How to make a soft sound without bow shakes at the tip

Play softly with core, resonance and smooth bow changes

Tip 1: Relax your right arm

A lot of people tend to lift the bow when they want to play softly, but this can cause bow shakes. Make sure that you relax your right shoulder, arm and hand. To make the sound not superficial, transfer some weight from your arm through your index finger into the bow.

A trembling bow is mostly caused by a tensed right shoulder. In the video I show you an exercise to find the natural position of your shoulder.

Tip 2: Use all the bow hair

At the tip you should use all the bow hair, meaning that the bow shouldn’t be tilted. Make sure that the stick is right above the hair. Also take care that your bow is rosined until the extreme tip, so you can make sound with the whole bow.

Tip 3: Make a sound with core

Yes, you have to play softly, but still you want a tone that speaks and has a core. You don’t want a superficial sound. The trick to creating a sound with character is to use weight from your arm in combination with a lower bow speed. In the video I show you what I mean by that.

Tip 4: Move your bow closer to the fingerboard

Do you want to create an even softer sound, move your bow closer to the fingerboard or bow above the fingerboard. In the video I demonstratie that this makes a big difference. Using a different contact point is mostly overlooked.

Tip 5: Don’t bow straight 😉

What!? Yup, at the extreme tip you can ’round of’ the bow change and smoothen it by bowing not entirely straight. However, this should be a conscious choice and not a matter of lacking technique.

Let me know what tip is most useful to you in the comments below!

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