Maintaining a contact point on the A string

May 16, 2021, 5:48 PM · I've noticed that when playing on the A string in the lower half, especially in higher positions, the contact point can greatly waver, even while keeping a straight bow. Normally it doesn't cause too much of an issue but in positions higher than 5th position, the contact point getting too close to the bridge causes some very scratchy sounds. Does anyone/has anyone experienced an issue like this before?

Replies (6)

May 16, 2021, 6:06 PM · I think that's every string everywhere...
But yes, as the string gets stiffer it becomes more difficult to hold the bow straight. Hence practise before a mirror!
Edited: May 16, 2021, 6:33 PM · Greetings,
right now I am somewhat immersed in ‘The Inner Game’ of which a major precept is that ‘awareness’ is often enough to cure a problem. The variable you want o focus on is contact point so you might just ask non-judge mentally how often does my bow wander from point X? or something similar.
Also, one of the most important daily exercises for violinists is the accented legato/portato/whatever bowing exercises where you keep a constant bow speed but feed weight into the sting to create an accent on the beginning of the note. By practicing this exercise starting with two, then 4,8,16 etc one becomes very sensitive to what the bow hair is doing on the string at a given contact point, or how much weight a given contact point requires at a certain speed. This may help you approach this issue.
May 16, 2021, 9:33 PM · If you have long arms (especially long forearms) it can be difficult to keep the bow moving straight closer to the bridge. Angling the violin more to the left can help (as can playing viola instead :-)).

The choice of rosin can make a difference - the "rougher" rosins do sound noisier to people with good hearing. Some of the older favorites might be a better choice than some of the newer formulations.

May 16, 2021, 10:33 PM · Greetings,
good point Andrew. keep in mind that we can change the angle of the violin by relocating it under the jaw rather than the more obvious movement of the scroll.
Edited: May 18, 2021, 12:07 AM · What is not mentioned often enough is the position, the trajectory of the right elbow. When you get it correct the right elbow will trace a V-shape in space. The farthest back it will be is at the midpoint, where the forearm-upper arm is at a right 90o) angle. Use a mirror to train that.
May 18, 2021, 5:15 AM · A good luthier can make it easier for you to play on all contact points with less scratchy sounds. My violin improved a lot just by cutting away a minimum amount of bridge wood.

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