My bow is crooked when playing fast????

September 24, 2016 at 02:14 PM · So when I play legato, I have a very nice and straight bow arm. But when I start to play a fast passage, my bow starts going very crooked...

Does anyone know how to keep bow straight even when playing fast?

Replies (8)

September 24, 2016 at 03:15 PM · Stay off the whisky ...

September 24, 2016 at 03:16 PM · Practice. And less whisky (more for Peter and myself!)

September 24, 2016 at 03:43 PM · Practice, and a flexible pinky and stable fingers.

However, the bow can be a bit crooked (within reason) with no ill effect, esp. if you have shorter arms like I do.

September 24, 2016 at 04:42 PM · Try a shorter bow (about 2" shorter) such as a late Baroque replica - the sort of bow that would have been familiar to Haydn and Mozart. I love both mine for almost all my violin playing.

September 24, 2016 at 09:53 PM · Practice will not get you there. You need to find what you are doing wrong first, and then find an exercise that will fix this problem.

Chances are you are not using your fingers and\or wrist when you are bowing fast. You need to have these finger movement down first:

And there are other exercises also; a teacher should help you with that. I don't teach these bowings to my beginner students, but I do teach them the finger and wrist movements in their first month of lessons.

September 25, 2016 at 12:24 AM · There is a relationship between arm length and the angle the violin should point to your left. Be sure you are holding things properly for YOUR personal physique.

September 25, 2016 at 04:19 PM · Such interesting advice. One says to just use a shorter bow, and one says practice won't do it.

Naturally it assumes proper finger action, but even when doing everything correctly, it still takes 2 things: 1. courage 2. practice.

Most students have a particular weakness or discomfort in the last few inches at the frog, where bow angle can also go amuck.

And many students have perfectly good technique, including finger action, but they don't have the courage to use those large muscle movements.

A methodical approach of using longer and faster bows will eventually do the job, but you have to carefully monitor what you're doing, including the use of a mirror.

Perfecting your bow arm for this may be most effective if you take a break from everything else, except perhaps scales. Once your focus is turned away from your bow arm, you'll revert back to bad habits.

September 26, 2016 at 01:38 PM · My advice may not help your problem. I was thinking fast 1/16 notes, but I think what you are talking about is fast, full bowed 1/4 notes.

Fast 1/16th notes require a lot of finger movement and very little wrist and arm movement; whereas, fast 1/4 notes require a lot of wrist and arm movement with very little finger movements(general rule of thumb).

Scott, I find the concepts, "practice, practice, practice" ,or "just practice more" flawed. My concept is: analyze, exercises, create exercises, create variations and "commit to it." Repeating the same movements over and over again is a very slow, tedious and poor way to practice.


Play full bow stroke double-stops(use a mute for ear protection). Start slow then increase speed over time.

Bow at different angles, and then go back to straight(do this with your eyes closed at times or using a mirror). Start slow, then increase speed.

4 strokes || (parallel with bridge)

4 strokes |\ (at an angle with bridge)

4 stroke ||

4 strokes |/ (at an angle with bridge)

repeat :

Bow using different dynamics(weight) in different spots of the bow and a different speeds.

Bow using different elbow heights, and then bow 'while' moving the elbow higher or lower.

Practice lifting the bow off at tip and frog or areas that don't feel right. Practice this at slow and fast speeds.


The more variations and exercises you can think of the better, or you can say the quicker you will advance.

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