Bow Hold Gone Wrong (Closed)

Edited: July 25, 2018, 3:49 PM · I have been using the Russian style bow hold (Heifetz bow hold) for half a year, and suddenly during a recent practice session, the bow grip felt strange and my thumb began touching the bow hair when I bowed. My thumb touches the bow hair and occasionally the bow jumps or bites the string when I bow a down-bow at the frog. My spiccato is also no longer smooth and is difficult to control. Can someone explain to me what has possibly gone wrong? Thank You.

(Edit) The problem was fixed thanks to the wonderful help received from those in this community.

Replies (14)

July 23, 2018, 1:53 PM · Please help.
Edited: July 23, 2018, 1:55 PM · My bow technique in different bow strokes has diminished so much. I need urgent help.
Edited: July 23, 2018, 2:02 PM · Help! I can’t do the sautille bow stroke now!
July 23, 2018, 2:02 PM · My technique is getting ruined!
July 23, 2018, 2:57 PM · What does your teacher say?
July 23, 2018, 3:04 PM · Have you tried using a different bow or getting your bow re-haired.
If you haven't changed anything about your technique and the bow is acting strange I would examine the bow or have your teacher take a look at what's going on with your bow or your technique.
Hair responds differently when it gets old. It doesn't hold rosin as well the hair becomes long and not as resilient. Do you see any differences in the actual stick of the bow? Does anything look like it may have warped.
July 23, 2018, 3:32 PM · Thank you so much for your replies. I haven’t gone to my lesson yet. I got my re-hair about a month or two ago and I didn’t notice any problems. I’ll try to ask my teacher but I’m not sure about it, since I’m using the Russian bow grip as opposed to the common Franco-Belgian bow grip.
July 23, 2018, 3:35 PM · My bow grip seems fine when the bow is still, but when I bow it feels strange, as I am touching my bow hair with my thumb now.
July 24, 2018, 9:28 AM · With a problem like this the first port of call should always be the student's teacher, because the teacher's eyes are needed to see what's gone wrong or isn't going right, and then the teacher will be able to do something about it.

If there is no teacher then a forum like this really needs a photo or two, or ideally even a video, because there is often essential detail in such a problem that is difficult or impossible to put across in words alone.

July 24, 2018, 2:01 PM · If you had switched to the Russian hold just recently then the answer would be easy; the old technique breaks down before the new technique is established as the dominant habit. I have gone through that experience three times, with 4 different bowing styles. But, you said it has been six months, so that might not be the answer. Personally, I have found the Franco-belgian-american hold to be better for the light spicatto techniques, and the russian hold to be better for on-the-string sostenuto. And the equipment makes a difference. A bow that bounces well when using F.-B. hold might miss- behave when using the other. Maybe borrow someone else's bow for a while.
July 24, 2018, 2:19 PM · Don't worry, don't over-think it. Fluctuations in the way things feel are natural and part of the process. Some days my bow hold feels awkward, some days I can't seem to hear intonation right. Some days my shifts are just missing. It doesn't necessarily mean anything other than we are human beings so no day will be the same.

Just pay attention to fundamentals of a good grip (relax those fingers, keep the grip flexible), go over all your teacher's advice and keep playing through it. If your Russian grip was working 2 weeks ago it will work again.

More specific than that I don't think anyone on a message board can help you without watching you play. Your teacher will help.

July 24, 2018, 4:22 PM · Any change you might have made on the "left side," such as chinrest or shoulder rest cab affect your bowing. If the bow tech refurbished your thumb leather when re-hairing the bow, this could also change your orientation when bowing. If the tech rosined your bow after re-hairing, that could also affect its behavior on the strings and feel in your hand compared to your prior experience.
July 25, 2018, 3:45 PM · Thank you so much everyone for your help. After listening to everyone’s advice, I now feel comfortable and solid with my bow. Several people told me to ask for my teacher’s advice and it helped as well. I think the main thing I needed to do was to relax my bow grip, and not over think it as Thomas said. I will always refer to what everyone said when I come across another problem in my studies. Thank you so much everyone! Have a great day.
August 3, 2018, 3:05 AM · Between notes the bow hold (rather than "grip"..) can be light to the point on nearly dropping the bow. What we do during the notes needs constant experimentation.

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