Common Violin Bow Holds | Online Violin Lessons

Common Violin Bow Holds | Online Violin Lessons



How you choose to hold your violin bow can make all the difference in how your playing sounds. Different bow holds can produce different results, and it’s important to be intentional about how you hold the bow if you want to be intentional with the sound you produce. Today, I will be covering the two most common bow holds; the Franco-Belgian bow hold and the Russian bow hold.



The Franco-Belgian bow hold is probably the most common bow hold used today, and it’s the bow hold I teach my beginner students to use. It provides a solid grip and significant bow weight from the pressure of the arm, which is helpful for beginners who are just learning to produce a solid violin tone. It can also give you more control of the bow, which can aid in learning various violin techniques. Famous violinists who use this bow hold are Itzak Perlman and Issac Stern, among others.

This bow hold is characterized by evenly spaced fingers resting on the bow with the tip of the pinky resting on top of the bow stick. The middle finger is opposite the thumb, and the thumb is curved. For an in-depth tutorial on how to use this bow grip, see my blog post “Learning the Bow Hold“.


the Franco-Belgian bow hold



With the Russian bow hold, the fingers are much more pronated on the bow stick. The fingers are quite straight and close together and the wrist is quite high. This bow hold is superior to the Franco-Belgian hold in speed and power and was used by famous violinists such as Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein.


the Russian bow hold


Other Bow Holds

The vast majority of violinists today use the Franco-Belgian bow hold, followed by the Russian bow hold. Other bow holds include the French, Italian, German, Baroque, Galamian, and Fiddlers’ bow holds. Many of these bow holds are essentially an evolution into the bow holds we use today and were used on period instruments of the time.


Curious about which type of bow you should purchase? Read about different bow types here!




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