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Bowing Problem
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
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MusicMaker
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January 14, 2012 - 5:43 pm
Member Since: January 12, 2012
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I am having a huge problem with the bow sliding sideways up the strings. I am trying to be very conscious of holding my shoulder still and moving the bow with only my elbow, but it's still a challenge. I've recorded myself playing and even when I'm bowing correctly (well, at least I think it's correct), the bow still wants to slide up the strings.

 

I've adjusted the tension on my bow as I was also having a problem with the bow bouncing. I loosened the bow hairs and that corrected the bouncing, although it still happens occasionally, but to a much lesser degree.

 

Am I not putting enough pressure on the bow? Or is this just a matter of practice makes perfect? Too much rosin or not enough? It seems I was playing much better a week ago! dunno

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 14, 2012 - 7:49 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Sounds like your bow is kind of gliding on the strings instead of grabbing and pulling them. Possibly too little rosin and too little pressure. I would experiment with angles. You can guide your bow to go up or down towards or way from the bridge. Don't worry about having too much rosin, it only makes a mess.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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January 14, 2012 - 8:24 pm
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Look in a mirror and see if you are holding the violin semi flat or is it pointing up or down?

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MusicMaker
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January 15, 2012 - 7:48 am
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FM - Thanks, I will rosin the bow some more and see if that helps. I know when I was playing my husband's violin, I was doing fine (and I was always having to wipe down the violin after because of the rosin). I was doing okay on my violin for a week, then got paranoid about too much rosin after reading that you can apply too much. But I'd rather have a mess to clean up and sound good!

 

Kevin - The violin itself is definitely at an angle, pointing down. This is where it's most comfortable and my chin fits naturally in the chin rest. I do have to watch myself as I have a tendency to let my left hand drift down and pull the violin down with it.

 

Bowing correctly is definitely a challenge for me - but I'm still having fun! Although I'm sure my dogs and neighbors are tired of hearing Liza Jane over and over and over! laugh

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 15, 2012 - 10:11 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Scroll pointing down makes it more difficult to keep the bow in one area between the bridge and fingerboard. There are degrees of reasonable angles anyway. You may need a new chinrest that gives you a better angle with comfort. Check out Fiddlershop.com's new line of well selected chinrests. I have an idea that I will post to allow fiddlerman members to test 5 different chinrests and keep one of them that I will post soon.

It is also OK to hold the violin up with your right hand as long as you are relaxed doing it.
Remember that gravity pulls your bow towards the fingerboard. More pressure when you bow will allow the bow to ride the string much like a train is guided on its tracks. Slight angles of the bow will direct the bow closer or further from the bridge. One of my videos demonstrates this. Unfortunately the gain on the mic on my old recorder was not adjustable and my sound was too high for that gain so I exceeded the 0db limit and got a little distortion in the sound:

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MusicMaker
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January 15, 2012 - 11:10 am
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Thanks! That video was just what I needed to watch - very helpful! I bought new strings when I purchased my violin, but haven't switched them out yet. I think I need to do that. The violin is a used student violin (a Strunal 240) and I'm sure new strings will be an improvement. Also, I think I'm getting caught up in trying to keep everything perfect - how I hold the violin, bowing property and bow pressure - that I'm tensing up. Need to relax, relax, relax. laugh Thanks again for your help. This is an awesome site!!!

 

As soon as get the strings changed I will upload a video for critique - I'm sure you or the other awesome people here can quickly point out my problem(s).

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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January 15, 2012 - 1:31 pm
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I tense up so much some times that you would swear I was choking a turkey by the neck.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 15, 2012 - 8:04 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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"choking a turkey by the neck" ROFL Kevin

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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thrashercharged
Kokomo, IN
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January 16, 2012 - 7:39 am
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You mention in the video that with a good violin, you can play very close to the bridge.  How close is close?  How far away from the bridge should you be able to play?


Granted, my violins are cheap Chinese & Japanese (I think) made ones, and I've noticed that I cannot play much closer than maybe 1/4 inch away from the bridge (maybe just a tad closer) or the sound either gets really scratchy or doesn't produce at all.  I thought perhaps because I don't every play that close to the bridge, the strings hadn't seen enough rosin in that area and that was the problem.  So questions:


1.  Do the strings need a rosin coating?  I know we clean excess rosin off the strings, but I can still feel a stickiness on the areas where they've been coated vs areas the  bow never touches are really slick.  I think the answer is no as I don't recall new strings needing "broken in" or anything, I recall they pretty much played from the get go.

2.  If cheap violins don't play well close to the bridge and good ones do, why is that (from a physics/engineering point of view)?  I mean, you're basically stretching a string between the nut and the bridge - given the physical dimensions are the same, what's the difference?  I can see differences in string quality making a difference, and perhaps the height or shape of the bridge, but the rest of the violin is essentially a rigid framework to anchor the strings (disregarding the acoustical properties of everything that'll affect the quality, or lack of, of the sound), so given the same dimensions the strings should at least vibrate at the same points?


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Oliver
NC
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January 16, 2012 - 9:33 am
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Did you see FM Advanced Video  "Sul Ponticello" ?  Some good info.

coffee2

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 16, 2012 - 2:20 pm
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thrashercharged - In order to play right up against the bridge you need real good technique.

1) You need to press hard enough.
2) Draw the bow slowly.
3) Have plenty of rosin on the bow, as always.

You will see that you can play closer than 1/4 inch. Everyone gets a weird sound playing close to the bridge if they don't do it exactly right. Don't worry about your instrument. Not to say that you can't use some adjustments to make it better or eventually a better instrument. Just I couldn't tell you without looking at it.

To answer your first question about rosin on the strings. No, never apply rosin to the strings but your strings will be coated with rosin automatically. I always wipe them off after a practice or playing session.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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thrashercharged
Kokomo, IN
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January 19, 2012 - 12:52 am
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Oh I know you don't apply rosin to the strings.  What I meant was that rosin tends to transfer from the bow hairs to the strings in the areas they're played.  And even when you wipe the excess rosin off, that part of the string still feels sticky whereas the part of the string that never sees rosin is really slick.  At least on my violin this is what happens.

I paid closer attention and yeah, I can play closer than 1/4 inch from the bridge but it still doesn't sound good!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 19, 2012 - 5:57 pm
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Try moving the bow a little faster and playing away from the bridge. Also make sure you use enough bow. I could give more tips if you post a video smile

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Crazymotive
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January 21, 2012 - 1:59 pm
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I suffer from the same problems the OP described here. I My bow has a tendency to start sliding further and further up to the point where I am practically playing right above the fingerboard. I have manged to correct this to a large degree with focus on just moving my elbow and holding the neck of the violin further upright so it's not tilted down at an angle. I also had trouble with the bow bouncing which I have corrected with increased bow pressure. There seems to be a fine line between too much pressure and too little and hitting that consistently takes practice. The other problem I have is I tend to grip the neck of the violin too hard when I am fingering and my hand start to hurt. I am trying to focus on keeping my hand more relaxed. Lot of things to focus on on top of everything else but I guess we all have to go through the growing pains as we strive to improve.

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Oliver
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January 21, 2012 - 2:52 pm
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The "rudder" for your bow direction is your wrist. The final 1/4 of FIDDLERMAN VIDEO #2 shows lots of wrist action besides the flexible finger demonstration.  

I usually mess up when I am drawing a big down bow and I fail to correct with my wrist.

    coffee2

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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