How to improve your fiddle tone

Improve your fiddle tone

Tonight we started off talking about where people would like to be with their playing in 5 year’s time. Several people in the class wanted to be able to feel more confident, either playing or starting up tunes in sessions. A general confidence in your playing can help this. Being able to play in tune and in time, with a reliable tone can make a huge difference.

Bow hold

We revisited the bow hold. If you rotate the hand slightly anticlockwise it helps by putting the hand in the correct position to develop a flexible bowing wrist. Keep the bowing hand relaxed.


There are a number of things you can work on to improve your fiddle tone.

We placed the heel of the bow, on an open A string, then lifted it, and placed it back down at the tip of the bow. We focused on keeping bow straight at both positions. Then we played single long down bows, keeping the bow straight throughout the bow stroke.

Keeping the bow positioned slightly closer to the bridge than the end of the finger board will also help the tone. Try playing around with the position of your bow on your own fiddle, when you’re playing alone. Listen out for the spot where you hear the best tone.

Then we tried keeping tone of the note even throughout the bow stroke. To do this, you’ll need to take a bit of the weight of the bow off the string at the frog, and add a bit of weight at the tip.

We learnt the reel The Ale is Dear. It’s a simple 16 bar reel, with 2nd time ending to the B part.

We looked at ornamentation we could add to the tune, and some bowing in B part to change the rhythm. We added a 3up, 1 down right at the start f the B part, and added an up bow emphasis in the final phrase. We also included staccato run up – we worked on used the index finger to dig the bow in at the start of each bow stroke t achieve this effect. It’s. important to allow the hand to relax between each note when doing this.