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My arco is jumpy

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by ToR-Tu-Ra, Dec 19, 2005.


  1. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    Hello! So I'm not going to have any classes till next year and I hav a little (big) problem. My bowing is jumpy, I can't find a better way to describe it. Specially when I'm pulling the bow, the tip seems to jump on the string. I've tried several things to correct it: Loosen the bow hair, apply as less weight on the bow as possible, changing the angle of the bow. All seem to work partially but my arco is still jumpy. This is driving me mad because I can read and understand exercises but cannot play them because of the bow. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Scroller

    Scroller

    Jul 16, 2005
    Try to keep the bow parallel to the ground as much as possible and the hair flat on the string. I play German bow and a previous teacher told me to imagine I was drawing back a bowling ball. This seemed to help me and I imagine the concept is the same if you play French bow...
     
  3. Try Playing a little closer to the bridge, relax your arm more, and check out Zimmerman's contemporary concept of bowing book.
     
  4. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    Thanks! I'll try all of that and see how it goes. I forgot to mention it, yes I play french bow.
     
  5. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    NH
    Builder: ThorBass
    ...and less coffee
     
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't playing alot of long tones help skipping issues too? Open strings, scales, etc., just lots of long tones.
     
  7. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    That's what I'm doing. Looooooooooooooong notes, half and whole notes at 50-60 bmp, my metronome doesn't go any slower than that. It helps but It still skips. I know I need more practise but I just feel theres something missing in my technique that's causing the bow to skip.

    And yes, I'll stop drinking coffee. ;)
     
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I'd go see your teacher. :rolleyes: :)

    I think it could any one of many things (bow speed, too much or too little arm weight, angle of bow, angle of strings, bow placement, stiff arm, stiff wrist, bad grip, etc. etc.) IMO, it seems that I play best when there's the right balance of bow speed, weigh and the most relaxation I can get along with proper form and technique.

    You do have a teacher, don't you? Arco without a teacher is like beating your head against the wall.
     
  9. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    LOL

    Yes I do have a teacher but I won't be seeing him till after the holidays and I really want to get this down ASAP so I can move on ahead with some other exercises. Oh well... I think I'll just keep bowing long notes up and down Gmaj scale and try different bowing angles, speed, weight, etc etc... :bawl:
     
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I feel your pain buddy. I'm sorta in that situation too as my bass can get real scratchy/squeaky when I do arco if my technique is a touch off. I just kept practicing and kept everything in mind that was already mention as well as try to be as aware as possible about what i'm doing and my form. I had some minor skipping problems when I first started but eventually I just worked that problem out of my system. Come to think of it, I worked out that my skipping problem by practicing in front of a mirror. I do that alot now.

    I know for a fact that one of my problems was that I wasn't bowing in the same spot within a single stroke. For example, as I did a downstroke on the bow, the spot where the hair contacts the strings would slide up or down. I had everything else "right" tho; speed, angle, weight, relaxation, grip, etc... I wasn't able to spot this problem unless I played in front of a mirror. Play in front of a mirror and see if you can solve your own problem.
     
  11. You might consider the amount and/or type of rosin used. It might be that you have too much on (or too sticky), and possibly also have not applied it evenly.

    Also does this skipping happen at the beginning of a down bow (at the frog) or near the end of a down bow (near the tip)? is it consistent in where or when it occurs?
     
  12. Raise your elbow as you get closer to the tip. The added weight will keep it from jumping.
     
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Similarly. From a Ray Brown/John Clayton video I've seen recently, Clayton suggests to to add more weight with your fingers as you reach the tip of the bow, and to lighten up when you get toward the frog. This is to compensate for the lack of weight the further out towards the tip. Helped me a bunch, but it doesn't address the skipping problem to me.
     
  14. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    Thanks! I'll look into all of that. I got that same problem, not bowing in the same part of the sting within a stroke. I'll get myself a nice big mirror if I can. And that raising the elbow and adding weight at the tip thing sounds good. Thanks a bunch! I don't know what I would do without you guys. At the risk of sounding gay: I love you all!
     
  15. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    How long have you been playing with the bow? Sounds like your hand isn't conditioned i.e. wrong grip or too hard of a grip or both.
     
  16. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    OK UPDATE!!!

    I've tried all (i think) of what you guys kindly suggested: bowing closer to the bridge, lifting my elbow, bowing at the same spot the whole stroke. And guess what? I think it's working. Thanks Jason I'll try to slow down waaaay down, hope I don't fall asleep half way into the downbow ;) . Sorry, I'm very impatient. The fact that I can read and understand things that I cannot play with the bow just gets to me. Thanks for all your replies, I'll keep on practicing and let you guys know my improvements (or lack of them). I've been trying to stay relaxed and at the same time keep an even pressure on the string all the way to the tip and back. It's not easy but I think it's working. Any more tips are very welcome :D
     
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Make sure that your right shoulder is relaxed and that the bow is loose in your hand, the hair perpendicular to the strings and your bow speed is consistent and intentional. Also take note that the hair should track in the same place, only wandering if you mean it.
     
  18. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I need to work on the speed thing. The rest I think I already got it down in my mind while playing, just need to make it come out "automatically".
     
  19. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    what does track mean in this context?
     
  20. ...that the point on the string where the bow-hair moves accross it stays the same, moving niether up nor down the string?