall at an angle?

2 Answers 2


I am no luthier, so I'm not going to claim that whan I say is absolute truth. But I found this site after searching for a bit, and it seems quite correct to me.

And yes, it is normal that the distance between the finger board and the strings grow larger the closer to the brigde you get, and it will thusly be harder on the fingers to play closer to the bridge on the finger board. However, if you're a beginner chances are you don't need to go that high, but can stay in the first position, where you can play notes from a low G to a high B.

As for storing the violin, I would advise you to keep it in its case, as it will be more protected from changes in temperature and humidity there. Sure, the instrument itself won't be harmed by the small changes that occur indoors, but the tuning will be less affected. And I think you can store it in whatever configuration you want. I lean my case towards a wall in a closet when I am not using my instruments.

As I said, I am no luthier, but I hope this helps regardless!

  • Thanks you very much Psyberion. The link you've provided is very very useful. I've tried hunting for some information, but I think didn't dig deep enough. I am a beginner and just started using the 4th finger and not reaching it quite. I'll check my instrument and post back my findings.
    – Jaya
    Aug 12, 2015 at 11:27
  • 1
    No problem, happy to help! I want to add that your fingers will get used to the tension of the string. When I started playing the mandolin it hurt a lot, despite me playing the violin for 15 years when I started with the mandolin. But after a while, the skin on the fingertips grew thicker and it didn't hurt as much. It's the same with the violin, but your skin won't grow that thick. Good luck! Aug 13, 2015 at 12:13

For a complete beginner, it is normal for the strings to be uncomfortable to press down, especially the E string. Try minimizing your playing time at first, and build it up slowly. Take frequent breaks when your fingertips start hurting. If your strings are too high, it will hurt more, and for longer.

Standard height for strings at the end of the fingerboard (the part closest to the bridge), is 3.5 for the E string, and 5.5 for the G string. If your strings are a millimeter off from this, the issue is probably easy to ignore. Your fingers will get used to it, and if you aren't playing too far up the neck, you'll barely notice a difference even if you fix it.

Sometimes the problem is worse: my first instrument that had strings at twice that. It was extremely uncomfortable even in first position. It was also an inexpensive instrument, so my solution was to simply sell it. A more expensive solution would have been to replace the bridge with a exceptionally low one, which would have to be specially carved for that instrument. I was quoted about $200 for this, although if you only need a small amount shaved off the current bridge, it would be much cheaper. The other potential solution would be to do a neck reset, which can raise the angle of the neck so that the fingerboard is closer to the strings. This would have cost over $1,000 US.

If you can, I'd suggest taking it to a violin shop, and getting an estimate from their luthier on the cost of getting your instrument professionally set up. It can make it big difference in the instrument's playability for not too much money.

  • Thanks for the reply Karen. I am wondering if my instrument might have that problem. Or is it just my beginner troubles :) I will check my instrument and see if the problem is with the strings or the violin or me. I'll accept Psyberion's reply since that was posted a little earlier. But your insights are so helpful, for which I am thankful.
    – Jaya
    Aug 12, 2015 at 11:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.