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New Violinist - Two Different Violin Bows?

by Ronnie
(Austin, TX)

Hi Marie,

Thank you very much for your website. I am age 12 years old and I like how it is easy to understand what you are saying. I want to ask you something.

Three days ago, I received my first violin! In the case is violin (of course!), a small little box of rosin & TWO bow sticks. (Or do I just say Bows)

Why does someone need TWO bows for their violin? Is it for pros or advance players? should I keep them both?

Is it for different music or what? Or is it just extra like a spare tire?

Thank you VERY much for your time AND reply!

Ronnie M
Age 12

Reply from Marie
Congratulations on your new violin, Ronnie!

Beginning violinists usually only need one bow to start with. As you get better with violin and start playing with groups and such, though, you may find that you like to have different bows for different purposes. Some bows are more expressive, some have more bounce, others let you dig into the string more, and so on....

Also, some music wants violinists to use techniques that can damage their bow a little bit every time. One, called "col legno", calls for the violinist to hold the bow stick down (upside down) and lightly strike the string with the stick of the bow. If you have an expensive bow and a cheap one (the backup bow), which one would you use? The cheap one of course!

For the beginner violinist, there's not much use to having more than one bow. Start with a quality bow (a wood one or carbon fiber one that costs at least $100 if you can afford it) and you'll learn to love it quickly!

Later edit:

Ronnie asked me what it means to hold the violin bow upside down for the "col legno" technique, which is an excellent question!

It means that the violinist holds the violin with a regular bow hold, except that the bow hair is upwards (towards the ceiling) and the bow's stick is gently tapped against the string where you'd usually bow. It's used for special effects in music. It usually makes a "clinking" sound.

You have to be careful doing it with an expensive bow, though, as it can eventually chip the wood stick on the bow.

Great question!

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May 03, 2013
2 Bows For My Violin Inside My Case
by: Ronnie

Wow! Thank you very much.

I don't understand what you mean about bows upside down? I will learn that later (much) I guess!

I don't know which bow is cheaper or not. Is there a way to tell?

Thank you again very much. My mom said thank you, too!

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