Is my bow grip off, or is it just the bow?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Basschair, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Hi all,

    I'll get right to it: in louder passages, I find myself really leaning on the bow which causes a lot of stress in my hand (especially the thumb) and wrist. What am I doing wrong? Am I using my hand too much and not the upper arm? Or, is the bow (Ary 500 French) not stiff enough, and therefore not giving me the proper leverage?


  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    There are 3 variables in bowing:
    1. sounding point
    2. bowspeed
    3. arm weight

    You need to have the first 2 in place before you add any arm weight to the bow. If you are adding more than the weight of your arm then you are putting too much pressure on the string and choking the sound. When playing forte you also need to stay as close to the frog as much as possible. Good sticky rosin also helps. I get the biggest sound when I am on the correct sounding point and using a good amount of bowspeed and putting what feels like 25% of my arm weight into the string.
  3. The direction in which you apply the weight of the arm is critical. The weight in the arm should be directed in a manner that moves the string more horizontally than vertically. I think this is a Rabbath tenet, maybe he has more written about it in his books.