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Bow grip
Getting to grips with one's bow: where does the pinkie go?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (17 votes) 
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ELCBK
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May 7, 2022 - 6:30 am
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@Gordon Shumway -

There's other ways to prevent your hand from creeping up the stick or thumb slipping through the bow. 

I believe it depends on your anatomy to figure out what works - in my case, I only needed to extend the thumb leather closer to the frog & thicken it by a couple wraps of cloth tape. 

Now, when my bow hair tightened to the right tension, just the very edge of my thumb touches the stick between the frog and the thumb pad - my problem was completely solved. 

...I don't have to worry about the edge of my thumb nail scratching any wood, with a CF bow - so my thumb is secure and NO tension in my fingers or hand.  

I think most people benefit from a thicker thumb wrap. 

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ELCBK
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If you can't hold your bow comfortably, you'll end up with tension & terrible sound! 

Always a pertinent topic - wanted to add this GREAT video by Lora (Red Desert Violin) & remind people there are easy things you can add to your bows to make them MORE COMFORTABLE! 

MANY professional Violinists, Violist & Cellists are adding comfort factors to their bows!  

 

From Quantumbasscenter.com: 

Adding a soft piece of high-friction material, such as rubber, to the contact area allows for holding the bow with less pressure, resulting in a more relaxed hand that’s more available for fine motor control. The slightly larger diameter of the grip is not only easier to hold securely in position, but the higher-friction material also helps to prevent the thumb and fingers from slipping. 

https://www.quantumbasscenter......p-material

 

Fiddlershop carries the "D'Addario Bowmaster Bow Grip", in a few sizes - it slips over the stick. 

"Stringvision Bowgrip", is a high-tech grippy frog & thumb pad cover with a perfect indentation for your thumb!  Cellists were raving about this at the Fiddle Hell Festival, but there are also Violin & Viola versions. 

"Viotech Suregrips" are a pair of slip-on, foam, thumb pad covers - online everywhere, made in the UK.

Top Violinists often use a flexible piece of rubber or medical grade tubing (beware of latex allergy) - some, like Lora in the video, use stretchy pen/pencil grip tubes of rubber, foam or squishy Gel! 

Nan Kemberling has EXCELLENT DIY instructions for using pencil grips and talks about bow grip comfort! 

Dress Up Your Frog!

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d8/92/99/d89299f70ac6ae529df660c17e80a9f0.jpg

 

← If you have any arthritis, consider the "EGO APPLE" pencil grip! 

You can customize it by cutting a little slit so it will set a little over the frog if you need it.

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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June 30, 2022 - 5:49 am
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Or a simple habit to get into may be to adjust your grip every time there's a rest in the music.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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June 30, 2022 - 6:52 am
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@Gordon Shumway -

Why would you want to deal with that when there's so many more important things to focus on while playing?

...simple fixes can make life so much more pleasant!  

They don't prevent you from adjusting your grip when needed and I've seen these recommendations used by professionals - they work.  

 

🤔 ...most of the music I play doesn't have any rests.

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Gordon Shumway
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Gordon Shumway said
Your hand will only stop slipping up the bow if you stay aware of it and correct it whenever you detect it. 

I still haven't mastered slippage-prevention, but I have noticed a few things.

Detecting it is best done with the thumb, in case it wasn't obvious.

Arguably the thumb is your most important digit on the right hand. Sure, index-finger pressure is crucial, but that is very easily learnt. My index finger, however, can't detect when it has slipped over the leather and then over the silver winding, but my thumb is very sensitive to its position between the leather and the wood of the frog. Ultimately, I suspect the thumb will play a much greater role in my bow grip.

My teacher taught me a useful exercise - hold the bow in the middle vertically, frog downwards, in your right hand between all 5 finger tips. Then "climb down" the bow, i.e. make the bow rise until you have a correct bow hold. Don't touch it with the left hand.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Gordon Shumway -

IMHO it's not worth spending more time on it - especially if you've been dealing with this issue for a few years. 

Everyone's hand and finger shapes are different and there are also changes as we age.  I had trouble with my hand migrating up the stick - my constant attempts to correct & keep a grip was causing tension in my hand & fingers.

 

Found I don't need the whole thumb pad thick - this simple mod allows me to freely move my fingers, with NO TENSION & NO SLIPPING. 

I filed a little bevel on the edge of the frog where my thumb rests (Codabows don't need this) and then added a small wrapping of black duck tape

 

This is in NO WAY cheating.  I've looked closely & have seen plenty of professional violinists that use a thicker thumb pad. 

Suggest figuring out what your hand & fingers need, take a minute to try something simple that could help - this made a HUGE, VERY ENJOYABLE, difference for me!

 

Bow_Mod.jpgImage EnlargerBow_Hold.jpgImage Enlarger

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ELCBK
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November 11, 2022 - 10:49 pm
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Anyone attempting to correct their bow grip, keep it from slipping, or just new to using a bow? 

Here's a very simple aid that can help you start off right!

Bow "Seat Belt"!  (The Orchestra Teacher) 

Just having something novel for your fingers to touch, like this - can draw attention to it, remind your brain to focus on your grip.

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8d/32/27/8d32272b902258f3b0ab336eac526d5d.jpg

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JimandThomas
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November 13, 2022 - 7:31 am
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That video is a GREAT tip. Although Thomas is bowing great and he is used to his new bow hold, his ring finger is constantly lifting from the bow. Thank you @ELCBK 

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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ELCBK
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@JimandThomas -

If you try it - let us know if it helps. 😊

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JimandThomas
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@ELCBK We are trying it after school today. I certainly will let you know. I think it is a great tip

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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SharonC
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@ELCBK This is really interesting.  I find that using the rubberband makes me more aware of my other fingers (not just the ring finger), and what they are doing on the bow real time as I’m playing.  This tip is a great find!

