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Bow hold
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April 18, 2014 - 3:10 pm
Member Since: February 14, 2014
Forum Posts: 124
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Where do you hold the bow? Fiddlerman says down at the frog, but this girl holds it a bit higher. Thus: is it hugely important?


April 18, 2014 - 3:48 pm
Member Since: January 14, 2013
Forum Posts: 888
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I like it at the frog but I do have a tendency to slide up a bit. I see players holding it all over the place. I'm thinking over time a particular place will be established but right now my hand is still looking for it.

>> I love that tune.

Honorary tenured advisor

April 18, 2014 - 3:56 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
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I've noticed that classical-style players hold it at the frog, but many celtic/old-time, etc. players hold the bow near it's balance point. The celtic/old-tme/country fiddle players do a lot of fast string crossings and a lot of double stops and I think holding the bow at the balance point helps facilitate that.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Pullman,WA, USA

April 18, 2014 - 6:40 pm
Member Since: May 12, 2013
Forum Posts: 197
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@Panda-P; thanks for posting that video; I really enjoyed it. I've only held the bow at the frog and after a year I'm probably programmed to do it that way. So, I liked the video but don't have anything to answer on your question. gary

"Make every note beautiful", Ivan Galamian

“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!” , Ludvig Van Beethovan

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April 18, 2014 - 8:34 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1756
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I hold it close to the frog, though maybe up just a bit from where classical players hold it. Take a look at where Mairead Nesbitt of Celtic Woman holds the bow...it's even higher than in the video above:

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.


April 18, 2014 - 10:10 pm
Member Since: June 30, 2011
Forum Posts: 2680
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I sometimes hold it quite choked up for some Irish and old time tunes. Ive found the close to the frog works great when doing long slow strokes, but in the end its what works best for you and you'll only know that by experimenting

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

Michigan, USA

April 18, 2014 - 11:25 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2647
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I myself start out playing with the normal bow hold, but I hold the bow so loosely that my hand invariably slide's up the stick to a 'baroque' hold and I frequently drop the bow on the floor because of the loose grip. I guess the weight of the stick allow's the bow to slide through my finger's because of gravity. I can't hold a real tight grip, I don't have as much control and it makes my wrist more rigid.

Brora, North-east Scotland
April 19, 2014 - 2:02 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 3569
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The bow-hold is something I struggle with. I've read various books and internet resources regarding this and one of the things that gets to me is the placement / use of the little finger. Several years ago, I broke the first joint near the tip of my pinkie and although there's still some movement, it is difficult and, eventually painful, to place it on the bow itself especially when curved.
On the 29" bow I have, its balance point is 11 inches in from the frog end - and I find by moving my grip forward ( not by much ) the control I have over it is greatly increased - and also - the occasional bow-bounce is much reduced - but I have been "brainwashed" to believe that doing so is wrong - and I find myself trying to correct it!
Having looked at this video, and others, it seems that once you have developed a technique that you are comfortable with (or, indeed techniques - I could see why a pro-player may well utilize different bow holds for different musical passages / styles / demands of the score ) - go with it so long as there is nothing "fundamentally wrong" with the hold.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the very fine, and subtle muscle control required - consider our ability to write with pen and ink - a skill apparently disappearing rapidly in the days of current technology - observe the upper side of someones hand between thumb and forefinger, wrist and fore-arm while they are writing - notice the incredibly fine control being exercised by the muscles (which you won't see - but you'll see the result of these very subtle muscle articulations in the movement of the tendons just under the skin).

I have pretty much cured my "death-grip" on the violin neck - the hold is nice and relaxed - so I'm going to get my death-grip on the bow (well - it's not THAT bad - but as you can tell - I'm having problems and it needs fixing) sorted with a bit of experimentation !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)


April 19, 2014 - 8:32 am
Member Since: February 14, 2014
Forum Posts: 124
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Thanks for the replies, everyone~
I was just curious because I've got fairly short arms and can't make it all the way to the tip.


April 19, 2014 - 9:10 am
Member Since: December 25, 2013
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@Panda-P That is exactly what I was thinking about when I had a reply typed in and then discarded it!! If you watch the 2nd video at about 20 secs her arm seems to be pretty much extended but she still has inches of bow left.

I can understand someone wanting to play a full sized violin. Would it hurt to have a shorter bow?

Now me - I have monkey arms. Not only can I touch my palms to the ground when standing stiff legged, I can when I extend my arm reach the very tip of my bow with little difficulty.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

Fort Lauderdale
April 19, 2014 - 2:32 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Great replies above.
Classical players learn to hold the bow at the frog. Violinists, fiddlers, from all genres are taught by other fiddlers and quite often classically trained violinists.
The greatest advantage of holding the bow at the frog is for playing at the frog. If you choke up on the stick and try to play at the frog the tip goes down and you'll need to use more pinky pressure.
You're balance point changes as well and moves higher on the bow.
The only thing you miss by having shorter arms is the longer length of the bow. Choking up on the bow will probably allow you to come to the tip but you'll probably never use the absolute lowest hair by the frog.

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

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