How much should I tighten my violin bow?

Ms. Judy W. Bossuat-Gallic | Member Directory | Suzuki Association ...
“We always recommend to keep it relatively loose.”

For the best use of your bow, keep your finger off the string as much as possible – if the string appears to be touching your finger, check the bow as you strum your chord. When putting the bow down to play, it is not normal to hold your finger directly over the string as you strum; this makes it difficult to properly tune the bow. “You have to hold the finger over the string on the side opposite of the arrow, such that it is slightly raised up from the bow’s tip, instead of just slightly raised as your finger is normally used to.” So, don’t hold a finger on the bridge (the right side of the bow) where it is too high. “You should be able to reach the bow’s nut with only one arm (the index or middle finger). You hold the string firmly and you tighten it as necessary without being over-tighten it. To tighten or not to tighten is only a choice between two extremes. To adjust the string, you can use a little force from your finger, while to tighten it, you need to apply pressure against the string. It is always best to go for the tighter position.”

“Generally, if the bow is not tuned correctly, then more should be tightened and less need to be loosened.” If you find you are having trouble tuning the bow, you have probably either mis-tuned it, or are just not using the exact type of bow. Some bow makers make their products to specific finger-length limitations – some require 10 mm or less, others require 20 mm length, etc – you must try and find out which bow will best suit your playing style by just going out and testing them.

“You also have to make sure that you are putting out enough pressure on the string, otherwise you may not be able to use the string properly.”

Some string manufacturers suggest tuning your bow so that the string length remains the same regardless of your playing style. This is a rather simplistic and impractical solution; it is best to adjust the bow so that it makes it easier for you to use the string properly – it is much easier to tune a violin bow than a guitar bow!

For your first few strings, you should put in a few minutes each week to practice and make sure that you can play it to the highest standard when you get home. It is best to try different bow strings to determine the string that is best suited to your