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Dec 8, 2021 - 4:20:22 PM
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9651 posts since 3/19/2009

Observed is that some fiddlers seem to play with a stiff arm and their movement seems to come from their shoulder.
Other fiddlers seem to originate their bow movements from their elbow.
Still Other fiddlers seem to play from their wrist,
AND, some fiddler seem to just be wiggling their fingers..

Two questions.. 1) where does your playing originate from ? and, 2) How would playing from another 'base' affect your sound?

Dec 8, 2021 - 5:39:08 PM
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5648 posts since 9/26/2008

I used to be less wrist and fingers and more elbow, but now it starts with fingers and wrist according to my band mates... Oddly enough, we recently talked about that.

Really it starts with the heart :-)

Dec 8, 2021 - 5:51:50 PM
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2581 posts since 7/12/2013

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Really it starts with the heart :-)


Best answer!

I think my playing comes from my elbow and wrist and a teeny bit of fingers. I'm not sure what my playing would be like if I played from the fingers or shoulder instead. I think if played from shoulder I wouldn't be able to play as fast, but I've seen some fast players who play that way they just look like they are working too hard

Dec 8, 2021 - 6:31:12 PM
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12681 posts since 9/23/2009

That's a great question! I think sometimes my shoulder gets into doing most of the bowing...maybe all the time...lol...I don't know for sure, but I catch that shoulder going places quite a bit of the time.

Dec 8, 2021 - 6:50:19 PM
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2054 posts since 8/27/2008

I’m not sure how well I do it, but I think the initial impulse should start back at the shoulder, if not the hip. Everything from there is linked with minimal tension until it reaches the bow. In other words your whole body should be involved. You can’t swing if you only move your fingers.

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:37:16 PM
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5648 posts since 9/26/2008

Oh I see it's a two part question.

My tone has improved as far as I can tell. And I bow in the sweet spot more consistently. 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 12/08/2021 19:38:29

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:41:11 PM

93 posts since 1/28/2018

I'd love to say that it's a beautiful, unified symphony of all the parts working together...but...

Seriously though, at my level it changes as I look for better ways  to accomplish whatever the goal is at the moment.

I haven't figured out what changing the "base" does each time yet, but I do experiment with changing it (as well as with other things) when looking for how to attain a sound I have in mind,  or to make playing something more comfortable.

Edited by - fiddlewood on 12/08/2021 19:49:16

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:59:36 PM
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2512 posts since 10/22/2007

My playing originates from my ears. I've worked long and hard to make the physical aspects sort of fade to the background.

I know I'm supposed to feel the strings under the bow, but most of the time I try to correct my tone via something between wrist rotation and total arm weight. Sometimes I wish I was a thin, spindly type. Better for fiddling, not so good throwing bails.

Dec 9, 2021 - 5:01:49 AM
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165 posts since 12/30/2008

I'm tempted to say ankles. I recently saw a video of myself playing. If standing, it appears that I sway forward and back.

Dec 9, 2021 - 5:15:42 AM
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9651 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by hokelore

I'm tempted to say ankles. I recently saw a video of myself playing. If standing, it appears that I sway forward and back.


Tim.. I'd like to see that!

Ok, CHICKENMAN... Tim's comment reminds me of You... You have each foot tapping outside to inside.. If you had to not tap your feet you probably would have to Stop!!! (just kidding... I find myself doing that now, after having watched you do it..)wink

Dec 9, 2021 - 5:42:34 AM
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Swing

USA

2081 posts since 6/26/2007

Really a great question.... over time and watching many fiddlers I realized that the finger/wrist/forearm/shoulder movements have a big effect on how the fiddle sounds and how the music moves... I think that it is evolutionary and as you learn to play more complex tunes the bow movement becomes more subtle yet more precise. I tend to be a wrist and fingers type of guy and my playing has become much more relaxed.

Play Happy

Swing

Dec 9, 2021 - 5:58:54 AM
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Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2397 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Observed is that some fiddlers seem to play with a stiff arm and their movement seems to come from their shoulder.

NO

Other fiddlers seem to originate their bow movements from their elbow

YES
.
Still Other fiddlers seem to play from their wrist,

YES

AND, some fiddler seem to just be wiggling their fingers..

YES

Two questions.. 1) where does your playing originate from ?
SEE ABOVE
and, 2) How would playing from another 'base' affect your sound?
DON'T KNOW


Dec 9, 2021 - 7:19:04 AM
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159 posts since 7/30/2021

1) all of the above! body part(s) used depends on sound desired...

2) one thing I learned from Fiddle Hell workshop was that if you do string crossings using mostly your wrist (not whole arm), you can go heckuva lot faster. "wiggling fingers" good for fast little triplets, accents (not saying I can do those yet :-)

Dec 9, 2021 - 8:04:57 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

866 posts since 6/22/2016

From my grandpa! Oh - wait ... from my elbow on down. Don't know how if would be different if, etc.

Dec 9, 2021 - 9:42:28 AM
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475 posts since 7/18/2014

Very little shoulder, mostly elbow and forearm. Lots of wrist up and down with slight side to side. Also index and pinky with thumb as a pivot.

Placing the bow on the strings and then just dragging it around doesn’t work for me, I have to drive that sucker. I’m sure every fiddle has some different requirements.

Disaster waits if I break out of normal.

Dec 9, 2021 - 1:40:07 PM
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5648 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by hokelore

I'm tempted to say ankles. I recently saw a video of myself playing. If standing, it appears that I sway forward and back.


