1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Curious; German or French

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by toman, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. German, and I play mostly classical

    18 vote(s)
  2. German and I play mostly jazz or other music

    15 vote(s)
  3. French and I play mostly classical

    15 vote(s)
  4. French and I play mostly jazz or other music

    20 vote(s)
  5. I don't use a bow

    3 vote(s)
  6. I don't care, I just want to vote!!!!

    4 vote(s)
  1. Just trying to get a feel for the percentages; seems like a lot more people in general play french bow than where I live; the majority around here seems to be german. :D
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I'm playing German right now (mostly jazz, bit of classical). Since I started experimenting with holding the bass vertically a la Karr I'm finding that I might want to try French--I think it may work better for me with this stance.
  3. Winston
    Because of TB discussion and in particular comments from the Donosaurus, I too changed my stance to balancing the bass vertically and lowering the endpin. This had a transformed my ability to bow using a French bow, but I've never tried German. However, I only did it because it seemd to make good sense for me to try it in general and potentially reap improvements all round, which it did. This doesn't mean it is best for someone else, since it wasn't best I guess for the examplars I copied my original stance from.

    As an aside, looking at all the pictures of how to stand with a bow in such worthy publications as the art of double bass playing, I wouldn't be suprised to learn that a lot of bowers had a bad back from hunching over to reach. Perhaps that's why there's such a demand for the Alexander technique that Donosaurus is aiming to teach and causes lots of books recomend sitting down from the start.

    It would be interesting to know why people chose either - I just got what was going cheap at the time I'm affraid, though I did think that if I used German I'd apply too much torque and not enough technique. Having many an aching wrist I came to regret this but now I can move the strings with the sublty not to upset the neighbors I'm more than happy.
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I started on French, but tried a German bow just yesterday that a friend owns. I think I may switch as the German grip makes it easier for me to stay relaxed and my bowing is more fluid.

  5. Bassius


    Nov 6, 2001
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar amps
    You left an option off of your poll

    "I play German mostly but i can play french well enough to sound professional and i play classical, jazz, and anything else!!"

  6. German, and I play mostly classical, although I can play with a French bow pretty good aswell as I used to play cello
  7. 2dawghouse


    Mar 4, 2004
    I started out using German when I was in high school. My instructor at the time played German, so I had little choice.

    Once I got to college, I had to switch to french because that was the only acceptable method where I went to school. I also had to get used to using a stool while playing. I think that it's easier to control a french bow and balance the bass while seated.

    Ultimately, I think that german is easier to learn, but you have more control over the french bow. That 'curling your thumb around the frog' thing is kinda strange though.
  8. I’ve been a French-bowist for a better than 20 years, but I just acquired a German bow last Friday. I’m currently playing in the orchestra for a local production of Les Miserables. My part consists mostly of ponderous whole notes, so I decided to jump right in with the German (with my French bow close at hand just in case).

    I had a basic idea of the hold, but it definitely felt awkward for a while. But by the Sunday matinee, though, I'd refined things through trial and error. I was really enjoying it, and I’m actually considering making the switch, at least for now. The main thing I learned is that the looser you hold it, the easier it is to control.

    When this musical is over, I’ll start working on spiccato, etc., which is still a bit (okay, a LOT) out of control right now.
  9. talkingbassline


    Mar 9, 2004
    I started in french, but moved to german as soon as I could, I liked the power that you can pull, anyway, in the last two years I've found myself switching back and forth, dependeing on the style, and the mood I'm in at the time. Another trick I've been working on is to swithch grips as I'm playing, practicing going over and under. Two grips with one bow. I would like to get a custom bow made for me with a frog sized halfway between a french and a german. So if you know anyone good, let me know.

Share This Page