An e-bow or electric bow is a device made for the electric guitar. It uses a magnetic field that makes the strings move. This device functions on all strings that are made of metal. An e-bow normally has two settings; the fundamental and a harmonic setting. In the fundamental setting the e-bow makes the string sound at its actual pitch. The harmonic setting produces random (sometimes multiple) overtones of the string.




The e-bow is held parallel to the string. The string should be in the string-slot of the e-bow without touching it. It takes some time before the string responds. It is also necessary to find the right point on the string where it responds to the e-bow. This point is normally approximately in the middle of the string.

The left hand is normally used to hold the e-bow. It can not play other notes at the same time as it holds the e-bow in place.


The e-bow produces a soft, long and straight note. The note can be sustained as long as the e-bow is held to the string.


A verbal explanation is required.


The e-bow only works on the wire strings.

Additional remarks

Keep in mind that it takes time to find the exact spot where the string responds to the e-bow. Additionally it takes some time for the string to react even when the e-bow is at the correct spot. Therefore enough time must be given to prepare notes played with the e-bow. Furthermore it can be very tiring for the harpist to hold the e-bow in place for a long period of time.