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Bowing like a stiffy

Posted by brya31 on Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last night I videos myself to see if I can find some issues that make me get squeaky sound on occasion and did not like what I seen at all.  I looked like a total stiff.  I am pretty if you looked at my bow and my are, including my wrist, I was at a 90 degree angle the whole time.  I am pretty sure this is something that will impede my progress and needs to be corrected.  I did find the old thread by oldtimer on keeping the loosey goosey wrist and I went to Jims sight on fiddlehub, but last night I really struggled to get a good wrist motion.  If anyone has any good ideas pllllease share them with me.  Heck after seeing that video of myself, I almost felt ashamed.  I looked like I just picked up the fiddle two days ago!  I know...the camera adds 10 lbs.  but thats a different subject!  hehehe

9 comments on “Bowing like a stiffy”

Swing Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @4:17:42 AM

Play in front of a window or mirror, sit so you can see just you bow arm, as you become more aware of the problem the stiffy you become. So practice playing real loose, even to the point where it has a negative effect on a tune. Also long bow strokes, making sure that you round out the wrist action at the end of the stroke for the return....keep at it.

Play Happy

FiddleJammer Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @5:40:55 AM

If you were sitting, try standing. If you were standing, try sitting. Sometimes it's the trunk that is freezing up the arm.

That looseu goosey thread was a good one inddeedy. What helped me was thinking about my hand waving up and down instead of from side to side. I picked up some good speed from that.

Cool that you're taking the time to look at that kind of feedback! Don't be too hard on yourself. We're all still works-in-progress.

Thibodeaux Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @6:21:54 AM

BJ had a great suggestion a while back in which she said putting her elbow firmly against a doorjamb while playing scales forces the wrist to do all the work/movement, thereby loosening it up. I have been working 12 hour days for months now so my practice regimen is in the toilet right now, but once I get back at the fiddle (probably in the next couple of weeks) I'm going to try that and see if it helps me ... my wrist has NEVER been loose enough.

Best of luck with your own progress! It definitely takes time.

bj Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @7:42:38 AM

Yeah, the elbow against the doorjamb thing does work. If you can have a mirror placed so you can see what you're doing while you're doing this it's helpful, since the parallel to the bridge thing will go out of whack at first-- and that's NORMAL. When you get the wrist loose AND keep the parallel to the bridge thing, that's when you're doing it better, and expect to struggle with it at first. Take deep breaths. Relax. PLAY with it. Don't try to get great sounds at first, just experiment with the motion. The sound will come with the right motion.

I think it was Swing who pointed out that your hand's palm should be facing toward the frog and cupped in a relaxed way. That observation led me to watching Rayna Gellert and yes, that's what she does.

I could watch this woman bow for hours, I swear.

bj Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @7:46:25 AM

Oh, one more thing. Notice how little bow Rayna uses compared to the other (excellent) fiddler. It's all economy of motion. You don't need to use a lot of bow to get a sound. You might be overbowing and putting more work into it than you need to.

Fidla Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @1:24:19 PM

I suggest it has a lot to do with your grip. My grip (pictures displayed in a similar thread) is very loose...and there is no strain or pain. I also have total control over the bow.

ChickenMan Says:
Thursday, December 4, 2008 @8:18:49 PM

Look at of the top of your right hand as it leads the bow stroke up, and your hand will actually rise up towards your face if you are tracking properly. It is more of a rising and falling of the wrist than a sawing back and forth. Does that make sense? Your wrist moves up and down as opposed to side to side.

brya31 Says:
Friday, December 5, 2008 @2:03:32 AM

I would love to see video of what your saying chickenman, is there any out there?

ChickenMan Says:
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 @9:10:28 AM

I can't remember where I heard that advise. Maybe youtube. It totally helped me see what was wrong with my stroke.

Found it. Here is a link to it This is part one of two from professorV - one of the easiest to understand and follow instructors I have found for free online.

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