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Convert bow from french to german?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by stefaniw80401, May 13, 2005.

  1. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Being a recent convert to german bow I have a fairly decent pernambuco french bow (30 year old Winkler valued ~$600). My German bow is an Ary 400 brazilwood. It's not bad, but the Winkler is a better stick. I don't have enough money to buy a good german bow, right now and I've heard that the resale market for $600 bows isn't all that great. So I have this hair-brained idea to outfit my Winkler bow with a German frog. What do you think about that? What are the issues?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    If you want it right, the new frog will need to be custom fit to the existing stick. That won't be cheap. It may not be as cost effective of a solution as you might think.

    Also, folks often prefer a heavier stick for German. It's a much different feel.

    A good French stick isn't going to necessarily make a good German stick. Then of course it may.

    I think you'd end up better in the long run selling the bow and buying a good German bow even if you have to sell the Ary as well.
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    German Bows are generally longer that traditional French Bows. About 1" if my memory serves me.. The Tips are often smaller. The German Frog has a Long screw at the end. This will affect the Balance alot.. Take it to a good Bow maker/luthier to have that possiblity evaluated.
  4. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
    my dbass teacher uses a french bow, he really likes the balance of his bow, so it can happen that a french bow works great with german frog

    as they said, take it to a luthier.....
  5. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I think you may encounter . . . The Resistance!
  6. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Gary Karr's main bow is a French bow with a German frog. It even has the french screw, not the longer German one.

    It can be done, but I think you'd likely have to re-shape the bow to make a smaller tip while you're at it.. . .

  7. I haven't played french bow for years, but wouldn't a french type screw on a german bow dig into the hand and be uncomfortable? Seems that way to me...
  8. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Thanks for all your input. The biggest difference (other than the frog obviously) between fr and gr bows is that [typically] the fr head is a bit beefier, and maybe a tad shorter at the tail. I've seen this on several fr bows in the hands of fellow players over the years.

    My fr bow (winkler) however has a smaller head -- nearly identical in size to my Ary 400 gr bow. The bow length comparison between my Winkler and Ary were identical, including the mortise location. All of these factors made me wonder if perhaps my old Winkler used to be a gr bow originally?

    Since my Ary frog fit against my Winkler stick, I found a gr frog at internationalluthiers.com for $56 (nice ebony with perl inlay, plastic button though). Apparently, ~most~ bow makers conform to some kind of dimensional standard of the stick at the frog. Why would Int'l Luthiers (and others like Quinn) even stock frogs and frog parts like the frog slide, if bow makers were all different dimensionally on the frog part of the stick? Granted "super custom" bow makers are free to do whatever they want.

    Yesterday I got the converted Winkler back from Robertson's Violin Shop (Albuquerque, NM). The conversion result is positive -- about what I had expected. The Winkler is now a better gr bow that it was a fr bow.

    - Mark
  9. Check w/ your local luthier. I did the same thing years ago and he happen to have a frog that fit it well.

    Been a very good bow for me. (only to be surpassed by my new Tom Owen :)

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