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Oct 20, 2022 - 7:08:16 PM
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10 posts since 3/20/2020

Hi all, it’s been a while since I have posted. Hope you are all doing well.

Lately I have been going back over some old songs and I noticed that on a few of them, my bowing is out of time with my fingers. My bowing doesn’t line up with my fingers changing notes. It may be because I didn’t take enough time to learn it in the first place or because I haven’t played the song in a while, but I am working on fixing it by playing the songs at a slower speed with deliberate attention to the bowing. This isn’t a problem I have noticed in recent songs I have learned.

Has anyone ever experienced this? If so how did you fix the problem?

Oct 21, 2022 - 12:59:14 AM
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970 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by bluegrassfiddle

Hi all, it’s been a while since I have posted. Hope you are all doing well.

Lately I have been going back over some old songs and I noticed that on a few of them, my bowing is out of time with my fingers. My bowing doesn’t line up with my fingers changing notes. It may be because I didn’t take enough time to learn it in the first place or because I haven’t played the song in a while, but I am working on fixing it by playing the songs at a slower speed with deliberate attention to the bowing. This isn’t a problem I have noticed in recent songs I have learned.

Has anyone ever experienced this? If so how did you fix the problem?


This is one of the most common problems in playing the instrument, and everyone experiences it to some extent. What tends to happen is that the fingers of the left hand anticipate the bow too much and the bow strokes don't line up as intended. It occurs especially when going through fast passages, even more so passages  that  you haven't played in a while.  

What you describe doing is a good approach to synchronizing the hands. Using a metronome will make a huge difference as well, as it reinforces regularity. Start very slow and increase the tempo a little bit at a time. Any time you get hung up, slow down a little until you can play cleanly again. It might help to continue this process until you surpass your target tempo slightly, so that when you play at normal speed, you don't have to struggle. 

Oct 21, 2022 - 4:42:42 AM

Swing

USA

2228 posts since 6/26/2007

What "The Beautiful Violin" said....

Play Happy

Swing

Oct 21, 2022 - 5:23:21 AM
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14110 posts since 9/23/2009

That's a unique problem in fiddling...I say as a total self-taught amateur...but I never experienced that with any other instrument. As to how to overcome it...I still don't know...but I know with myself it has gradually gotten better...it still happens here and there though...maybe just time spent with instrument is all we can do?  I think with me it seems worse with increased speed, so maybe practicing at the pace where it doesn't happen and gradually bring up speed to where you want it as it gets better.  Maybe somebody else will come along with a proven cure...lol.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 10/21/2022 05:24:40

Oct 21, 2022 - 6:33:59 AM
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2493 posts since 10/1/2008

Slowing down and using a metronome and repetition is the ticket. Something I also do if I am using a bowing pattern is work that pattern with a scale of something I know very well. Thinking about what each hand is doing is often my undoing. R/

Oct 21, 2022 - 7:33:19 AM

667 posts since 7/30/2021

All really great tips.
Another "crutch" to use might be trying to temporarily add a little emphasis or break at the beginning of each bow. That should clean up/synchronize bow with fingers? But of course you don't want to play that way always.

I know bluegrass players go smoking fast, I think I'd get tangled up too at that speed! So if you are going at 200bpm or something, slowing down a lot should clean it up, and then gradually incrementally go back to your "usual speed"...

Oct 21, 2022 - 8:53:01 AM

3217 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

That's a unique problem in fiddling...I say as a total self-taught amateur...but I never experienced that with any other instrument. As to how to overcome it...I still don't know...but I know with myself it has gradually gotten better...it still happens here and there though...maybe just time spent with instrument is all we can do?  I think with me it seems worse with increased speed, so maybe practicing at the pace where it doesn't happen and gradually bring up speed to where you want it as it gets better.  Maybe somebody else will come along with a proven cure...lol.


I would say it's a pretty common problem beginners encounter in other string instruments. (especially in making chord changes)

Beginners tendency to think each hand independently. The goal is to think of two hands both part of the same whole; acting as one motion. 

Not sure what is not lining up for OP? Is the RH or LH; that is early, or late? Or is combination,often a timing mistake on one hand can then throw off the timing of the other. Seems often problem come from needing to "think" about or focus on what one hand is doing to the exclusion of the other... either what LH notes (finger/fret, string, intonation) needs to do... or what the right hand needs to be doing (bow, pick, string, down/up).  

I agree, mostly it comes with time with the instrument; playing experience; getting comfortable with not having to think about what hands are doing. But some exercises can probably help; ones that involve less thinking.

One exercise...starts with focus on keeping simple but steady RH rhythm flowing with follow thru... a bit like on auto pilot. Initially don't worry about LH being off; no matter what is happening in LH or melody (or thinking about LH) doesn't throw the RH off... it keeps going steady flow. That is, without having to think about RH... let the LH work on adjusting to that. Keep the LH simple at first, a tune don't have to think much about, or just scale exercise. The more repeat this exercise, the more it builds neural connection of two hands as one. (might add, that there is another benefit to learning steady RH follow through, when comes to playing with others)

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 10/21/2022 08:55:39

Oct 21, 2022 - 11:01:41 AM

2869 posts since 10/22/2007

Well, there's "muscle memory," then there's physical limitations. The older I get, I can only go so fast. My left hand fingers start to get late. I don't know if it's your problem or not. I've conceded, I'm not, nor will ever be Michael Cleveland. So slowing down is my solution. Metronome, or drum machine is a mandatory thing, for practice. Heck, we even jam with one sometimes. With one jam we should use one and don't.
One would think that if you use a drum machine or metronome alot, that if you play without one, your timing would go south. I've found this is not the case.
That's why I always say, please, for the sake of others, use a metronome.

Oct 21, 2022 - 12:27:45 PM

667 posts since 7/30/2021

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

All really great tips.
Another "crutch" to use might be trying to temporarily add a little emphasis or break at each bow change. That should clean up/synchronize bow with fingers? But of course you don't want to play that way always.

I know bluegrass players go smoking fast, I think I'd get tangled up too at that speed! So if you are going at 200bpm or something, slowing down a lot should clean it up, and then gradually incrementally go back to your "usual speed"...


Oct 21, 2022 - 12:28:14 PM
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667 posts since 7/30/2021

Sheesh I was trying to edit my comment, not quote myself. Sorry!!

Oct 23, 2022 - 4:05:13 PM
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14 posts since 12/28/2020

A couple things to consider: are you leaving your fingers down or using them one by one? I often encourage beginners to learn "walking fingers", just using one finger at a time, but sometimes blocking them, leaving them down when possible, helps with what you're describing. Whatever you normally do, especially if you use one finger at a time which would be my guess, play some easy tunes while leaving all fingers down when possible.

A slow, zen like practice of a tricky tune with a lot of string crossings or accidentals where you stop between notes to put your finger on the string before playing the note can help, since it's often that the left hand that drags behind in these situations.

Love the metronome advice. An alternative is practicing in rhythms. Take a notey reel and make it sound like a hornpipe- all the running notes turn into a long-short-long-short rhythm, like a dotted eight and sixteenth. Play it like that, then flip it to play the whole thing short-long-short-long. As you get better keep the long notes long but make the short notes shorter and faster. This way you are practicing very quick coordination, but only on every other note. It seems to help.

Oct 31, 2022 - 11:44:30 AM

39 posts since 9/22/2021

Do you do single note bowing? Or long bowing? Or a combination, like many? I think sometimes that long bowing can help (if it works for the passage, as you can finger the notes independently. Of course, you can still run out of bow but often it gets you to a logical change in direction without always focusing on synchronizing with the fingers. If that makes any sense...

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