Lonesome John—bowing (with video)

This is how I bow Lonesome John (source: John Salyer). Video is included, demonstrating fast and slow.


(The slow demo is annotated with the bowing patterns that are being used.)

I’ve tried to write down variations that I do, as well. I can’t cover every variation, but I hope to cover some of the common ones.

(Hyphens mean that the bowing is applied to a longer note instead of multiple short notes.)

A part:

  1. First phrase
    1. Two-note stroke with saw stroke lead in (D U | D-D U U D-D U-U)
      • Note about the saw stroke lead in (D U). If the previous phrase ended with a down-bow—causing the current phrase to start with an up-bow—I replace the saw stroke with a two-note stroke (U U). The important part is to start the measure with a down-bow. (This also applies to the other saw stroke lead ins throughout the tune.)
    2. 1-2-1-2 pattern (D U U D U-U)
      • As a replacement for any one of the 1-2-1-2 patterns in this tune, one could use a two-note stroke pattern (D D U-U D-D) for a more conventional(?) sound. Judging from the sound of his recording, I think John Salyer probably did this a lot.
  2. Second phrase
    1. Two-note stroke with saw stroke lead in (D U | D-D U U D-D U-U)
    2. 3-3 pattern with up-bow pulse (D-D-D U-*U*-U)
      • As a replacement for any of the “3-3 pattern with up-bow pulse” instances in this tune, one could substitute a bow direction change for the pulse (D-D-D U D-D).
  3. Third phrase (identical to first phrase)
    1. Two-note stroke with saw stroke lead in (D U | D-D U U D-D U-U)
    2. 1-2-1-2 pattern (D U U D U-U)
  4. Fourth phrase
    1. 3-3 pattern starting early (D D | D U U U)
    2. Two-note stroke (D-D U-U)
    3. 3-3 pattern with up-bow pulse (D-D-D U-*U*-U)

B part:

  1. First phrase (bowing is identical to first phrase of A part)
    1. Two-note stroke with saw stroke lead in (D U | D-D U U D-D U-U)
    2. 1-2-1-2 pattern (D U U D U-U)
  2. Second phrase
    1. Saw stroke with down-bow lead in (D-D- | -D U D U)
      • This is the only bowing in the tune that doesn’t feel natural for me when I slow it down. When I play it slow, the initial three down-bows (D-D- | -D) take me so far along the bow that it feels awkward to do three saw strokes from there. When I’m playing the tune up to speed, though, the initial down-bows don’t use as much of my bow, so there’s no issue.
      • Sometimes I’ll play this part with three up-bows instead of the three saw strokes (D-D- | -D U U U). Usually when I do this, I then feel inclined to make the next section into a pair of two-note strokes (D-D U-U), probably because it feels more consistently smooth that way.
    2. 1-3 pattern with pulse (D U-*U*-U)
    3. 3-3 pattern with pulse (D-D-D U-*U*-U)
  3. Third phrase (identical to first phrase)
    1. Two-note stroke with saw stroke lead in (D U | D-D U U D-D U-U)
    2. 1-2-1-2 pattern (D U U D U-U)
  4. Fourth phrase (identical to fourth phrase of A part)
    1. 3-3 pattern starting early (D D | D U U U)
    2. Two-note stroke (D-D U-U)
    3. 3-3 pattern with up-bow pulse (D-D-D U-*U*-U)

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