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Another French bow hold question...

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    I recently found that I can get a better sound (gripping of the strings, volume, clarity) by resting my thumb under the frog when bowing - I think this is an unorthodox technique (?), which may also lead to stress on the thumb, if prolonged. However, if I start / warm up this way and then revert to the thumb resting on the stick, next to the frog, it seems to help with my right hand bowing technique.
    Just wondering if anyone else has experimented with holding the bow by placing the thumb under the frog - and if so with what result? Are there any DB players using other "unorthodox" bowing techniques?

    Thanks for reading!
  2. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
    Andrew Anderson discusses French bow holds--including the one you mentioned--in one of his early videos on YouTube. Here's the first one.

    It's a good series.
  3. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Yes, thanks, the legendary Mr Anderson is a good reference source for sure! I can't recall him talking about this particular bow hold but I'll take another look.
  4. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Episode #2 - thanks!
  5. I'm pretty sure Edgar holds the bow like that, and I know Petracchi taught a bow grip with the thumb placed "inside" the frog rather than where the frog and stick meet. I think Peter Lloyd holds it like that, as do many other professional bassists. Personally, I feel that for solo playing, the standard french grip (thumb where the frog and stick meet) is best for bringing sensitivity to your bow changes, but some people obviously play very well and have had great success using different "unorthodox" bow grips.
  6. The thumb-inside-the-frog hold (Neapolitan in some circles) was a preferred hold of Petracchi's who taught my teacher back in the day (hence my use of it now). I would think it wouldn't be for everyone but it does work for me in both orchestral and solo settings. Assuming this is what the O.P. describes, it is not that uncommon.
  7. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    IF it helps, the red arrow indicates where I position thumb...(see attached file)
  8. Right on the ferule? That's one I haven't seen before. The grip that you see in the picture is along the lines of a Neapolitan hold with the thumb in the frog which is quite common.
  9. I've seen that one before. Vicki Jones, of the NZSO, does that often if not all the time. She has tiny hands. Seems to work fine.
  10. Whatever works. We all too often force ourselves to work with a prescribed model and end up causing more harm than good. There are countless ways to get optimal results. Dragonetti would have no doubt endured criticism for his bow hold back in the day as well. If it works...then run with it.
  11. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Sometimes these things become codified- Streicher basically created a whole school and pedagogy involving an unorthodox bow hold. The results matter more than anything else. Nobody will ever criticize your playing if you get a beautiful sound and play in tune and musically, no matter how you get there.

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