Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

"Chattering" down bows?


Recommended Posts

Whenever I play a long down bow my bow starts to chatter across the strings when it gets into the upper third of it. Most of the time vibrato can sort of cover it but this big flaw is really irritating.

I play with a Coda Classic and when I play other bows the problem is not so bad but still present, so it makes me think that it isn't just my bow (although it is worse on the Coda).

Help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

: Without being able to see you play, I'd have to guess that:

: (1) You have the bow hair too tight.

I have tried different tensions.

: (2) You are holding the bow "too square" - more like a typical cello bow hold than a violin bowhold.

Too "square?"

: (3) You are holding the bow too tight.

I'll try relaxing a little more.

: (4) You are shaking a little.

No, I try to pull the bow very smoothly. It almost feels like the bouncing starts at the base of the bow, it is almost like the way that you crack a whip, you can feel it developing in the beginning of the bow stroke even though it is smooth on the string and then it reaches a point and just bounces again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(1) How loose have you tried the hair?

No more than a pinkey width from the stick?

(2) A good Russian violin-bow hold would put the pinkey tip on the bow and curved (concave) a little and the index finger somewhere between the second and third (palm) joint. This would give some extra force to the stick from the weight of the index finger side of the hand with no extra effort on your part and might tend to overcome chatter if it develops - or at least give you a "power point" to work it out.

(3) Like you said.

(4) OK - maybe you got one of the Codabows that's not so good. I've heard of it WRT a Coda cello bow (I think it was the weight of the frog causing the problem). Can you get a second opinion on the bow - how much does it weigh? How much pressure are you applying to the bow? My own violin Codabow is quite satisfactory - although I have a couple of other bows I prefer for one reason or another - but a number that are worse (for me).

Finally, if your bowing is "going crooked" - that is, not perpendicular to the strings in the upper half, this common flaw can cause this "chattering" problem and other bad sounds and it is much worse with some violins than others and some bows, as well, can be more forgiving than others.

--If everything else is OK then it sounds like what the engineers call "positive feedback" in that a vibration that should be damped is in fact growing. The fact that this happens with all your bows, to some degree, might indicate it is related in some way to the violin - perhaps the strings you are using or the setup??? Can you find someone else to try it out also?

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

: (1) How loose have you tried the hair?

: No more than a pinkey width from the stick?

Yeah I loosened it pretty good.

: (2) A good Russian violin-bow hold would put the pinkey tip on the bow and curved (concave) a little and the index finger somewhere between the second and third (palm) joint. This would give some extra force to the stick from the weight of the index finger side of the hand with no extra effort on your part and might tend to overcome chatter if it develops - or at least give you a "power point" to work it out.

So you're saying that I should put a little more weight on my index finger by bending my pinky more? By "convex" you mean that the last knuckle should be bent away from the floor, right?

: (3) Like you said.

I don't quite understand what "square" means in relation to a bow hold. (Sorry)

: (4) OK - maybe you got one of the Codabows that's not so good. I've heard of it WRT a Coda cello bow (I think it was the weight of the frog causing the problem). Can you get a second opinion on the bow - how much does it weigh? How much pressure are you applying to the bow? My own violin Codabow is quite satisfactory - although I have a couple of other bows I prefer for one reason or another - but a number that are worse (for me).

The problem with the Codabow is quite worse than with my other bows. I got a new grip put on it, a thicker lizard skin one, I blew right through the original. I put a glob of fun-tack on the tip to see if the new grip was the problem (although the prob. developed long after I got it done). I have an early model of a Codabow so I don't know if it has anything to do with it.

I try not to put too much weight on the bow, I am thinking of drawing the bow smoothly across the strings when I play.

: Finally, if your bowing is "going crooked" - that is, not perpendicular to the strings in the upper half, this common flaw can cause this "chattering" problem and other bad sounds and it is much worse with some violins than others and some bows, as well, can be more forgiving than others.

This has been a bit of a problem for me for as long as I have played. Could that little axial rotation be causing the problem?

: --If everything else is OK then it sounds like what the engineers call "positive feedback" in that a vibration that should be damped is in fact growing. The fact that this happens with all your bows, to some degree, might indicate it is related in some way to the violin - perhaps the strings you are using or the setup??? Can you find someone else to try it out also?

I'll have a fiddle buddy of mine try it when I see him next, good idea. I use steel strings.

