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How To Hold A Violin Bow


The first step to learning to play the violin is knowing how to hold the bow. Tighten the bow hair with the screw at the bottom, there should be about three quarter inches between the hair and the bow at the closest point.

Place your right thumb on the inside part of the bow and place your 3 middle fingers on the outside. Your little finger should go on top, just nearly touching the screw to adjust the bow tightness. Your index finger should be on the top of the bow.

In this position, you should place the bow hair on the G string between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard. Let your hand fall naturally at your wrist, don't be too rigid with your grip.

It should be relaxed but in control. Put some pressure on the bow and at the same time draw it down over the string in a straight line, stopping when you get near the tip of the bow.

Then try it working from the tip of the bow to the bottom, towards where the adjustment screw is. This movement is an up bow, while the first one was a down bow.

You should practice switching from one to the other smoothly without removing the bow from the strings, and also practice how much pressure you apply with the bow hair to the strings. If you lean too heavily the noise will be unpleasant, whereas leaning too lightly will produce too light and scratchy a tone.

When you draw the bow back and forth across the string, concentrate on keeping it in the same position - you do not move it all over the string.

When you have finished playing and you are putting your violin away, you should always loosen the tension of the bow hair, and then re-tighten it when you take it out to play again.

By: Bev Woolfson on Sun, Apr 28th 2002

More violin advice

You'll produce the best sound by keeping the bow perpendicular to the strings.

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