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even bowing

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by bfitz, Sep 8, 2005.


  1. bfitz

    bfitz

    May 18, 2005
    lorain, ohio
    i have just started to play the upright more exclusively and i am haveing trouble getting an even tone from the bow. i play french and i have taken lessons of and on for a few years but i switched to electric for a long time and i was never that good with a bow to begin with. when a passage is mostly quarter notes i can get a nice even sound bowing them but when i try to play a long tone the end of the note dies out or gets scratchy. how do you keep even pressure through the entire bow? i am thinnking of switching to german to try and help, i hear that it is easier to get more presure into the sting on a german bow. is this right or am i way off? thank you.
     
  2. Practicing in front of a full-length mirror helps. Try to make sure your bow stays perpendicular to the string for its entire stroke; angle seems to degrade tone. Achieving this requires some suppleness in your wrist.

    Also, make sure your bow hold isn't too tight. Bow pressure should be dictated by arm weight, not by torque created by index finger and thumb. This can cause the scratchy tone you're talking about.

    I still play a lot of long-tone scales to keep the tone even. After 25 years, I'm getting there!

    Of course, a few lessons with a qualified teacher will help a lot.
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Quality of the Bow makes the difference. They can be very expensive but a better Bow will help avoid developing bad habits. I have gone thru that in my eariler years. Lessons and a Better Bow was the answer. You can't pull sound from a Bow that doesn't have it. Even sound at the Tip area is hard to come by. I have used 5 of the 6 Bows I currently own. Only the Bultitude is even at the Tip. The others are good but need a little help from me at the Tip if that's what I need. The Bultitude needs no help at all. My goal is to get as good as my Bow!

    Try out different Bows when you can to see this for yourself. You may find one for $500., or $3,000. or 8-10k.. You never know. Bow values are by quality of sound, playability and Name. A no Name Bow that is good can be 1/4th the $ of a name Bow if you find the right deal. Unfortunatly, the makers gain their name value from the great Bows they have made and not by Tenure.

    Zimmerman has a good Bowing book to help with this. Going thru it with a Professional Orchestra Bassist will also make a world of difference.
     
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    What kind of rosin are you using? Even a good bow is hard to play if you are using the wrong kind of rosin. Carlsson is my recommendation. Be sure to use enough to make the rosin work for you.
     
  5. bfitz

    bfitz

    May 18, 2005
    lorain, ohio
    before i got my bow rehaired a few weeks ago, i used pops rosin on it. i liked it, although i haven't used much else. now i'm using glaesel rosin that i bought from a local music store. does anyone have any opinions on that kind? one other question on holding the bow. i have tried a few different ways now and it seems that if i bend my thumb back to about were my ring finger lays on the stick i get a better sound and less strain on my rist. am i really off by doing this or is it okay? when i do this my index finger is on the metal wraping on my bow, past the leather, my entire right hand is really spread out. i'm not sure of the acctual names of these parts but i hope it kinnda explains it better.
     
  6. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Get rid of the Glaesel rosin and get Pops or Carlsson.

    Your bow grip doesn't sound wrong. Without trying your setup I suspect that you might be modifying your bow hold to make up for bad rosin. Let us know how it goes with stickier rosin.
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I like the Pops and Kolsteins as well. Both work for me. Kolstein is a little smoother and Pops a little stickier if you put too much.

    On Bow hold; I recently displayed a Tall Frogged French Bow on my website. To make things clear, I showed 2 types of Holds/gripping. You can also move up the stick and/or spread the index finger wider/forward. I have seen all of these variations by Orchestra Pros.

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Bows/Alsatian/alsatian.htm
    Scroll down to the bottom pics to see how I displayed the Italian and French gripping style.

    Heres one more pic to see my normal index finger position; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/ft/assemblysection/stress.html