Why Does My Violin Sound Squeaky? 4 Tips to Fix It!

Welcome, violinists!

A question I get often from beginner violinists is this: How do I make my violin sound less BAD?! 

Fear not. The violin is one of THE most difficult instruments to learn, so you’re not alone in this! Why exactly is it so hard?

  • Other instruments (like piano or even guitar to a lesser extent) already HAVE their own tone. When you hit a piano key, it sounds like a piano. When you strum a guitar, it’ll sound like a guitar. But when you bow a violin… at first, it might sound like a dying cat. That’s because tone production is a huge part of learning the violin –– and it’s also why it’s so difficult to learn. Not only do you have to learn about music in general (music theory, rhythm, melody etc.), but you have the added of challenge of, well, not sounding like a dying cat.

What should you do about it? 

Preventing the “squeaky violin” sound all comes from the bow. A teacher once told me that the violin is only there to hold up the bow. That’s one of my favourite quotes, because even though it’s a bit cheeky, it’s totally true. There’s a reason why many professional violinists spend more money on their bow than on their violin. All of your sound production comes from how you handle the bow.

 

 

Here are four “bowing fundamentals” that you need to keep in mind.

  • First and foremost is to keep your bow moving in a straight line. Don’t allow your bow to wobble around, as this will create a strange, uneven, whispery sound.
  • Keep even pressure. This is usually the cause of a squeaky violin. The bow is much heavier at the frog (the bottom) than at the tip. In order to maintain even pressure throughout the bow stroke, you have to change the weight of your arm as you go. Apply more pressure closer to the tip, and less as you near the frog. This takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s invaluable for creating an even, non-squeaky sound.
  • Take care when changing strings. Often “squeaks” will occur when you change strings. Remember to maintain even pressure on the bow even when you change strings –– often you have to relieve pressure to move the bow over to a new string, so make sure to re-apply pressure before you start the next bow stroke.
  • Mind the elbow! When you change strings, make sure your arm is moving as a whole unit. This is a very common mistake!! Your right arm should always create a straight line from your bow. This means -– don’t let your elbow sag by your side, pulling your whole bow downwards. When you let your elbow sag, it throws off the balance of the whole bow, and all that stuff about applying even pressure will be pretty much impossible. This ALSO means that as you change strings, you will need to move your arm up and down as needed. When you’re on the G string, your arm will be pretty high up to stay on the same level as the bow. On the E string, your arm will be much closer to your side.

Need more help with bowing techniques to get a nice clean sound? Check out my beginner’s violin video on this topic!

 

 

Bowing Fundamentals

 

You can also check out my entire Bowing Techniques series for some more advanced bowing techniques to really make your violin sing!

About The Author

TheMusicianGirl

I am the creator and owner of www.themusiciangirl.com. I love the violin. I love teaching. This website combines both of those things.