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Aug 11, 2017 - 3:32:24 PM
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Thanks to Lee, for bringing this up.

Copied from another topic - so it can have its own life:

"But wait, there's more.. Along with a light touch is the idea of applying enough bow pressure to get a good sound.  I often see people putting a death grip on bow but still having the bow slide around on the strings because all of their pressure is at the frog.. No matter how light or how heavy is the finger pressure it has to be combined with proper bow pressure.. Lee​"

I think I suffer from the opposite. I tend (at times) to have too light of a grip on the bow itself, I will sometimes drop it while playing.

I also have a tendency to place too much downward pressure on the strings with the bow. Good for something, but not so good as a general rule.

I think it is from a subconscious idea that I can "get more" out of the instrument if I dig in a little harder. Especially, if the group is really getting into a tune. 

But I am coming to realize (more lately) that pushing down harder on the strings really doesn't add much volume at all (not like I thought it would). 

...I'm working on it.

Edited by - tonyelder on 08/11/2017 15:32:38

Aug 12, 2017 - 6:43:47 AM
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Joined Oct 1, 2008

As are we all .....

Aug 12, 2017 - 2:01:22 PM
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Joined Mar 24, 2010

Some of my favorite traditional players have completely opposite approaches. Frankie Gavin stresses the importance of bearing down while Kevin Burke stresses that the fiddle should hold the bow up with little pressure or grip. I do both for different applications... Pressure will create more volume if applied correctly, but then again so does bow speed! I have noticed that if people are dancing, I'm usually putting quite a bit of my whole body into the music... or vice versa ;) I think I could apply the same variances to the the fallacy of a the neccessity of a relaxed wrist...

Aug 12, 2017 - 3:07:56 PM
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Yeap. I have noticed that using bow pressure on the strings needs to include a little extra bow speed too.

...and that's usually what I'm doing when I drop the bow.

Aug 12, 2017 - 6:01:39 PM
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Joined Sep 23, 2009

I probably do everything too hard...lol.

Aug 12, 2017 - 9:26:39 PM
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I've actually been thinking a lot about the way my bow contacts the strings in recent days, trying to get a little better tone on fast, note-filled tunes. 

My thought is that I tend to let up sometimes when I change direction and cross strings. 

Some years ago I took lessons for a few months from a classical teacher and she mentioned something that I had also heard a fiddler say. She talked about how I could use arm weight to keep the bow on the strings. I've been trying that this week in a way that makes it feel, to me, like the bow only has a very narrow vertical space to move in and I think it's been helpful.

I've also sensed over the years that I've been thinking "down" when I want a bit of accent the bow when I should have been thinking more "back and forth." (That said, my "back and forth" definitely isn't something that happens in a flat plane, especially now that I'm using more wrist.)

I have a variety of ways that I hold the bow but I've been known to drop it, too, so I'm guessing I have a fairly relaxed "grip." :)

Fascinating topic to ponder, isn't it?!

Aug 13, 2017 - 12:15:25 PM

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Ok I know this is a complete newby question, but what is "the frog" I faintly remember this phrase from years ago, but I slept since then.

Aug 13, 2017 - 12:20:16 PM

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This article has pictures and a description of the frog: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_(music)

Aug 13, 2017 - 12:27:14 PM

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Joined Aug 13, 2017

Ok! Thanks.

Aug 13, 2017 - 2:10:42 PM
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Joined Dec 23, 2007

Frog is one of those green things that eats flies.

Aug 13, 2017 - 2:34:11 PM
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...and then croaks without dying.

Aug 13, 2017 - 5:15:13 PM
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Joined Sep 26, 2008

I have some arthritis in my thumb and have dropped the bow repeatedly when it flares up. Also, my thumb bends back at a near right angle at the first joint. This makes it difficult to put the tip of my thumb on the stick so I end up with a little less overall flexibility there in my thumb.
There is also a tendency for my hand to drift up the bow about 1 inch from the frog as I play. When it is noticed, I just scoot my hand back down until the next drift. Not sure what that's about.
Aug 13, 2017 - 8:16:19 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I have some arthritis in my thumb and have dropped the bow repeatedly when it flares up. Also, my thumb bends back at a near right angle at the first joint. This makes it difficult to put the tip of my thumb on the stick so I end up with a little less overall flexibility there in my thumb.
There is also a tendency for my hand to drift up the bow about 1 inch from the frog as I play. When it is noticed, I just scoot my hand back down until the next drift. Not sure what that's about.

I don't use the tip of my thumb either. When I have tried to keep it on the tip - the tip will get numb (too much pressure I guess). So, I prefer to have the bow rest on the pad of my thumb. I think my grip best matches the Russian hold that I have seen in pictures.  That seems to let me use a more limber wrist.

...but my grip will creep up the stick until my thumb is wedged between the hair and stick. (dirty hair 3 inches from the frog) 

Like you, when I notice, I'll shift back to the frog.  --- mainly because there have been a few times when I have run out of bow and ended up with the tip caught up in the strings. embarrassing  

I'm telling on myself.

Aug 13, 2017 - 9:20:06 PM
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Joined Oct 6, 2008

Funny--the creeping hand thing. Never have I ever said, "I guess I'll choke up on the bow," but over time, it's just happened. I rarely move all the way back to the frog, but I do try to stay pretty close and keep things in check when I notice my hand's wandered. I can even scoot it back while I'm playing. How's that for skill?!

Another habit I have is playing close to the finger board. It's not bad thing (to me) but I get more volume when I move closer to the bridge which can be handy sometimes. I'm trying to learn to make the placement conscious choice rather than a mysterious default.

Aug 14, 2017 - 11:01:48 AM

1059 posts
Joined Dec 11, 2008

quote:
Originally posted by Cyndy
 

 

Another habit I have is playing close to the finger board. It's not bad thing (to me) but I get more volume when I move closer to the bridge which can be handy sometimes. I'm trying to learn to make the placement conscious choice rather than a mysterious default.

Ah, another subject worthy of discussion.  We all seem to naturally find ourselves bowing on a particular spot along the length of the string.  When I'm furiously bowing along, my bow tends to edge increasingly closer to the bridge.  As we all know, what this does is lend the tone a trebly, screechy edge. It's a tone that's fine in some situations, but I truly prefer the tone that comes from about midway between the bridge and fingerboard.  It's where the fiddle truly sings. It's where the fiddle develops the most volume. Bowing over the fingerboard, by contrast, makes the tone wooly. 

 

It's an integral part of playing a stringed instrument.  It's something guitar players are all too aware of.

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