Another note, I just had lunch with a fiddle friend and he said that he had a similar problem and his professor told him that he needed to discribe an arc with the frog when bowing. Pull the bow a bit towards you and then push it a little away and the end of the stroke while keeping a continuous arc. Sound good?

Sometimes, after I have been playing for more than an hour, the problem goes away and I cannot figure out what it is that I am doing differently when this happens.

Thanks a lot for your help, I promise I'll go home and try this stuff out.

This is a really frustrating and quasi-depressing situation, not being able to play long notes cleanly is like being a painter whose brushes can't hold green: you can still paint but it just ain't as pretty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

: : (1) How loose have you tried the hair?

: : No more than a pinkey width from the stick?

: Yeah I loosened it pretty good.

OK (Andy)

: : (2) A good Russian violin-bow hold would put the pinkey tip on the bow and curved (concave) a little and the index finger somewhere between the second and third (palm) joint. This would give some extra force to the stick from the weight of the index finger side of the hand with no extra effort on your part and might tend to overcome chatter if it develops - or at least give you a "power point" to work it out.

: So you're saying that I should put a little more weight on my index finger by bending my pinky more? By "convex" you mean that the last knuckle should be bent away from the floor, right?

I JUST MEAN THE PINKEY SHOULD BE BENT THAT WAY INSTEAD OF STRAIGHT OR THE OTHER WAY. (Andy)

: : (3) Like you said.

: I don't quite understand what "square" means in relation to a bow hold. (Sorry)

THIS WAS THE COMMENT ABOUT HOLDING THE BOW TOO TIGHT. SQUARE IS THAT ALL KNUCKLES ARE ABOUT EQUIDISTANT FROM THE STICK, AS WITH CELLO BOWS. (Andy)

: : (4) OK - maybe you got one of the Codabows that's not so good. I've heard of it WRT a Coda cello bow (I think it was the weight of the frog causing the problem). Can you get a second opinion on the bow - how much does it weigh? How much pressure are you applying to the bow? My own violin Codabow is quite satisfactory - although I have a couple of other bows I prefer for one reason or another - but a number that are worse (for me).

: The problem with the Codabow is quite worse than with my other bows. I got a new grip put on it, a thicker lizard skin one, I blew right through the original. I put a glob of fun-tack on the tip to see if the new grip was the problem (although the prob. developed long after I got it done). I have an early model of a Codabow so I don't know if it has anything to do with it.

MY CODABOW IS ABOUT 2+ YEARS OLD (IS THAT OLDER? TOO) BUT IF YOU HAVE WORN THROUGH THE GRIP YOU MUST BE HOLDING IT PRETTY TIGHTLY.(Andy)

: I try not to put too much weight on the bow, I am thinking of drawing the bow smoothly across the strings when I play.

THAT'S GOOD! (Andy)

: : Finally, if your bowing is "going crooked" - that is, not perpendicular to the strings in the upper half, this common flaw can cause this "chattering" problem and other bad sounds and it is much worse with some violins than others and some bows, as well, can be more forgiving than others.

: This has been a bit of a problem for me for as long as I have played. Could that little axial rotation be causing the problem?

IT SURE COULD! TO BOW CORRECTLY YOU HAVE TO USE WRIST MOTION AND FINGER FLEXING TO BE SURE THAT THE BOW KEEPS GOING STRAIGHT. PRACTICE OPEN STRINGS AND WHOLE-BOW SCALES WATCHING YOURSELF FROM THE SIDE IN A MIRROR. KEEP THAT BOW STRAIGHT ALL THE WAY

:

: : --If everything else is OK then it sounds like what the engineers call "positive feedback" in that a vibration that should be damped is in fact growing. The fact that this happens with all your bows, to some degree, might indicate it is related in some way to the violin - perhaps the strings you are using or the setup??? Can you find someone else to try it out also?

: I'll have a fiddle buddy of mine try it when I see him next, good idea. I use steel strings.

: Another note, I just had lunch with a fiddle friend and he said that he had a similar problem and his professor told him that he needed to discribe an arc with the frog when bowing. Pull the bow a bit towards you and then push it a little away and the end of the stroke while keeping a continuous arc. Sound good?

