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Fiddling with Darol Anger: How to Hold the Bow

"It's important to be able to play in tune and play all the notes, but if you don't have that nice groove on the bow, then it really is not fiddling." - Darol Anger

Darol Anger knows everything there is to know about how to play the fiddle, so trust him when he says that this is important. Learning how to hold the bow is a perfect thing to learn once you've mastered how to rosin the bow (which is also a fundamental fiddle lesson, so be sure to check out Darol's lesson on that at the link).

Bowing is something that fiddlers work on their entire lives and can be a struggle for many people learning how to fiddle. As one of the "12 Essential Things You Need to Do With Fiddling", Darol has some great tips for you on how to hold the bow. So let's get started!

First of all, make sure your grip on the bow is relaxed. This can be tough for beginner fiddle players, since the way we hold the bow is not exactly a natural intuitive stance. It's something that needs to be practiced, so take some time to get the proper positioning going on the fiddle and the bow. But once you get the proper position, try to relax your grip on the bow so it feels more comfortable.

Here's something to keep in mind - don't spread your fingers out on the bow in an effort to control it. Although it may feel like the way to control the bow, you're going to limit your flexibility when you're playing - and it's not a flexible grip. Here's a better one instead:

how to hold the bowPretend like you're checking your watch, and tilt your forearm over. This will help to fix your gip on the bow. Just think: "Oh, it's time to fix my bow grip!". 

As your arm tilts over you can see that your hand wraps around the bow, with the little finger being ready to counter balance the bow if it needs to (note: it doesn't mean that your pinky is always on the bow, just "ready for action").

Why do we tilt the arm like this? So our wrist can go in the same motion as the bow when you're playing, and it's important that the wrist stays flexible. It also enables you to play fast much easier, because you don't need to move your whole arm with the bow. When you tilt your arm over and keep your wrist relaxed and comfortable, you'll be able to fast with hardly moving your wrist at all. Plus, it's just much more fun to play fiddle with a relaxed grip on the bow - and having fun is what fiddling is all about, just ask Darol!

 

Watch Darol's Free Fiddle Lessons

Fiddle Lessons with Darol Anger

 

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