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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Gordon Shumway
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I just tried the rubber band. Putting your ring finger under it is a horrible idea!

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Gordon Shumway -

I don't think you have to put your finger under the rubber band to benefit from just feeling the rubber band on the frog. 

...finger under might be more appropriate for children with smaller fingers.

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JimandThomas
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@ELCBK We are LOVING the rubber band trick, although he doesn't want to do it in front of anyone, it made a HUGE difference. I will take a video today and post tonight to sho you

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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Gordon Shumway
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Gordon Shumway said
Although I do not recommend Simon Fischer to beginners (1000+ pages), I have not got rid of his books yet. I was sorting out the bookmarks in them and I came across The Violin Lesson, p. 43, where he pretends that he is offering advice on how to prevent your hand from slipping up the bow. His advice really doesn't work. Your hand will only stop slipping up the bow if you stay aware of it and correct it whenever you detect it.

But it is interesting that he writes of the first finger that you should NEVER use the Russian hold (which he, like Bushkova, calls "the old Auer hold"). This is likely to be good advice, but you must also remain aware that it is possible that Fischer is just too pedantic at times.

  

Recently I have come to suspect that my problem is having my right index finger too far along the silver winding - this forces the thumb to come up to meet it. Some are able to stretch the index finger out like this, but perhaps they simply have longer fingers than me. So I am currently finding it easier to have the index finger half on the silver winding and half on the leather.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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February 15, 2023 - 10:43 am
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Wow! 

Weird how I ran across this, but just found a video about a wonderful tip for helping to free up the Bow Grip & hand! 

FABULOUS for Violinist AND Violists... maybe even Cellists(?)!!! 

 

Andrea Houde on Finding a Great Bow Hand!

 

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-31dJZqvo1fg/Tjql1_FdI5I/AAAAAAAAA6g/JTry4iT2NiA/s1600/Capital-Letter-E1-Free-Scra.png

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ELCBK
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February 16, 2023 - 2:30 pm
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I finally got around to actually doing this tapping exercise! 

Couldn't understand why I couldn't get my pinky in the right spot - was kinda all over the place, even though I was doing better than when I had it slipping over the top. 

Darn fingernail! 

Didn't even have much & didn't think it would matter, but now my pinky goes in the right spot - after I clipped that nail completely down. 🙄 

I try not to take the pinky for granted - it's an important part of a versatile bow grip. 

 

...hate not having any fingernails - oh well, hate not having a lot of things, like a younger body. 🤭

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ELCBK
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537fe670fdc0e399f4bf7eb71fa57ca2.jpg

...months have passed since I corrected my bow hold.  I still check once 'n a while, just to make sure my 2 middle fingers are low enough on the frog & my pinky is on the top of the stick, when I want more bow control (plus reminds me to keep my pinky nail trimmed). 

It's only a couple of simple checks, but has given me much more confidence in using my bow.  This doesn't mean my fingers are always glued/don't move, just helps me stay aware of my bowing hand.

I truly believe The Bow should be used as an Extension of The Right Hand - Maxim Vengerov talks about the importance of the pinky and flexibility. 

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Gordon Shumway
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Gordon Shumway said
Although I do not recommend Simon Fischer to beginners (1000+ pages), I have not got rid of his books yet. I was sorting out the bookmarks in them and I came across The Violin Lesson, p. 43, where he pretends that he is offering advice on how to prevent your hand from slipping up the bow. His advice really doesn't work. Your hand will only stop slipping up the bow if you stay aware of it and correct it whenever you detect it.

But it is interesting that he writes of the first finger that you should NEVER use the Russian hold (which he, like Bushkova, calls "the old Auer hold"). This is likely to be good advice, but you must also remain aware that it is possible that Fischer is just too pedantic at times.

  

My new teacher more or less solved my bowhold problem at lesson 1. Partly it was due to my holding the violin too low on my left shoulder, so that the bow was vertical when playing the E string, and partly it was due to my not using my right pinky at all. We revised the bow hold with the right pinky always applied and did some exercises holding the bow vertically and rotating it to the horizontal and back, then holding it horizontal and moving in circles like bowing a huge violin and the problem more or less went away immediately. She has never heard of Fischerbanana but she's Italian not English.

In addition, for frog practice, we do whole-bow-per-note scales and Schradieck page #1. whole bow per note, then whole bow per 2 notes, then whole bow per 4 notes, and so on.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway
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I've been working on an exercise at the heel - up down up down using the knuckles only*. There's some stuff on this in Fischer Basics (first chapter, but confused by the section on taking the index out of the balance equation) and TVL (The Violin Lesson, p42 etc). In addition to lightening the heel with the pinky, it's important to note the subtle changes that occur to the right index finger in this position (see Vengerov above). When playing at the tip, the right index finger is forced into position to apply pressure into the string for tone production, whereas crucially at the heel the right index is NOT doing that - its position has changed and now naturally falls alongside the wire/leather. I suspect that this is easiest with the Franco-Belgian hold. The "Russian" hold may require you to take more into account the need for some such flexibility.

*I've never fully understood this exercise (when I was a beginner, my violist friend showed me it, but I didn't work on it, as it was too advanced, I guess), but it is starting to make a lot more sense if I exploit the index finger's changed position.

Andrew

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