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Choking up on the bow
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Ripton
Vermont, Massachusetts or somewhere in between
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March 14, 2015 - 8:08 pm
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Not sure if that is what it's called, but it's what we called it in baseball when gripping the bat up high. Holding the bow well above the frog leaving almost 2 inches of hair behind the hand. 

 

Is there an advantage to doing this? 

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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March 14, 2015 - 11:31 pm
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A lot of fiddler's do this for speed.  Country, blue grass, Irish music are a couple types of music some fiddlers do it for.

I find myself "choking" up on the stick at times by mistake. I hold my bow so loose that my hand will inadvertently slide up the stick, then I find myself trying to finger walk the bow back to normal position while still playing.

It's tricky, lol.

 

Ken.

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Worldfiddler
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March 15, 2015 - 8:02 am
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Not sure if that is what it's called, but it's what we called it in baseball when gripping the bat up high. Holding the bow well above the frog leaving almost 2 inches of hair behind the hand.  

Is there an advantage to doing this? 

 

Actually, none at all. If the bow is held properly and used at the correct point, you can bow anything at all. 'Choking' is simply compensating for an incorrect bow hold.

There are disadvantages to 'choking' - contaminating the bow hair with your fingers, and shortening the effective length of the usable bow.

Mr Jim dancing

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Fiddlerman
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March 16, 2015 - 8:07 am
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I can't see how speed would be greater when holding the bow higher on the stick. I've really never had trouble with speed. Speed comes from using more finger, wrist action.
One disadvantage is that the bow teeter tooters and the weight shifts when you pass your hand to get to the frog. Playing at the frog if you "choke up on the stick" requires pinky pressure.
I think that if you play on the upper half of the bow there isn't much difference however, you may at times lack bow length on long drawn out notes when not able to use the whole bow from the frog.
I'm not familiar with the advantages of doing so but I have seen some great players outside of the classical genre doing so. My guess is that it works better for them.

"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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March 24, 2015 - 6:15 am
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I can't see much advantage to choking up on the bow. UI understand some players do it but I suspect anything that can be played  by holding the bow further up the stick can also be played by holding it the normal way.

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coolpinkone
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March 25, 2015 - 2:39 pm
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I have seen some lovely players do this.  One of those Celtic women.  She holds quite a bit above the frog, and she plays beautifully.

I struggle to try to conform figuring the majority rules.   :)  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Worldfiddler
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March 25, 2015 - 5:31 pm
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'Choking' is one of those things that's often discouraged. Especially for myself, when I get hungry, then eat a tin of tuna, forgetting to open the tin and just eat try to eat the whole lot together :)

'Choking' on the bow I would discourage too, for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

The argument for / against is quite common, and I come across this kind of thing quite a lot. There's a lot of music you can easily play with a short or choked bow, without it having much effect on the music (although the tone would be different). So, you see a lot of fiddlers with this hold and they play their fast and furious music very well.

The 'choke' is a limiting factor. Let's put it this way. You could tape your left-hand little finger so it becomes unusable, and still play a lot of tunes with just 3 fingers. Fine, but if you come across a tune that really needs the 4th finger, you're impacted, and you need to make adjustments.

Same with the short bow. Some tunes (slow airs, etc) are going to require the full bow length, so whilst it would still be possible to play these notes with a short bow, it's simply making things more difficult.

Just because its possible to do something a particular way doesn't mean it's OK.

Just because a particular / well-known player does it, doesn't necessarily make it good practice.

Guitarist Django Reinhardt played amazing music with only two usable fingers for melody notes on his left hand. Would you tape up two of your fingers to attempt to emulate his sound?

Mr Jim dancing

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coolpinkone
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March 26, 2015 - 11:47 am
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"Just because its possible to do something a particular way doesn't mean it's OK."

Good point!  Thank you.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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