Bonus Lesson 4 – Stop Unwanted Bouncing of the Bow

  1. Thom
  2. November 12, 2008 2:35 pm

Kelvin had asked about a particular problem he had with unwanted bouncing of the bow. With his permission I am reposting the video with some tips. 🙂

Overall you have great tone! You are doing fantastic work!

As far as the bouncing bow I can’t tell specifically from the angle of the video, however, my best guess is too much downward pressure and possibly too much angling of the bow. You may or may not have noticed a sudden pitch bend at about :52. This is caused by too much weight causing the string to “collapse” and vibrate at a different pitch.

Some things you do to avoid accidental bouncing of the bow:
1. Lighten up pressure. Think of pushing and pulling the strings left to right rather than downward force on the strings.

2. Be careful not to attack a string change to aggressively. A sudden downward pressure in a string change can cause a bounce

3. Keeping your bow hand strong (but not stiff). My teacher pointed out I had a habit of using my fingers and wrist too much for bow changes which sometimes resulted in a bounce during bow changes.

4. Using a crescent shaped bow for cleaner tone and bow changes.


  1. Shang says:
    Posted November 15, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Hello Thom, first of all I enjoyed this bonus episode as i am also experiencing the similar problem as Kelvin do. thank you for you guidance and tips Thom.

    However I am experiencing some problem with the balancing of the bow as i have the tendency to “swing” the bow off the string occasionally as about 2:32, so is there any method for me to keep the consistency of the bow?

    Another problem i am experiencing is, i have the tendency to play a double strings instead of a single string, so what are the practices should i do to keep the angle of my bow on a single string while playing?

    Thank you.

    • Hello Shang!

      I’m glad you’re getting some value from these videos!

      Could you explain what you mean by swinging the bow off the string?

      For the double string problem- look and focus on bow while you play. Notice that the angle of your bow in relation to strings will change depending on what string you are playing. Keep this in mind while you practice playing open strings in various combination with your bow. Keep a long strong sound- don’t rush through it. The purpose is focusing on playing one string at a time. Later you can apply the same exercise to playing two strings at a time.

      Hope that helps!

      • Shang says:
        Posted December 25, 2008 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        hello there Thom,

        thank you for your advice on the “double string problem” as i have finally master the skill.

        as for the “swinging the bow off the string”- while playing, the bow would either move towards the bridge or sometimes onto the bridge. so can you please give some advice on this mistake i made?

        thank you

        • Shang,

          A technique I started off with when I had the problem of a crazy swinging bow was to face a mirror sideways (So I could compare the bridge and the bow) and try to keep them parallel all the way through my up and down bows. Watching yourself and being conscious of your movements will help your brain recognize what it feels like to keep a straighter bow as opposed to wildly going where ever it wants to.

          Another technique (used sparingly) is to go ahead and prescribe the symptom: purposely move your bow in an out of control manner as ridiculously as you can, and then proceed to play with a straight bow. Often times purposely using a bad technique will help your brain understand and differentiate between the two.

          – Thom

        • Shang says:
          Posted January 10, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          thank you Thom, i found your 1st suggestion (facing a mirror) is rather useful. thank you for your guidance.

  2. Kelvin says:
    Posted November 19, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much! =). wow, wasn’t expecting a whole video reply; must have taken a lot of effort. much appreciated. and thanks too for the heads-up on the ‘pitch bend’… tend to have that problem from time to time but always thought i just wasn’t bowing straight… didn’t know there are so many factors into it. will go try implementing those suggestion now =)

  3. thom! kumusta na?!, still remember me? i now know how to play the violin but not that so advance.., i play now alot of classical music.. speciali canon in d.. ahaha=] and we wil have our recital at the end of may, (my first recital) =]

    • That is awesome! If you happen to take a video, send it my way! I’ll post it on Stringsavvy 🙂

  4. Shiela says:
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the video! I’m still a beginner in playing the violin and I also have this problem sometimes…Somehow I learned how to avoide my bow from bouncing but sometimes, when I play slowly or make long bows, my bow tends to bounce…I also noticed that my bow usually bounces only when I press a string I can play open strings good enough even if slowly but it’s a bit different when I press a string:) Do I have to exert more pressure on the bow when I press a string? Or maybe there are other causes for this?

    • Hello Shiela!

      Yes, if you are afraid of your strings and don’t let the weight of your hand come into the bow, it is likely that could be the cause of your bounce.

      Check and see, are you letting the bow pull and push the string? Or are you more holding the bow just barely above and letting it brush the string?

  5. Violin Guy says:
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    What a teacher, is this your profession?

  6. A says:
    Posted October 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hey Thom,

    I was looking at your video on how to assemble a kun rest and saw your chin rest…where’d you get it?


    • Hello A! that one fell apart long ago, however I recently picked this one up! It comes with a velcro piece to attach to the chin rest. There are other models that use a rubber band for attachment. Hope that helps!

      Strad Pad Black Chinrest Pad: Large

  7. Mr.Scott says:
    Posted April 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I stumbled across your website and thanks for helping me learn the violin. First I get a error 404 (page not found) if I try and register. Second is there are 7-8 positions playing the violin. (I am a beginner) And correct me if I am wrong but each position causes a half octave increase in tone. Can you show some musical notes where that would be done?


    Look forward to checking out your website more.

    • Hey thanks Scott for the error notification. There was an error with the theme- it should be resolved now. I am not sure where your question is going- are you asking if moving up in each position would bring upon a pitch change of about a half octave? Each position moving up the instrument is really only increasing pitch by about a whole-step.

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