Tim.. I'd like to see that!

Ok, CHICKENMAN... Tim's comment reminds me of You... You have each foot tapping outside to inside.. If you had to not tap your feet you probably would have to Stop!!! (just kidding... I find myself doing that now, after having watched you do it..)wink


I do all sorts of dancing with my feet when the tunes are flowing just right!

Happy feet laugh

Dec 9, 2021 - 5:19:29 PM
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JonD

USA

58 posts since 2/12/2021

I'm still figuring out what bowing is all about, but when I'm really into it, it seems my fingers and wrist are pretty involved, not just elbow. There is a certain 'groove' where the bow seems to drive itself and I"m just nudging it or flicking it along.

I get to see Chickenman's happy feet doing their thing on a regular basis (lucky me!), and I don't know how he does it! I don't normally tap to the music as a backer, but I'm trying to as a fiddler, to help provide a beat when I'm practicing. But I tend to end up stomping harder and harder till my foot hurts. IU guess I need to develop that as a separate skill....

Dec 9, 2021 - 6:36:37 PM

5648 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JonD

I'm still figuring out what bowing is all about, but when I'm really into it, it seems my fingers and wrist are pretty involved, not just elbow. There is a certain 'groove' where the bow seems to drive itself and I"m just nudging it or flicking it along.

I get to see Chickenman's happy feet doing their thing on a regular basis (lucky me!), and I don't know how he does it! I don't normally tap to the music as a backer, but I'm trying to as a fiddler, to help provide a beat when I'm practicing. But I tend to end up stomping harder and harder till my foot hurts. IU guess I need to develop that as a separate skill....


Tapping your foot isn't necessary and I KNOW you have good timing already.

Dec 10, 2021 - 2:03:27 PM
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68 posts since 5/1/2010

Ever see Paul Warren of the Flatt & Scruggs Band? Worst bow-arm form there has ever been! But, like the bumble bee who defies the law of physics when it flies, Paul made it work!

Dec 10, 2021 - 2:58:43 PM

2315 posts since 8/23/2008

The first thing I learnt from 'Kato Havas, the twelve lesson course' was about the 'see-saw image'.
This is an awareness of the muscle that hold up the arms.. 'the trapezius muscle'.
So, I would say all movement/playing, in both hands, 'originates' in the back...

Dec 10, 2021 - 3:11:52 PM
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9651 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry

The first thing I learnt from 'Kato Havas, the twelve lesson course' was about the 'see-saw image'.
This is an awareness of the muscle that hold up the arms.. 'the trapezius muscle'.
So, I would say all movement/playing, in both hands, 'originates' in the back...

That is a new one on me!!!  As for my playing I usually use my wrist and fingers and then the elbow and arm..I can understand how the fiddling movements come from the trapezius..!... In reality, the entire body is involved.. but we know that!!  

I see fiddlers who have the most unusual ways of playing and still manage to sound pretty good or are at least functional.. Same with banjo players.. Some of the best sounding banjo players had non traditional ways of playing.. It baffles me!!

Dec 10, 2021 - 4:08:12 PM
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2054 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Fiddleharp

Ever see Paul Warren of the Flatt & Scruggs Band? Worst bow-arm form there has ever been! But, like the bumble bee who defies the law of physics when it flies, Paul made it work!


I looked at a couple youtube videos, and although I wouldn't give him as an example of the best bow arm there is, it didn't offend me, or anything. Have you ever watched Michael Cleveland's bow arm and grip? But the way he plays almost makes me want to bow like him on purpose.

Dec 10, 2021 - 5:17:22 PM

5648 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by Fiddleharp

Ever see Paul Warren of the Flatt & Scruggs Band? Worst bow-arm form there has ever been! But, like the bumble bee who defies the law of physics when it flies, Paul made it work!


I looked at a couple youtube videos, and although I wouldn't give him as an example of the best bow arm there is, it didn't offend me, or anything. Have you ever watched Michael Cleveland's bow arm and grip? But the way he plays almost makes me want to bow like him on purpose.


To my eyes they are practically the same - different grips but no finger movement, nearly all elbow with just enough wrist to keep the bow moving parallel to the strings. Michael does whack the strings though, that appears hard on the bow hair.

It's the ones who move the bow in an arc across the strings while still sounding good that baffle me. 

Dec 10, 2021 - 5:53:46 PM
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2512 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by Fiddleharp

Ever see Paul Warren of the Flatt & Scruggs Band? Worst bow-arm form there has ever been! But, like the bumble bee who defies the law of physics when it flies, Paul made it work!


I looked at a couple youtube videos, and although I wouldn't give him as an example of the best bow arm there is, it didn't offend me, or anything. Have you ever watched Michael Cleveland's bow arm and grip? But the way he plays almost makes me want to bow like him on purpose.


Michael  Cleveland has another gear my tranny doesn't have. smiley

I could practice a thousand years, and never be as quick. 

Dec 23, 2021 - 10:36:23 AM

775 posts since 8/10/2017

Unfortunately too much from my shoulder. This is supposedly very incorrect and I feel it does hinder me and is a bad habit.

Dec 23, 2021 - 10:44:52 AM
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2054 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

Unfortunately too much from my shoulder. This is supposedly very incorrect and I feel it does hinder me and is a bad habit.


Do you mean your arm and wrist are too stiff? I think working from your shoulder is good if everything is flexible downstream.

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