Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

120
Fiddle Lovers Online


Oct 16, 2021 - 7:46 AM

Moko

USA

16 posts since 11/24/2017

Just wondering if you bow more at the tip or the frog of your bow? Or maybe you try to bow right in the middle? I see players doing both, maybe more towards the frog. Is there more control one way or the other, or just habit maybe? Thoughts for a new guy?

Oct 16, 2021 - 8:08:07 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

843 posts since 6/22/2016

I would suggest starting off in the middle - after a time, you may find that completely satisfactory or you may want to experiment to find your own way or emulate the method of someone whose playing you find particularly appealing - but that can come later. IMO.

Oct 16, 2021 - 10:42:13 AM
likes this

755 posts since 8/10/2017

So many years of playing all scrunched up sitting on a masonry circle in a big jam without enough room for everyone, I've tended to play toward the frog. Alone I end up playing probably way more bow than I need and mostly anywhere that isn't too close to either end. David Bragger in a recent workshop I attended suggested middle-upper third is where it's at. Mostly it's somewhere in the middle I think for most people.

Oct 16, 2021 - 10:59:08 AM
like this

569 posts since 3/1/2020

It depends on the player. Staying closer to the frog allows one to make powerful choppy strokes and play chords or more easily emphasize the down stroke.

Playing at the tip allows more careful articulation and de-emphasizes the bow changes while adding a feeling of levity to the playing.

Compare the playing of someone like Casey Driessen to that of a player like Stephane Grappelli.

Bluegrass players are often more likely to play at the frog, but a lot of that is because they commonly play rhythm. Jazz players are less settled—the Hot Club style players tend to emulate Grappelli and use the lighter, airier style at the tip, while the modern/new age jazz players often chop more and play closer to the frog. Celtic players often play closer to the tip. Old Time players tend not to focus as much on this aspect, so you’ll find a wide variety. Classical players are taught to use the whole bow unless directed by the composer or conductor to play at the tip or frog for a certain effect.

Oct 16, 2021 - 11:44:44 AM

Quincy

Belgium

190 posts since 1/16/2021
Online Now

Interesting topic, my violin teacher encourages me to play more at the the tip of the bow....when playing folky tunes.

Oct 16, 2021 - 11:58:11 AM

Jimbeaux

Germany

401 posts since 5/24/2016

Well my favorite fiddlers play toward the tip, so I’ve copied them. The better choice depends on your preference.

Oct 16, 2021 - 1:52:30 PM

9496 posts since 3/19/2009

I've seen good fiddlers mostly use the middle and the tip of the bow areas.. SELDOM have I seen good fiddlers remain in the frog area unless they are doing strong/aggressive fiddling or playing some waltzes and they don't stay near the frog any more than is necessary for the effect they want..

Oct 16, 2021 - 2:09:26 PM
likes this

1904 posts since 12/11/2008

I tend to stick toward the middle of the bow because I like the mixture of tone and forcefulness I can get there, but Rich Maxham says it best.

Oct 16, 2021 - 2:32:54 PM

1635 posts since 4/6/2014

Whatever it takes to get the sound i want. An even stroke along the whole length of the bow, and an imperceptible change of direction is the holy grail for me....Everything else would be a departure from that...In my ideal world of fiddling....

Oct 16, 2021 - 4:12:56 PM
likes this

5505 posts since 9/26/2008

Middle mostly, I think, while covering plenty of the other areas too. Often I use the whole bow over the course of several variously emphasized direction changes or might remain at the tip for the end of a phrase that I want to end with a long upbow.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 10/16/2021 16:13:45

Oct 16, 2021 - 6:03:54 PM
like this

gapbob

USA

787 posts since 4/20/2008

Middle to frog, mostly, use the tip when I need it.

Oct 16, 2021 - 7:11:26 PM

269 posts since 6/3/2016

Here's a totally different way to look at it, which I learned from a local professional. You want your elbow to be at 90 degrees. That way, your upper arm moves very little. Most of the motion is with your elbow and forearm. Wherever the bow ribbon hits the strings when your elbow is at 90 degrees, that's a good starting point. 

Oct 16, 2021 - 8:34:43 PM

16 posts since 9/20/2007

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

Middle to frog, mostly, use the tip when I need it.


Oct 16, 2021 - 8:39:31 PM

16 posts since 9/20/2007

Zactly! Went to a Bruce Molsky workshop once...he said ‘as an engineer it’s easy to see why you tend towards the frog/middle...easier to change strings’.

Apparently he has degree in engineering

Oct 17, 2021 - 4:20:03 AM

Peghead

USA

1632 posts since 1/21/2009

Porter house medium rare or salad bar?

Oct 17, 2021 - 8:13:55 AM
likes this

569 posts since 3/1/2020

Here’s one way to think about it:
Playing at the tip or frog distributes the weight of the bow differently. When a good bow is made, its balance point is carefully calibrated to be in a specific place in the lower third of the bow. This spot is where the bow will bounce when playing spiccato.

As you play at the tip, the weight of the bow lies at the wrist and the bow feels light at the string, making quick articulations and bow changes very easy, but string crossings require more arm motion.

At the frog, the weight of the bow is loaded on the tip, so it allows more freedom of motion for string crossings, although changes of bow are trickier. Playing at the frog is good for chords or rapid retakes.

The bow on the string is like a seesaw. The string is the fulcrum. Moving to the tip is like putting all the mass at your end or moving the fulcrum toward the other end. Moving to the frog is like putting mass at the other end or moving the fulcrum toward you.

Oct 17, 2021 - 9:53:32 AM

gapbob

USA

787 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Gallaher

Zactly! Went to a Bruce Molsky workshop once...he said ‘as an engineer it’s easy to see why you tend towards the frog/middle...easier to change strings’.

Apparently he has degree in engineering


Me too.

Oct 17, 2021 - 11:15:44 AM

1635 posts since 4/6/2014

There's Engineering, then There Is Art. Don't get me wrong , I love great engineering, and design. But some players just take those design and engineering skills above and beyond and make Art, imo....Bowing/fiddling wise.... And in other spheres also.

Oct 17, 2021 - 4:36 PM
likes this

Peghead

USA

1632 posts since 1/21/2009

Because of the weight that gathers at the frog I notice I naturally increase my bow speed to avoid crunching.

Oct 20, 2021 - 11:21:45 AM

Moko

USA

16 posts since 11/24/2017

Thanks for all the great responses. I'm working my way thru all of your thoughts now and I know eventually some will stick. Thanks again,

Oct 20, 2021 - 5:04:16 PM
like this

Snafu

USA

111 posts since 2/2/2014
Online Now

Moko. I find that where I linger on the bow depends on what I’m playing but is even more dependent on whether I am playing standing (my usual practice) or forced to sit because of the situation. I play lots of waltz time tunes and they want the full bow to sound best. In my opinion it is easy to go from long bows as your default style to using short bows if required but the opposite is much more difficult.

Oct 23, 2021 - 6:18:15 AM
like this

2303 posts since 7/4/2007

To be as quiet as possible, I started staying near the tip when practicing late at night, unlike when jamming when I'd go all over the place. I noticed that practicing at the extremes of the bow made my bowing better and added some dynamics to my playing that I had not thought about before. I think one should consciously explore all of the bow, during every tune if possible. A good long bow can release tension in the bowing arm, too.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.15625