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Hurting Thumb when bowing, what am i doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by BerkleeBassGirl, May 13, 2004.

  1. Ok I just switched over to upright bass from electric and i've been studying archo for only a very short time. I am playing a french style bow and its great and all but my thumb kills me only after bowing for a very short while, this can't be good I must be doing something wrong! I mean im sure I am going to have to build up new muscles and all of that but it should not be cramping. Anybody know what I'm doing wrong? Is my grip just too intense? lol
  2. Yeah, don't even think of it as a "grip." You should strive for your hand to be really loose, as if someone could grab the bow out of your hand with no problem while you're playing.

    Also, make sure that the knuckle of your thumb is bending OUT, not in. A caved-in thumb fatigues much quicker, and you're going to need it to be bent out later when you get into stuff like spiccato, etc.

    I have a student about your age who is just starting on the French bow, and I told him to put his thumb underneath the frog, rather than where the frog meets the stick. When it feels loose and comfortable there, move it up.
  3. Thanks a lot! I will try to keep it loose:)...its much better than the sharp shooting pain in my thumb, thats for sure! Thanx again!

  4. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Mike's correct. There an illustration of how the thumb should be on that thread. Good luck and be patient, it takes quite a while to get it right.
  5. I also forgot to mention that you should be using the weight of your arm, rather than any "torque" between your thumb and forefinger, to get the bow into the string.

    I'm sure your teacher is telling you all this stuff, though!
  6. T Sony

    T Sony

    Mar 5, 2004
    The French grip is easy at first, but becomes difficult as you hold it more and more. Relaxing is the key to the French grip, try bowing whole notes on open strings with a metronome set to 60-75 bpm 5 minutes a string. If you find the metronome to cause tense muscles in your hand or arm turn it off and use your judgement.
  7. I gotta agree. I think alot of it is tension, as well. Learning to relax takes time and patience, and seems to be a very intangible concept. Just learn to relax. This is probably my biggest problem in music, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd like to hear them too!