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Jul 15, 2020 - 11:30:58 AM
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WyoBob

USA

128 posts since 5/16/2019

I like the sound of my two fiddles best with the thumb under frog grip using any of my 4 (low cost) bows. The problem I had with that grip was my thumb wasn't secure. I tried adding tape on the frog for extra traction but that wasn't good enough.

So, I grabbed my 70 year old, freebie bow with thinning hair and took my Dremel tool to it. Test drove it and grabbed my $30 carbon fiber bow and did the same thing to it with some modifications, took it for a test drive and really like it. I think I'll do it on my other two, low cost bows. My most expensive bow is a Fiddlerman C.F. bow ($70).

I doubt anyone would want to do this mod on a high dollar bow but it sure works good for me. A solid grip that holds position when flexing the wrist. When just my thumb was on the frog, tape or not, I couldn't flex my wrist without the thumb sliding and moving around and I worried about loosing control of the bow, as in dropping it.


Jul 15, 2020 - 10:12:49 PM

38 posts since 3/29/2020

I've experimented with the TUF grip, and I'm convinced it has merit (Mark O'Connor, Casey Driesson, Kimber Ludiker, albeit not all the time, all TUF holders) The exact problem that you were talking about happened to me, and I abandoned it because of the slipping. Good for you for coming up with a solution!

Jul 16, 2020 - 9:34:48 AM
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1794 posts since 8/27/2008

I'd suggest you can get used to the TUF hold without permenently modifying you're bow if you want to. You might want to play with an expensive bow someday, or borrow somebody else's bow. When I switched to the TUF position several years ago I taped a little piece of a toothpick on the lower bottom edge of the frog as an indicator. After about 2 months I took it off. I have no problem holding the bow that way now.

Jul 16, 2020 - 1:23:45 PM
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1655 posts since 12/11/2008

Oddly, I actually prefer to hold the bow where I suppose the bow makers want us to hold it -- on the leather padding just in front of the frog. For me it's the place where the bow is balanced for best control and tone. It is there where the bow magically puts the ideal amount of pressure on the strings.

Whenever I experiment and put my thumb under the frog, my grip feels too open. Because the position is so close to the end of the bow, it also takes too much finger & arm strength for me to gently hold the thing. My hand starts to ache. Yeah, the bow feels very light when I hold it toward its middle, but holding it this way makes my tone scratchy. It also severely limits how much bow I can employ. If I want to get any real distance in my bow strokes, I suddenly have to get my shoulder and body involved. Any possibility of keeping my bow at a right angle to the strings goes by the wayside, as well.

Jul 16, 2020 - 2:24:20 PM
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4837 posts since 9/26/2008

Some use a small patch of leather, like a corn pad (foot ailment, as if you didn't know) to give the thumb purchase. Like your method of removing mass, this can alter the balance of the bow. Even a half gram, depending on where it is added or removed, can throw things off.
Glad you figured it out. I tried thumb under the frog, but my thumb, aside from being arthritic these days, has a funny upward turn at the final joint that requires far too much pressure to grip it light enough to use my fingers on the stroke. It will not conform to any image of the classical holds. I actually use inside tip edge of the thumbnail on the leather to hold the bow. I have to almost dig it in and then it stays and I can relax my grip. After a long evening/day of playing, say 4 or more hours, I sometimes have issues with that area of the thumb going numb.

Jul 16, 2020 - 2:33:52 PM

WyoBob

USA

128 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

I'd suggest you can get used to the TUF hold without permenently modifying you're bow if you want to. You might want to play with an expensive bow someday, or borrow somebody else's bow.


I've been using the TUF hold for about half of my playing in the 10 months I've been playing.   It's more comfortable for my thumb (thumb joint is a little creaky and has trouble bending without being slightly painful) and I do like the tone the best with the TUF.  I modified my two, dirt cheap bows and will leave my "expensive" bow, alone.   I put a dab of rosin on my thumb pad this morning and the works better than the modification and I have a lifetime supply of rosin.

Expensive bow?  I plan on doing some research into better bows though I think I'm getting along fine with the three I have.  My "Fiddlerman", $70.00 C.F. seems to work best.   I have some fiddle buddies who probably have some better bows than mine "on the shelf" that they don't play and might want to sell.  Going to a local store to try a few bows is impossible in the area I live.

Jul 16, 2020 - 7:29:14 PM
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195 posts since 3/1/2020

As someone who rehairs a lot of bows, I wouldn’t recommend that kind of modification to the frog because it weakens the rail severely. If the bow goes in for a rehair, the rail could split off as the slide is removed. On cheap bows the slides are sometimes put in with glue. Getting them out is difficult, so it's better for the bow if the frog is intact. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 07/16/2020 19:32:14

Jul 16, 2020 - 7:44:56 PM
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DougD

USA

9767 posts since 12/2/2007

I think you're on the right track with the rosin. When I was playing guitar I would sometimes put a little on my thumb and index finger to make sure I didn't drop my pick

Jul 16, 2020 - 7:56:18 PM

1655 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

I think you're on the right track with the rosin. When I was playing guitar I would sometimes put a little on my thumb and index finger to make sure I didn't drop my pick


I lick my thumb & index finger before I pick up my guitar pick.  My wife thinks it's gross, but it allows me to hold the pick (always a heavy) with a really light, precise touch.

Jul 17, 2020 - 8:44:24 AM

4837 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler
quote:
Originally posted by DougD

I think you're on the right track with the rosin. When I was playing guitar I would sometimes put a little on my thumb and index finger to make sure I didn't drop my pick


I lick my thumb & index finger before I pick up my guitar pick.  My wife thinks it's gross, but it allows me to hold the pick (always a heavy) with a really light, precise touch.


My buddy Paul uses rosin on his fingers so his banjo picks don't fly off in sweaty conditions. 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 07/17/2020 08:45:14

Jul 17, 2020 - 1:02:38 PM
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DougD

USA

9767 posts since 12/2/2007

Funny how carefully some people explore technique. In his banjo book Earl Scruggs described how before a show he would buff his picks on his leather strap and run the fingers of his left hand through his hair to pick up a little grease for faster fretting. Greatness is partly attention to detail.

Edited by - DougD on 07/17/2020 13:04:08

Jul 17, 2020 - 1:51:45 PM

8702 posts since 3/19/2009
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A good guitar playing  friend of mine would always want to rub his pick thumb in front of my fiddle bridge to get a little rosin for friction..I really didn't mind, but it DID sort of destroy that white patina that I liked to see in front of their fiddle bridges..laugh He has since hung up his guitar and doesn't play anymore.. I'd sacrifice that patina for his accompaniment any day....OK.. you can get back on topic..sorry.

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/17/2020 13:54:08

Aug 11, 2020 - 3:25:01 PM
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WyoBob

USA

128 posts since 5/16/2019

I tried another modification on my bows to make TUF work better and there's no alteration to the bow.

I like the tone when playing with TUF but my wrist articulation suffered and this kind of hold doesn't feel very secure.   So, I put some thin rubber bands on the frog/bow to keep my thumb from sliding around.   Two rubber bands, fore and aft.  Keeps my thumb in the same position and feels much more secure and I can flex my wrist without feeling like I'm sliding around with my grip.  Works pretty good, looks pretty, well, not too stylish.   But, as I'm playing by myself in the basement (I do play along with recordings so it's kinda like playing with others), "style" and "class" isn't high on my list as the only one I have to please is myselfwink

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