Third Position On The Violin – Basic Exercises

The third position on the violin is for every violinist a big step forward. I will give you together with the video a full instruction on how to play your first notes in the third position on the violin.

First let me list you the benefits and requirements of the third position on the violin:


  • two new higher notes on the E string, the C and the D
  • on the G, D and A strings you gain also two higher notes, which sound the same as the first and second finger on the string above
  • more possibilities for fingerings to help the melodic line
  • more choices of tone color for the same notes
  • ways to improve fast passages or legato with smart fingerings


  • relative pitch hearing and at least a short term memory for pitches
  • proper left hand posture to not get stuck with the thumb or hit the body of the violin with the wrist
  • knowledge of the note system and accidentals
  • control over the finger spacings
  • vertical fingertip positions to enable smaller spacings

While the requirements seem to be high for learning the third position, learning to play the third position will also increase your abilities in many regards. Also there are several ways to work yourself around problems and in the end the good news is: it is not rocket science! 😉

First Step:

Chose a string and find the third finger in the first positionI recommend you to begin on the A- or D-String

The notes for the third finger in the first position on the different strings are: C on the G-String, G on the D-String, D on the A-String and A on the E-String.

Play the note and compare it to the open string below to check if you hit the note precisely (doesn’t work, if you play on the G-String). Play the note with a good sound and keep the pitch of the note in your ear as good as possible. In doubt use an electric tuner to make sure the note is in tune.

Second Step:

Replace the third finger that you just played with the first finger. Therefore shift your whole wrist up the fingerboard! Don’t forget to bring the thumb in the new position. Keep in mind, that you don’t want to touch the ribs of the violin in the third position just yet. Remind yourself to keep the wrist in line with the forearm.

Finding the third position

Third Step:

Play the first finger in the third position and listen to the pitch. Compare the pitch of the note with your sound memory if you can and compare it again to the lower string. In the beginning use a electric tuner to be sure that your pitch is correct. The notes are the same as the third finger in the first position, so: C on the G-String, G on the D-String, D on the A-String and A on the E-String.

Congratulations! You arrived in the third position! 🙂

Now play a scale in the third position with the other fingers. The easiest will be, if you play a scale on the D and A string in G-Major. Always compare the notes to neighboring strings if possible. I show you in the video how exactly to practice the scale.

G-major scale in the third position with open strings to check the pitch

Also read my article about How To Improve Intonation On The Violin

Have fun practicing!


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