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Converting German Bow?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Gatortail1, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. Gatortail1


    Feb 5, 2011
    Ok. So I have this German bow that sounds great. If I wanted to convert it to a French style, would all I have to do is change the frog and button? This stick is longer than my French and has a deeper camber. Is this possible?
  2. CPike


    May 28, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    I don't recommend it. Frogs are not universally shaped where they fit the stick, neither are screws nor buttons. Even so, in the unlikely event you match the fit, the balance of the bow will be all screwy.

  3. Gatortail1


    Feb 5, 2011
    I guess I can always make it into a fishing rod instead... :)
  4. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    I studied, briefly, with a great teacher, who loaned me a French bow he had, that had been made from a German stick. My own bow, at the time, was like a pileated baseball bat. I think that he simply took pity on me; young, from out of town, out-gunned by the other kids' gear (at conservatory), and dead broke.

    Because I am quite tall, with a healthy wingspan, his idea was for me to try a longer bow, as this one had what I think is the typically longer German playable length. It was a sweet, generous, thoughtful gesture, wasted on a callow youth, I fear.

    All to say that it can be done, it has been done, but I can't comment on how the results might play, in your case. I don't remember the one I borrowed being particularly memorable, other than its' luxurious length.
  5. If you have an older french bow or extra frog, and the wherewithal to undertake the change I don't see a reason not to try it. You can always convert it back if it doesn't do right.
  6. Gatortail1


    Feb 5, 2011
    Rehairing it is the issue. I don't know how to do it.
  7. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    If there is nobody local, for you, these folks can do in two shakes of a lamb's tail:


    Remember, too, it is about hair quality as well as skill. I would send it to a pro. It is not a lot of money...
  8. Gatortail1


    Feb 5, 2011
    Thanks. Those are the folks that I'm waiting to hear back from about the possible Morizot bow.
  9. You can also check with Tom Owen. I have one of his bows and he very quick on a rehair turn around.

    Everybody could probably tell you the same about their luthier.
  10. Also, I saw you are in TN. If you are near Nashville, Dustin Williams is great.
  11. Gatortail1


    Feb 5, 2011
    Yeah you're right, Dustin Williams is great. I might be wrong, but I believe that they have been sending bows out of their shop to have someone else work on them.
  12. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    A friend, also an occasional TBer (so he may chime in) had his French bow converted to German by a local luthier who has unfortunately moved away. He made a new frog, somewhat smaller than the standard German frog, and has thereby accommodated nicely the bow's natural camber and balance.

    I suspect going the other way might be more difficult. Have you tried simply playing it with an overhand grip? Thierry Barbe does this (briefly) in the YouTube video linked in another recent thread. He's refreshingly non-puritanical about bows.

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