How to Hold a Violin Bow: 3 Easy Steps and 5 Bowing Exercises

The violin bow hold is SO important to let your violin sing
Maybe you just started playing the violin and although you know you have to start with simple songs, you do long to create such a beautiful resonant sound from your violin.

You might have tried to make some bow strokes, but it feels very uncomfortable and all tutorials out there may make your bow hold feel so unnatural.

It can be so frustrating that when your favorite violinist plays, it looks so easy, but for you it’s a struggle. This article will help you get a violin bow hold that feels great and with which your violin playing sounds great.

Let’s look at the violin bow hold from all sides
Before I go into my three easy steps to build a proper antique violins bow hold, let’s first see what it should look like.

Violin bow hold front
You will see that the fingers are curved and over the bow. The hand looks relaxed. The violin bow hold is slightly tilted in the direction of the tip of the bow. The fingers are flexible and can move along the bow strokes like a spring system. In this way you can bow smoothly and create a beautiful sound on the violin.

Pictured is a Franco Belgian bow hold. I will go into Russian vs Franco Belgian further in this article.

Violin bow hold knuckles
The knuckles of the hand are low and in line with the stick of the bow or slightly tilted towards the left.

violin bow hold knuckles
Violin bow hold pinky
The pinky is curved. You will notice that every bow has eight edges (octagonal) at the frog. You don’t place the pinky on the top edge, but the one just before. In that way the pinky doesn’t slip off the bow while playing that easily.

violin bow hold pinky
Violin bow hold from below
The thumb is slightly curved and not locked. It can move along smoothly with the bow strokes.

violin bow hold from below
Violin bow hold thumb
In this violin bow hold from the side you see the placement of the thumb. You don’t push your thumb into the whole of the frog. Instead you let the bow rest on the edge of your thumb nail. The thumb touches the bow just between the thumb leather and the frog.

violin bow hold side
3 EASY Steps to a Perfect Violin Bow Hold
With this step by step guide you’ll find a violin bow hold that works for YOU and your hand, so you can play the violin comfortably and beautifully.

Make sure to hold your violin bow with your left hand while you build up the bow hold with the right hand. In that way you can build up a relaxed violin bow hold without worrying that you drop the bow.

Step 1: Place your fingers relaxed and gently over the violin bow
This is not yet the correct position of your thumb and pinky, but the aim here is to build up a relaxed and proper violin bow hold step by step.

To prevent scratchy and squeaky sounds, it’s extremely important that you let your fingers rest on the violin bow.

The tip of your ring finger should be on the Paris eye.

Your knuckles should be in line with the stick of the violin bow. The fingers should be equally spaced apart and just a little bit.

Step 2: Place your thumb just between the thumb leather and the frog
The violin bow rests just on the edge of your thumb.

The edge of your thumb nail touches the violin bow stick just between the thumb leather and the frog.

You don’t need to push your thumb into the hole of the frog. That would make your bow hold very uncomfortable and tensed.

It’s personal how you place the thumb exactly, depending on the shape of your hand and your violin bow.

Make sure the ball of your thumb feels relaxed. Don’t curve the thumb too much. It should be in a slightly curved natural position.

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