SOUNDS BACKWARDS TO ME. TRY USING A MIRROR TO BE SURE THE BOW REMAINS PRETTY MUCH PERPENDICULAR TO THE STRINGS. ALSO BE SURE THAT THE AMOUNT OF ROSIN IS RIGHT - NOT TOO MUCH AND THAT WHEN YOU RUG A CLEANING CLOTH ON THE STRINGS BEFORE YOU PLAY THEY DO NOT SQUEAK. THE RIGH ARM SHOULD MOVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE RELATIVE TO THE VIOLIN AND YOUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT. WHAT YOUR ARM, HAND, AND FINGERS SHOULD DO WITH RESPECT TO YOUR BODY REALLY DEPENDS ON THE SIZE OF THE RELEVENT BODY PARTS. (Andy)

: Sometimes, after I have been playing for more than an hour, the problem goes away and I cannot figure out what it is that I am doing differently when this happens.

: Thanks a lot for your help, I promise I'll go home and try this stuff out.

: This is a really frustrating and quasi-depressing situation, not being able to play long notes cleanly is like being a painter whose brushes can't hold green: you can still paint but it just ain't as pretty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

: : : (1) How loose have you tried the hair?

: : : No more than a pinkey width from the stick?

: : Yeah I loosened it pretty good.

: OK (Andy)

: : : (2) A good Russian violin-bow hold would put the pinkey tip on the bow and curved (concave) a little and the index finger somewhere between the second and third (palm) joint. This would give some extra force to the stick from the weight of the index finger side of the hand with no extra effort on your part and might tend to overcome chatter if it develops - or at least give you a "power point" to work it out.

: : So you're saying that I should put a little more weight on my index finger by bending my pinky more? By "convex" you mean that the last knuckle should be bent away from the floor, right?

: I JUST MEAN THE PINKEY SHOULD BE BENT THAT WAY INSTEAD OF STRAIGHT OR THE OTHER WAY. (Andy)

**OK, should I concentrate on keeping it down? Sometimes it gets kinda of floaty.

: : : (3) Like you said.

: : I don't quite understand what "square" means in relation to a bow hold. (Sorry)

: THIS WAS THE COMMENT ABOUT HOLDING THE BOW TOO TIGHT. SQUARE IS THAT ALL KNUCKLES ARE ABOUT EQUIDISTANT FROM THE STICK, AS WITH CELLO BOWS. (Andy)

**No, no, I kinda drape my fingers over the bow at an angle, they kinda curl around the bow like a snake on a stick. Is that Russian?

: : : (4) OK - maybe you got one of the Codabows that's not so good. I've heard of it WRT a Coda cello bow (I think it was the weight of the frog causing the problem). Can you get a second opinion on the bow - how much does it weigh? How much pressure are you applying to the bow? My own violin Codabow is quite satisfactory - although I have a couple of other bows I prefer for one reason or another - but a number that are worse (for me).

: : The problem with the Codabow is quite worse than with my other bows. I got a new grip put on it, a thicker lizard skin one, I blew right through the original. I put a glob of fun-tack on the tip to see if the new grip was the problem (although the prob. developed long after I got it done). I have an early model of a Codabow so I don't know if it has anything to do with it.

: MY CODABOW IS ABOUT 2+ YEARS OLD (IS THAT OLDER? TOO) BUT IF YOU HAVE WORN THROUGH THE GRIP YOU MUST BE HOLDING IT PRETTY TIGHTLY.(Andy)

**My Coda is even older. I got it used. Do they go "bad" after a while?

: : I try not to put too much weight on the bow, I am thinking of drawing the bow smoothly across the strings when I play.

: THAT'S GOOD! (Andy)

: : : Finally, if your bowing is "going crooked" - that is, not perpendicular to the strings in the upper half, this common flaw can cause this "chattering" problem and other bad sounds and it is much worse with some violins than others and some bows, as well, can be more forgiving than others.

: : This has been a bit of a problem for me for as long as I have played. Could that little axial rotation be causing the problem?

: IT SURE COULD! TO BOW CORRECTLY YOU HAVE TO USE WRIST MOTION AND FINGER FLEXING TO BE SURE THAT THE BOW KEEPS GOING STRAIGHT. PRACTICE OPEN STRINGS AND WHOLE-BOW SCALES WATCHING YOURSELF FROM THE SIDE IN A MIRROR. KEEP THAT BOW STRAIGHT ALL THE WAY

**Yeah, I really notice the problem when I am doing my scales when I warm up to play. I'll focus on the bow more now.

: :

: : : --If everything else is OK then it sounds like what the engineers call "positive feedback" in that a vibration that should be damped is in fact growing. The fact that this happens with all your bows, to some degree, might indicate it is related in some way to the violin - perhaps the strings you are using or the setup??? Can you find someone else to try it out also?

