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Using the whole bow and other tips

Posted by MOFiddlin on Friday, March 29, 2013

I was going to make a post about this in the forum but since there are so many threads about bowing, I figured I'd place my thoughts in my blog. 

While over at my brother's house on Sunday his fiddler friend was over who is very, very good and wanted to hear me play.  Wanted me to play a few tunes with my brother and in doing so he just observed. I was kind of nervous because, well he's great and I'm not but that quickly went away once my brother and I were playing a few tunes together.

He didn't say much, other than, hey you're getting it, or you got it sounds good.  Then my brother and him played for a while and then he'd ask if I knew this tune or that because he mostly plays bluegrass but he also knows many old time tunes and I'd play a few ore ask he knew certain one's, so had a lot of fun discussing tunes. He also mentioned a few tunes he thought I should learn that would be a little more standard tunes that get played that I didn't know.

So at the end of the night he gave me several tips. He said I wasn't as bad I say I am and that my intonation is pretty good. But a few of the tips were...

Using all the bow. He said I seem to have a habit of using mostly a part of the bow. Like a certain area and I should take advantage and take some practice time and just practice using the whole bow going from one string to the other from one end of the bow to the other and see how long I can go on each string.

So that was one of my biggest practices this week was just doing that. Then I would use that with tunes I know and I must say it made a world of difference, especially when it came to slurs or trying to hurry up while playing with a backing track.. Made me a little more smooth and bit more relaxed. It has already helped, but I will continue to keep practicing it with scales as well so it will be ingrained.

The other tips he gave were minor and which I have somewhat neglected. It has to do with scales. I mean;I  practice them but it is usually the basic scales. He said do not neglect learning them even though they might be boring. Keep taking time on technique and I won't regret it. Sometimes I just want to learn tunes and forget about technique.

I believe the last tip had to do with pressure. Not that mine was really bad, but he said I seem to not sure of it yet.  That bowing doesn't really take much at all and if I practice finding that right pressure every time before I play or practice it will become memory.

Anyway, those were a few things he helped me with. Now onto my fiddlin' journey...



2 comments on “Using the whole bow and other tips”

boxbow Says:
Saturday, March 30, 2013 @6:27:47 AM

Good for you! It's hard to admit, but we do get better. I still despise scales, and I pay for it. I started doing some fingering games before practice or jamming. Somehow, if I call it a game, it's better than scales. Go figure. Anyway, I get my intonation right against open string drones, find the pressure sweet spot, get my bowing arm all lined up, and get ready to go at it. Just 15-30 seconds worth, long enough to know whether to tweak the fine tuners. I'm sure there's a better way, but this one has kept me going. Sitting down and making music with others, especially if you have respect for their skills, is a whole 'nother world, isn't it?

MOFiddlin Says:
Saturday, March 30, 2013 @7:44:20 AM

It has taught me a lot when I get around others who are better and they don't have some ego but genuinely want to see you improve and be a better player because they have been through it. They have made their mistakes and know what works, or have had to unlearn and relearn.

Scales aren't fun, but if I convince myself it is game like you maybe it can be. lol

The way I improved on intonation was to play in the dark. You can't help but get better.

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