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Hi Beth, and all of my fellow violinists,

I've taken a few shots of my bow hold, from different angles. This is in response to a rather cryptic remark from my new teacher  (I've never had a lesson before! Initial signs are that it will be very worthwhile.) He noted the angle of my thumb (tends to be perpendicular to the stick), and the degree to which it bends when holding the bow, but said it'll do.

I expect he'll pick me up on it at a later date, but for now, can anyone comment?

This is how I normally end up holding the bow after a few minutes. I have a problem with my thumb gradually shuffling in the direction of the arrow on picture 5. Is there something I could change that would prevent this?

Also, I'm unclear about the position of the bow stick relative to the creases of the first finger. I was holding it so that the bow was on the pad between the first two creases, nearer to the crease pointed to with an arrow in picture 2, but I can only get my thumb at the angle shown in the photos by placing the stick pretty much in the first crease.

Which is better?

Thanks for looking!

Richard B

8 Responses
Posted: January 25, 2012
Last Comment: January 26, 2012

Posted: January 26, 2012
Thats good to know, thanks Beth. I feel all encouraged now!

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 25, 2012
Excellent flexing, Richard! You have excellent control, and I didn't see any less control when you did the exercises with more space between the fingers. The reason for the space, is to better balance the bow in your hand while playing. . Each end of the hand exercises control on each side of the bow. So, the higher your first finger is on the stick, the more leverage you'll have, and the closer your pinky is to the screw, the more counter leverage you'll have for bouncing bow techniques like spiccato. I'm not saying at all to widen your grip to try and extend coverage. What you are doing at the end of the video looks perfect.

Posted: January 25, 2012
This discussion includes members-only video content

This is my video clip of my finger flexing, hopefully.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 25, 2012
I say, whichever feels better. There will always be slight differences in everyone's bow grip, anyway. Considering some fantastic players can have unorthodox bow grips, I think yours is completely on target. Just keep working for that small motor control. I don't see a video yet. Would love to. Be sure and click the link at the top of the Community page to see how to embed a video, in case you run into trouble. 

Posted: January 25, 2012
Thanks Beth!

The reason my fingers end up so close together is that it seems to enable me to flex my hand a bit more; with the fingers set wider I have what feels like only a very small range of movement in them. When I try and do finger flexing  exercizes, my grip on the bow loosens, the thumb travels, and the little finger loses contact. I may be flexing my hand too far, or in the wrong way, or it may just be old and inflexible!

I've (hopefully ) embedded a video to show what I mean, and also, here are 2 photos to show my 2 thumb/ forefinger positions; which of these is correct?


Filthy bowhairs, I know! Its a spare spare bow.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: January 25, 2012
Generally speaking, you have a nice bow grip. The first thing I noticed, was that your fingers seem a little cramped. If you shake your hand out, and lay your fingers back on the stick, there should be a little more space between them. Your thumb angle will be perfect, if you also relax the circle just a bit. Although I talk about making a circle with your thumb and curved middle finger, there is leeway. It can be more ovular. The contact point with the first finger looks great, but in the very last picture, it looks to have moved up a bit (in the direction of the base knuckle). Thank you for sharing the photos!

Posted: January 25, 2012
This is what I meant about the thumb angle and first finger contact point being in the first crease. I promise, no more photographs!

Posted: January 25, 2012
I pressed reply too soon!

Thats all of them, I think. Ta!