: : I'll have a fiddle buddy of mine try it when I see him next, good idea. I use steel strings.

: : Another note, I just had lunch with a fiddle friend and he said that he had a similar problem and his professor told him that he needed to discribe an arc with the frog when bowing. Pull the bow a bit towards you and then push it a little away and the end of the stroke while keeping a continuous arc. Sound good?

: SOUNDS BACKWARDS TO ME. TRY USING A MIRROR TO BE SURE THE BOW REMAINS PRETTY MUCH PERPENDICULAR TO THE STRINGS.

**Maybe by trying to describe an arc that is opposite to the tendency to pull the bow toward you at the end of the stroke would cancel out the crookedness of the bow?

ALSO BE SURE THAT THE AMOUNT OF ROSIN IS RIGHT - NOT TOO MUCH AND THAT WHEN YOU RUG A CLEANING CLOTH ON THE STRINGS BEFORE YOU PLAY THEY DO NOT SQUEAK.

**No, I only rosin every couple of days. I use Kolstein if that means anything.

THE RIGH ARM SHOULD MOVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE RELATIVE TO THE VIOLIN AND YOUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT. WHAT YOUR ARM, HAND, AND FINGERS SHOULD DO WITH RESPECT TO YOUR BODY REALLY DEPENDS ON THE SIZE OF THE RELEVENT BODY PARTS. (Andy)

: : Sometimes, after I have been playing for more than an hour, the problem goes away and I cannot figure out what it is that I am doing differently when this happens.

: : Thanks a lot for your help, I promise I'll go home and try this stuff out.

: : This is a really frustrating and quasi-depressing situation, not being able to play long notes cleanly is like being a painter whose brushes can't hold green: you can still paint but it just ain't as pretty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

: : : (1) How loose have you tried the hair?

: : : No more than a pinkey width from the stick?

: : Yeah I loosened it pretty good.

: OK (Andy)

: : : (2) A good Russian violin-bow hold would put the pinkey tip on the bow and curved (concave) a little and the index finger somewhere between the second and third (palm) joint. This would give some extra force to the stick from the weight of the index finger side of the hand with no extra effort on your part and might tend to overcome chatter if it develops - or at least give you a "power point" to work it out.

: : So you're saying that I should put a little more weight on my index finger by bending my pinky more? By "convex" you mean that the last knuckle should be bent away from the floor, right?

: I JUST MEAN THE PINKEY SHOULD BE BENT THAT WAY INSTEAD OF STRAIGHT OR THE OTHER WAY. (Andy)

: : : (3) Like you said.

: : I don't quite understand what "square" means in relation to a bow hold. (Sorry)

: THIS WAS THE COMMENT ABOUT HOLDING THE BOW TOO TIGHT. SQUARE IS THAT ALL KNUCKLES ARE ABOUT EQUIDISTANT FROM THE STICK, AS WITH CELLO BOWS. (Andy)

: : : (4) OK - maybe you got one of the Codabows that's not so good. I've heard of it WRT a Coda cello bow (I think it was the weight of the frog causing the problem). Can you get a second opinion on the bow - how much does it weigh? How much pressure are you applying to the bow? My own violin Codabow is quite satisfactory - although I have a couple of other bows I prefer for one reason or another - but a number that are worse (for me).

: : The problem with the Codabow is quite worse than with my other bows. I got a new grip put on it, a thicker lizard skin one, I blew right through the original. I put a glob of fun-tack on the tip to see if the new grip was the problem (although the prob. developed long after I got it done). I have an early model of a Codabow so I don't know if it has anything to do with it.

: MY CODABOW IS ABOUT 2+ YEARS OLD (IS THAT OLDER? TOO) BUT IF YOU HAVE WORN THROUGH THE GRIP YOU MUST BE HOLDING IT PRETTY TIGHTLY.(Andy)

: : I try not to put too much weight on the bow, I am thinking of drawing the bow smoothly across the strings when I play.

: THAT'S GOOD! (Andy)

: : : Finally, if your bowing is "going crooked" - that is, not perpendicular to the strings in the upper half, this common flaw can cause this "chattering" problem and other bad sounds and it is much worse with some violins than others and some bows, as well, can be more forgiving than others.

: : This has been a bit of a problem for me for as long as I have played. Could that little axial rotation be causing the problem?

