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How to Learn Spiccato

Today's video is about some easy methods you can use, to learn the Spiccato bowing technique.

There are many ways to learn spicatto, but over the years, I’ve figured out a very easy way to get any string player on the road to learning spiccato pretty quickly. First of all, what is spiccato?

Spiccato is a bow technique where the bow is bounced. Therefore, there are many different kinds of spiccato techniques, but they all involve bouncing the bow.

To begin learning spiccato:

  1. First, find the bouncing point of your bow. Simply balance the bow on your finger. Once the balance point is found, place two pieces of tape on either side, and the tapes should be about 2 inches (5 CM) apart.
  2. Now that you’ve found the bouncing point, practice striking the string with up and down bows but strike the string in exactly the same spot. Use a metronome and set it very slow, around 88 BPM (beats per minute).
  3. Gradually speed up the rate at which you bounce. Don’t do anything fancy, just bounce on open strings at first. Then you can graduate to notes in a scale. Do simple scales at first and then longer scales.

Remember to focus on 4 things when practicing your spiccato. They will all improve your CONSISTENCY and consistency is KEY

  1. Make sure you are bouncing in the same exact area on the bow for every stroke.
  2. Make sure you are bouncing in the same exact area on the strings for every stroke. You’ll want to target the area in the middle of the bridge and fingerboard.
  3. Make sure every stroke is exactly the same length every time. Every time you strike the string, you’ll use about a 1/4” (1 CM) of the bow.
  4. Make sure your sound is as warm as possible. Practice until there are practically NO scratches in your sound.

Five Quick tips

  1. Always use a metronome when practicing spiccato. The metronome will help you create a consistent stroke, and consistency is KEY.
  2. Tilt the bow slightly when playing spiccato. It’s easier to get a good sound than playing with flat hair and the bow bounces better.
  3. The more relaxed your hand is, the better. Remember to have a relaxed pinky.
  4. The faster your spicatto, the higher up in the bow you will play. As a general rule, the faster you play, the more the bow is doing the work, the slower you play, the more YOU are doing the work.
  5. The faster you play, the bounce will be smaller. The slower you play, the higher the bounce will be.