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French Bow Techique with Double JOinted Thumbs

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by MrSaturn, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. MrSaturn


    Oct 25, 2001
    Palm Springs, CA
    Hi, I have a private instructor for double bass/electric(we ahve been working our way over to double since there isnt really anything worthwhile to work on with my electric studies). Anyway I have been using a french bow, and he noticed today that my thumbs are weird. They are hitchiker thumbs that are almost paralel to the ground if i give a thumbs up.

    Anyway this is impeding in my ability to hold the bow correctly, the waythat he showed mewith my thumb bent inward through tbow. I can't seem to hold a french bow properly.
    Is there anyone with double jointed thumbs that have had problems like this before? My teacher said he has never seen that before.
    I was thinking that using a german bow may be better from what I have seen it used, with my thumb problem. But I have even less experience with german than I do french bow. I havent been playing DB for long, should I stick with french bow or should i confront him about playing german?
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It's not going to hurt you to try German, but wielding the stick of either flavor takes a lot of time and practice to get right. I have a student with Jaco thumbs and he's much more comfortable with the Freedom bow and dropped German and went back after about a year of fussing with it.
  3. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I have double-jointed thumbs too. Freedom bow was just too painful initially, so I settled on German. But see what works for you, all of our bodies are different.
  4. Freedom bow. Sheesh. :rolleyes:
  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    And don't forget Freedom Kissing, Freedom Tickler, Freedom Toast, and Freedom polish!
  6. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I'm just glad my Great Grandmother didn't live to see any of this crap, she most likely would have have hit anyone even if it was in jest with her handbag or any other convent object in the vicinity that started or used this freedom this'n'that crap. :eek:
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My great grandmother (1897-1979), whom I had the pleasure of knowing very well as I was 14 when she passed, would have done the same to the French.
  8. DONP1217


    Feb 6, 2005

    Attitudes like this are the reason the rest of the world laughs at Americans. Learn your history.
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm a freak for it all and follow it closely. Laughable is getting too concerned with European sentiments after the story of the last 100 years -- for a start.

    >| Political/Philosophical mode off. |<
  10. dblbassmike


    Apr 14, 2002
    Detroit, MI
    When it comes to choosing a bowing style, it seems that in the early stages it's up to the private teacher, or whatever is put into the hands of the student. Later on in a bassist's career, I feel that it is very wise to get exposed to both grips. Especially if one is comfortable in one bowing style, it is valuable to have the knowledge in the other bow style. I am a french player. I do have knowledge of the german bow style, but for me the french bow hold is more comfortable. I find that to be true with my bass professor. He is a german bow player, and when he wants to demonstrate something for me on my bass, he finds it difficult to play the same way as he would on his bow and same goes for me. So I would say try both, whatever feels more comfortable and gives you a better sound, go with it. Good luck.

    Michael :bassist:
  11. Krtalaz91


    Apr 12, 2009
    Warren, MI
    I just recently discovered that I'm double-jointed in the thumbs. I just started playing the upright about a month ago. My teacher and I use German bow, which I haven't really had any problems with (just getting used to the hand motion on up-down changes).

    I'm wondering about your left hand technique though, if you have double jointed thumbs. I know the proper way to grip the neck is using a closed "C" shape using the tips of the fingers, including the thumb, but when I try to use the tip of the thumb, it always seems to collapse and it bends back at the big knuckle on the thumb. I think that's why I initially started with just using the "pad of my thumb" for grip (more like with BG). Just wondering what your thoughts are.

  12. Ross Kratter

    Ross Kratter Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    New York, NY
    Artist, La Bella Strings and Phil Jones Bass Amplification
    I'm double jointed not only in my thumbs, but actually in all of my fingers. I play German because I can't get a proper hold on a French bow. In response to your question about the left hand, your best bet is to keep your palm as open as you can. The tip of my thumb tends to curve backwards most of the time because I rest the pad of the thumb against the neck of the bass, rather than the tip, as you suggested before that you do. It has had no adverse effect on my playing over the years. I hope this answers your question at least somewhat.
  13. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

    Apr 6, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Fishman Transducers, D'Addarrio Strings
    My right thumb is double jointed where it meets the hand. I had some trouble with it collapsing when I began playing. Over time, as my hands became stronger (and a bit meatier) the problem resolved itself. The muscles in my thumb now hold that joint in place and I have to really make an effort to hyper-extend it now. If I understand correctly, your thumb hyper-extends at the joint closest to the nail. If that's the case, I'm not sure that you can count on the muscles in your hand eventually gaining better control of the joint. If it's not causing problems, I suppose it's okay. What does your teacher think?
  14. I have very double jointed thumbs. No problem whatsoever. You're not supposed to rest your fingers joints so that the skeleton mechanically can't go farther, because of all the wear and inflexibility that causes.