Basic VIOLIN BOW HOLD close up + beginner exercises | Violin Lounge TV #460

by | Feb 2, 2022 | Bowing Technique, Start to Play | 2 comments

Build a proper violin bow hold

to bow smoothly with a beautiful sound

Close up and detailed violin lesson about how to hold your bow

This lesson is really useful if you just started playing the violin and you want to learn a good bow hold. Also it’s useful if you’re playing the violin for quite a while, but you feel that you’re bow hold isn’t natural and gets in the way of your playing instead of helping it.

Video content:

00:43 Build a proper violin bow hold that fits the natural shape of your hand
02:25 Franco-Belgian vs Russian violin bow hold
03:46 Thumb position in violin bow hold
04:30 Pencil exercise to practice your violin bow hold and finger flexibility

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Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Violin bow hold exercises

The most important about the violin bow hold is that it’s functional: your fingers must be able to move along with the bow strokes.

Practice these movements with a pencil: bend and stretch your fingers up and down and also make side ways movements.

Once you got these movements right, combine them and make circular motions with your wrist and fingers. Mastering these movements will not only give you a better sound right now, but will also prepare you to more advanced bowing techniques like spiccato and sautillé.

You might love this too:

Now you’ve got your bow hold right, you can learn to bow smoothly with beautiful sound. In this video lesson I explain all about the bow arm mechanics and how professionals get such a beautiful tone.

You might also want to dive into learning different violin bow strokes. I’ve got a video on the six basic violin bow strokes right here. 

Tell me what you’ve learned in the comments!

Bow hold for very young children

For very young children holding the bow the regular way might be not possible, because they don’t have enough strength in their hand or lack the fine motor skills. What I teach my two year old kids is to hold the bow with the thumb underneath the frog. I’d rather have them hold the bow this way and have a relaxed natural hold with curved fingers than to teach the eventual bow hold too fast with tensed or collapsed fingers.

Children of age six or so can learn the eventual bow hold right away without problem. However, even for adults who want a ‘reset’ of their bow hold, it might make sense to bow with the thumb underneath the frog just to take care that their bow hold gets relaxed and natural again. When you move back to the eventual hold, you might take along the curved and relaxed fingers. If you struggle with tension in your bow hold, just give this a try.​

For children and adults who have a lot of difficulty getting the bow hold right, using Bow Hold Buddies for some time might also be very helpful. Watch my video about them right here!


  1. Manda

    Thanks for the short and sweet overview of bow holds, including for children! I have practiced how I want mine to reflect yours while feeling natural to me. My bow hold is getting much more relaxed, and it significantly improved my sound.

    • Zlata

      Wonderful to read that, Manda!



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