Bow Holds and How They Affect the Sound of the Violin


The bow hold is an important part of learning to play the violin. Correct bow holds can produce beautiful tone, ease, and agility to playing.   It also can create different colors & emotion. Today we will learn about various bow holds and tips on how to create a bow hold that will set you up for success.

Hi, I'm Melodie with the Violin Practice Partner, and I've been teaching violin for 25 years. It's my mission to help light the world through music by helping children learn to play the violin, while also gaining confidence, learning important life skills, and improving their academic achievement.

There are two common bow holds, the Russian Bow Grip and the Franco-Belgian Bow Grip.

Russian Bow Grip
In the Russian Bow Grip, the hand is extremely pronated, with fingers close together and the wrist up. This grip can allow for a lot of bow speed.

Franco-Belgian Bow Grip
In the Franco-Belgian Bow Grip, the middle finger is held opposite the thumb. The thumb is slightly curved, but not locked. The index and ring fingers are resting lightly on the bow, evenly spaced. The pinky is resting on top, slightly curved. This grip gives the violinist more control, and the pressure comes from the natural weight of the arm.

Bow placement
Ideally, the bow should be placed in the middle between the fingerboard and the bridge. You want to have just enough tension and just enough give. Not too much of either one or the sound won’t be right.

Bow speed and pressure
Bow speed simply refers to how fast you move the bow, and the pressure is how much you press the bow onto the string. The less pressure you use, the slower your movement, and the sound will be good. If you’re using more pressure, you’re going to need to move faster to avoid sounding scratchy.

I hope this post encouraged you to learn more about bow grips and the effect the grip can have on the sound made from the violin. Let me know if you have any other questions. I can’t wait to see you again next week!


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