Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop by Julie Lyonn Lieberman


Want to break out of the legato-vibrato routine? Ready to buck up against gravity and the magnet that glues your bow hair to your string? Here’s an opportunity to develop your chop capabilities.

Back in the sixties, we called it “chunk.” The bow stroke was mostly used in bluegrass bands. We laid the left-hand fingers lightly across the four strings, then hit the two center strings with the middle of the bow using a 90 % vertical drop and just enough horizontal to get a percussive sound. 

The critical factor involved timing the drop to land on the 2 and 4, not the 1 and 3 on the downbow. There was no upbow sound while lifting off.

Fiddler Richard Greene evolved chunk into chop technique after he was hired by Bill Monroe, the originator of the bluegrass style. He moved the bow-stroke to the frog and discovered that if he rolled the stick toward his face, dropped his elbow into gravity, and used a waving motion from his wrist, that he could better take advantage of gravity and add an upbow sound to the bow stroke. Here’s an excerpt of Richard Greene’s guest appearance at Strings Without Boundaries summer 2016 in Seattle:


Check out the progression of exercises I’ve developed over the years to create a step-by-step mastery of this bow stroke. 




Here’s a sneak peek at one of my twelve video tutorials packaged with my new book, How to Play Contemporary Strings (Hal Leonard 

Publications). This is an excerpt from a section on chop technique: