music lessonsUpright BassUpright Bass Bowing TechniqueUpright Bass LessonsUpright Bass: 3 Major Factors of Tone Production Involving the Bow

September 10, 2010by emilylowe0

The 3 major factors of tone production involving the bow are weight, placement and speed. These 3 factors all relate to each other. Weight means the amount of weight the player puts on the bow, placement refers to the placement of the bow between the fingerboard and the bridge and speed refers to how fast or slow the bow moves across the string.

Upright Bass:  3 Major Factors of Tone Production Involving the Bow

Weight, Placement and Speed are 3 Major Factors of Tone Production Involving the Bow when Playing the Upright Bass!
Weight, Placement and Speed are 3 Major Factors of Tone Production Involving the Bow when Playing the Upright Bass!

The 3 major factors of tone production involving the bow are weight, placement and speed.  These 3 factors all relate to each other. Weight means the amount of weight the player puts on the bow, placement refers to the placement of the bow between the fingerboard and the bridge and speed refers to how fast or slow the bow moves across the string. 

Here is an example of a guideline to combining all 3 factors:

Bow closer to the fingerboard on the upright bass = apply more weight with slow bowing. This is good for playing notes in the lower register.

Bow closer to the bridge on the upright bass (when playing high register notes) = less wight with faster bowing. This will also result to a more focused tone production.

For a longer sustain in single bow strokes, move the bow towards the bridge. 

 Try and use these 3 factors when playing the upright bass for the best tone production. Make sure that you are still maintaining the correct bow hold in the right hand. I would also encourage anyone to experiment. Adding too much weight might result to a scratchy tone production. Taking out too much of the weight will result to an icy and not well defined sound. Sometimes, the music suggests a kind of sound that goes beyond this guideline. For example: ponticello would result to we describe as an “icy” sound. This requires less weight and increase in speed with the bow. 

In other news, I’ll be playing a couple of shows this coming weekend with a really hip bluegrass/americana duo called “Trees Leave.” September 10 – The Crimson Tide in Dahlonega, GA and September 11  – Tosco Music Party in Charlotte NC. If you’re around those areas, come out and say hello.

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If you are currently seeking lessons in upright bass, piano, guitar, banjo, voice, strings, woodwinds, brass or percussion / drums, then call Music Star Studios at 615.509.1753!  Based in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN, our knowledgeable teachers provide music lessons both in-home and online by webcam! We select our teachers carefully and want all of our students to shine!

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