: IT SURE COULD! TO BOW CORRECTLY YOU HAVE TO USE WRIST MOTION AND FINGER FLEXING TO BE SURE THAT THE BOW KEEPS GOING STRAIGHT. PRACTICE OPEN STRINGS AND WHOLE-BOW SCALES WATCHING YOURSELF FROM THE SIDE IN A MIRROR. KEEP THAT BOW STRAIGHT ALL THE WAY

: :

: : : --If everything else is OK then it sounds like what the engineers call "positive feedback" in that a vibration that should be damped is in fact growing. The fact that this happens with all your bows, to some degree, might indicate it is related in some way to the violin - perhaps the strings you are using or the setup??? Can you find someone else to try it out also?

: : I'll have a fiddle buddy of mine try it when I see him next, good idea. I use steel strings.

: : Another note, I just had lunch with a fiddle friend and he said that he had a similar problem and his professor told him that he needed to discribe an arc with the frog when bowing. Pull the bow a bit towards you and then push it a little away and the end of the stroke while keeping a continuous arc. Sound good?

: SOUNDS BACKWARDS TO ME. TRY USING A MIRROR TO BE SURE THE BOW REMAINS PRETTY MUCH PERPENDICULAR TO THE STRINGS. ALSO BE SURE THAT THE AMOUNT OF ROSIN IS RIGHT - NOT TOO MUCH AND THAT WHEN YOU RUG A CLEANING CLOTH ON THE STRINGS BEFORE YOU PLAY THEY DO NOT SQUEAK. THE RIGH ARM SHOULD MOVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE RELATIVE TO THE VIOLIN AND YOUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT. WHAT YOUR ARM, HAND, AND FINGERS SHOULD DO WITH RESPECT TO YOUR BODY REALLY DEPENDS ON THE SIZE OF THE RELEVENT BODY PARTS. (Andy)

: : Sometimes, after I have been playing for more than an hour, the problem goes away and I cannot figure out what it is that I am doing differently when this happens.

: : Thanks a lot for your help, I promise I'll go home and try this stuff out.

: : This is a really frustrating and quasi-depressing situation, not being able to play long notes cleanly is like being a painter whose brushes can't hold green: you can still paint but it just ain't as pretty.

Frustrated-The bow arm is the weaker area of my technical machinery as a violinist but my bow arm doesn't shake...usually:-) and I think I know why yours does.

I think it has a lot to do with not releasing the arm weight into the bow. I would guess that your elbow is too high and weight can not be correctly distributed into the bow arm. Please always remeber that is WEIGHT not pressure that is the force in producing sound with the bow. Controling the shifting of the weight, such as on down bows and up bows, is the hard part.

If your pulling a down bow stroke on the A string, make sure the elbow is pointing down. Instead of starting your stroke at the frog, start about a forth away. Check your arm to make sure that the forearm and upper arm form a right angle at the elbow. Now that your there, release all pressure from the shoulder. As you start your stroke, move the the upper arm down and back until it's parrallel with your body. At that point, go out with the bow meaning extend the forearm out,still keeping the elbow DOWN, don't let it come up. This should help your stroke a bit. As far as vibrato covering up the shaking of your bow, please remember that the left hand should strive for independency from the right hand and the vice versa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing you might want to check is to make sure that you're not relying on your right-hand index finger alone to put weight into the bow--it helped my sound immensely when I started concentrating on using both the index and the second (middle) to transfer weight from my arm to the bow. There are some useful exercises regarding that in Simon Fischer's _Basics_ you might want to check out. Hope this helps.

Trent Hill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had the exact same experience that you are having. What I found to help was keeping the bow straight, minimizing tension, and using as much of the bow's weight as possible (and thus as little force from my hand/arm as possible).

But to add, I think what made the biggest difference was keeping the fingers relaxed enough so that every finger contributed to the bow's position and the bow force, and so that fingers weren't working against each other. Pay attention to what each finger is doing; move the bow around so that you can feel the pressure and movement of the individual fingers. Thumb too.

I also have a Codabow, and it also liked to bounce around. It might be because it's just not a heavier bow (it's not light, but it's not heavy either). But my problem has pretty much gone away by now, and the bow hasn't changed (hasn't even had a rehair since then), so I'm sure it's not the bow but the technique. I must say that I'm very happy with the bow--it performs rather well.

Good luck!

Victor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...