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French Bow German Style ?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Marc Decho, Sep 13, 2005.


  1. Hey Fellas and Gals, I just wanted to know if any of you have ended up doing this: I bought a French bow when I started studies with my teach, now she studied with Petracchi so she's teaching me the "Italien" grip with the thumb angled in the frog, I practiced it tons in front of a mirror paying attention to every detail and for the life of me can't figure out why I get fatigued and can't seem to get enough speed going, but then a while back I flipped her over started doing it German style and instantly felt great! good solid tone, great speed, easability in getting the strings I want, so i've ended up using my French bow w/German grip...I think i'm just a perfect match for German style whatta you tink ? obviously we are all different and adapt to certain things that other people wouldn't
     
  2. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I have an old french bow and my right hand has always cramped up when using it. I never enjoyed using the bow b/c of the discomfort. I have recently been doing the same as you . . . using an underhand grip on the french bow. It is more comfortable but I am not sure if I will continue and may just end up getting a german bow.
     
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    French bows are optimized for overhand grips.

    If you want to progress using an underhand grip instead, my own opinion is that you should switch to a German bow instead.

    Regardless your teacher will be an invaluable resource to help you understand your experiences here most clearly and guide you forward.
     
  4. Reggie Workman does the opposite. He uses a German bow with a French grip. I suppose as long as it is comfortable and sounds good you are alright.
     
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The only real problem that I see playing a French bow German style is that it handles very differently as far as how you 'twist' the thing with the smaller fingers on your right hand. With the French bow you can only get your second finger on the frog, where with a German frog you can use your 3rd of 4th finger for adjusting the twist.

    For me, what I'd really like to get a hold of is one of those bows that has a very low German frog, makingit comfortable to hold the bow either way.
     
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    The broader, shorter German frog and extended button allows you to maintain the German hold and keep the arm and hand fairly relaxed. I have tried to play my French bow with a German hold. You do get the basic idea, but there is a tension in your hand that you can not avoid.

    The bows are also balanced differently. Most French bows have a little more weight at the tip. A bow born to be a Butler will feel better and play better. If German hold is for you, get a German bow.
     
  7. thanks very much all, I was leaning towards purchasing a German Bow, just feel so damn guilty, my teacher wanted me to learn Italien grip first then go try German, i'm doin' it backwards, but i'd rather get the music out of me quicker then waste invaluable time on farting around with Italien technique ya know!