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Fist bow hold! -


Andy Pollow
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Hey - Im trying different things with the bow hold. This question is seriouse - Im not kidding around! I tried grabbing the bow in a "fist" hold - I was really only joking around with it but it feels like a neat way to use a bow. It seems easier to hold it, it dosent wear my hand out to hold it that way, and all of the movement feels really smooth like that. Is there a reason you guys dont hold your bow with a fist? You know those rubber grips that you put on bicycle handle bars? Maybe it would be nice to put one of those on the end of the bow somehow and grab that with your hand for a bow hold. Im sure you must have some reason for not holding it that way. I dont know much about the bow.

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Yeah, I've tried it too and it just didn't feel right. Maybe that's because I've been playing for 4 years (I know that's not very long). I think the reason we hold the bow like we do is because the amount of weight and pressure used by the index finger affects the tone of the violin. You can't control it that well with the fist.

Katie

P.S. I DO hold the bow in a fist when I pizzacato and I pluck the actual string with my middle finger. Is that really wrong??

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Hi,

Holding your bow like that may feel good, but it is totally wrong. :) As you progress, you need supreme wrist dexterity to pull off tricky bow techniques. And as Katie said, having that flexibility does affect your tone.

Kreisler13

P.S. Katie, your pizz bow technique is not wrong at all, however, from what I have seen and done, most peopel pluck with their index finger instead of their middle finger.

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Actually we have been experimenting with a modified fist bow hold with very young beginners. It keeps them from pronating or pressing down on the index finger and promotes use of the big muscles. It is so very frustrating to try to get a 3 or 4 year old to "curve their pinky" on top of the bow and this seems to be much less frustrating at the beginning. They also seem to put more of the weight of the arm into the bow so that the tone isn't coming from the pressing index finger. It helps distribute the weight more evenly across all of the fingers. Of course, we don't keep this bow hold for a long time -- just at the beginning, but so far the results are promising!

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: Sounds great, except, don't old habits die hard?? if you teach kids that little to hold the bow that way, aren't you just paving the road for bad habits later on? Those are just my thoughts, I'm not a teacher.

: Katie

No, because you don't keep the bow hold for that long. In the past we started with the beginner's bow hold with the thumb on the outside of the frog on the clip. Eventually it moved in. Now we are still keeping the thumb on the outside, we just aren't forcing the pinky on top of the bow until a little later. I've found that if you force the pinky on top at the very beginning, it becomes just an exercise in frustration. Many times the pinky wants to go straight and then this causes the index finger to press. This is a far worse habit to break to my way of thinking.

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: Actually we have been experimenting with a modified fist bow hold with very young beginners. It keeps them from pronating or pressing down on the index finger and promotes use of the big muscles. It is so very frustrating to try to get a 3 or 4 year old to "curve their pinky" on top of the bow and this seems to be much less frustrating at the beginning. They also seem to put more of the weight of the arm into the bow so that the tone isn't coming from the pressing index finger. It helps distribute the weight more evenly across all of the fingers. Of course, we don't keep this bow hold for a long time -- just at the beginning, but so far the results are promising!

I'm an old beginner, 15(grin), but I started holding the bow the "proper" way, at least what my teacher told me, and that's how I saw Lord Menuhin holding his bows in his book. After about two days of practising with it it wasn't a problem, so I can't see why not to just start them the right way.

-Jon

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I've been told that Mark O'Connor holds his bow with

his thumb under the frog, maybe something like what

you're describing. He does it 'cause he's self-taught

and didn't know better, says if he were starting over

he'd hold it the classical way -- but he's doesn't do

so bad his way!

Here's an even wilder idea. It seems to me like our

left wrists have to torque rather unnaturally to finger

as we do from the right side of the fingerboard, and I

wonder if we do it that way 'cause viol de gambas and

other violin forerunners were held like cellos, in which

case the left hand position is perfectly natural?

If the whole culture was starting from scratch might

we hold the violin fingerboard from the left? I mentioned

this crazy notion to my teacher and she admitted that

she has a suzuki student, maybe 5 or 6 years old, who

holds the violin exactly that way. She has to keep

re-positioning his (her?) hand. . .

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It seems like it might also be harder to make a straight bow stroke playing fast that way - it moves real smooth at slower speeds. Im trying to think of ways to make bowing technique look cool for heavy metal music - have you ever thought of holding the bow stick in your teeth for right hand pizzacato?! I was thinking if you put a handle on the end of the bow it might look like a sword - bowing already looks cool as it is though. Its important to look good too.

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I just practiced for half an hour using the fist bow hold, and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty!!! Grin. I kept hitting the entirely wrong string, and the bow would go literally 1/2 way out onto the fingerboard. I don't really care how you guys old your bows, but I don't think I'll be doing it that way.

P.S>

I'm sure this is wrong, but I kind of press my thumb against the silver part of the frog. I've been doing it for years, is that right? It hasn't given me any trouble. Thank you for any comments!!

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