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Bow length

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Hilary Dirlam, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. Hilary Dirlam

    Hilary Dirlam

    Jun 30, 2015
    I am wanting to learn how to bow. I am wondering which bow length is more common, 3/4 or full. I play a 3/4 size bass, and I'm a 5'2'' woman. Any other bow purchasing trips are welcome!
  2. lcpierce

    lcpierce Supporting Member

    Jul 22, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Hi Hilary,

    I believe 3/4 sized bows are reserved for younger students (middle school age and below). My bow measures 28 inches, but this can vary by a few inches either way. The bow length doesn't necessarily depend on the size of the bass you're using - it's more of a preference.

    Are you looking at a bow in particular? I'd be happy to help you in your bow shopping.
    Ash Hines likes this.
  3. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    Lauren Pierce is correct. You should play a full size professional bow. There are variations in length and weight of various bows.
    Here is a nice buying guide about bows from Gollihur music.
    Bows: Double Bass Bow Choices (A 'Buyer's Guide') at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists
    He also has a link on that page to a FAQ page about the two main styles of bows:
    BOWS: French and German Style - FAQ courtesy of GollihurMusic.com
    Lauren is very kind to offer help with a bow purchase. You also could consult with a local professional in your area. I have a nice wood bow that I got from Francois Rabbath in the 1980's, but I mostly use carbon fiber bows from David Gage. He calls them the "Metropolitan".
    David Gage String Instruments
    Good Luck in your search.
    lcpierce and Tom Lane like this.
  4. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    I've been back & forth with this for years - long vs short, German vs French

    I think it's a choice thing. I've ended up with a medium length French bow after fighting with longer German bows for a while.

    For what it's worth Edgar Meyer plays a relatively short bow with some pretty good results. haha

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