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Violin Bow Hold Thumb

Your violin bow grip, especially your thumb is very important to make good tone with your violin.

We take a careful approach to setting up your thumb to ensure that you get the best sound possible from your violin ( fiddle ).

The right hand needs to stay relaxed. The right hand needs to stay relaxed. That is very important in producing a beautiful sound or tone from your violin ( fiddle ). At every step of setting up your right hand, be sure to keep your mussels relaxed. Remember that the violin bow is not heavy so only use just enough effort to hold it and no more.

Your thumb is the heart of a good bow hand. Most importantly, it needs to stay relaxed and curved. ignore the tendency to lock your thumb. This is a common mistake and can be tricky to ‘unlearn’ later. When you look at your thumb as you hold the violin bow it should look like you are making a cave with your thumb. This rounded shape will help you to keep a relaxed hand and in turn produce a smooth rich tone with your violin ( fiddle ).

In an earlier video which showed how to set up your entire right hand we learned how to make bunny ears. Make two bunny teeth with your middle and ring fingers and place your thumb behind the first knuckle of the two fingers. Be sure to keep the thumb bent. The tip of your thumb should touch both middle and ring fingers behind on the first knuckle.

Get a pencil. We will use a pencil instead of a violin bow for now as the pencil is much lighter than your violin bow. When you are ready, place the pencil inside the bunny’s mouth as we do in the video. Make sure that the thumb contacts the pencil on the thumb’s tip as it is in the video. If you are at school or work and want to practice your violin bow hold, take out a pencil and hold it as if you were holding a bow. The longer your fingers are in the proper violin bow hold posture the more natural it will feel. These exercises are habit-forming. If we can develop a habit of holding the bow properly then your will do it whenever you play the violin ( fiddle ).

When you are ready, replace the pencil with your violin bow. The thumb should contact the bow just in front of the ‘frog.’ Your thumb will be half on the leather lapping and half on the wood of the violin bow. Keep the thumb bent and relaxed. Wrap the bunny teeth or ‘huggers’ about the stick so that the thumb’s tip is very close to the first knuckle of the hugger fingers. Keep everything loose, curved and relaxed.

Next place the pinky finger on the stick. The pinky’s tip should contact the bow and the pinky needs to stay curved and relaxed.

Lastly place the index finger on the stick. The index should contact the bow at around the second knuckle. It may move a little above and below the knuckle as you move your bow up and down, but it should stay relatively close to that knuckle. Keep your index finger curved and relaxed over the violin bow. Be sure not to hook the index finger around the bow. It should just drape over the violin bow lightly.

If you think of the bow as a teeter totter, your index finger will be a person on one end of the teeter totter and your pinky will be the person on the other. Your thumb will be the pivot point between the two. As your hand rotates (like pouring a glass of water) your index finger will press down and your thumb exerts pressure upward. This rotating motion is how we apply pressure into your violin bow and increase the sound.

As I have already said, keeping a curved and relaxed thumb is essential in creating a smooth, rich tone with your violin ( fiddle ).

Nothing can replace lessons with a qualified violin teacher. If anything in these videos contradict what you have been told by your teacher, please follow your teacher’s advice.

Whether you have a teacher or not these video tutorials can help you refine your violin playing. Each video is intended to examine a specific aspect of violin ( fiddle ) playing and explore how you can improve.

You need to practice as often as you can. Consistent, careful practice is the only way to improve on any musical instrument. Try and find a time in your schedule that works for you and stick to it each day. You may prefer practicing your music early or perhaps in the evening. Make a schedule and stick to it. For some people a good idea is to break up the violin practice into two or three segments throughout the day. You may practice scales in the morning, tone production during lunch and songs in the evening. Whatever works for you! Nothing can replace practice time.

Thank you,
Andrew Mercer