Fildde” is an Irish term for violin, used typically in folk circles.
If your fiddle isn’t properly cared for and handled, you may find that it becomes more difficult to play. Humidity, careless handling and improper maintenance techniques can cause the strings, tuning pegs and fingerboard to feel “sticky.” In this context, “sticky” refers to a noticeable lack of smoothness. Since the fiddle must feel smooth under your fingers, it’s important to fix the problem as soon as you identify it. There are multiple possible causes.
If exposed to extreme temperatures, your fiddle‘s fingerboard may expand and contract. This occurs when you leave your fiddle next to a heater or in a car trunk over night in winter. It can also happen if you’re traveling with your violin. Flying from Michigan in winter to Australia, where it will be summer, will cause a dramatic movement in the wood. When a fingerboard is warped, it pulls back on the body and adversely influences the angle of the strings. The clearance between strings and fingerboard typically becomes smaller, which can make it feel like the strings are stuck to the fingerboard. Heat-bending and straightening is the only solution for a warped fingerboard, so always take care to protect your fiddle from temperature extremes.
Over-Tightened Tuning Pegs
If the geared tuning pegs are screwed in too tight or not lubricated, they too can become sticky. When they become sticky, you have to apply a higher-than-usual amount of force to adjust the tuning of the string. This is undesirable because you will likely “un-stick” the tuning peg and subsequently snap the string in the process. Rust, corrosion and over-tightening are the most common cause of sticky tuning pegs.
The bridge elevates the strings above the body of the violin. If it is knocked in transit or becomes loose by itself, this will alter its angle. Once the angle is altered, the line of the strings changes. Since you’ve likely set up your fiddle to suit your playing style, this will feel like a huge change when you start playing. You may not notice the difference visually, but the unusual, sticky feel of the strings sitting on a loose or poorly aligned bridge is immediately discernible.
Rosin is the substance that helps the bow hairs create traction against the strings. It has a naturally tacky feel, but without it the bow would glide over the strings and create very little sound. If you accidentally brush a recently treated bow over the upper portion of the strings, the rosin may get on the part of the strings where your fingers go. This will create an unpleasant and sticky feeling under your fingers.