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French / German and CTS?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by tplyons, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'm seventeen and have carpal tunnel bad in my right hand, and controllable in my left with low action and lighter strings. I was wondering if a French or German bow would be less likely to cause my carpal tunnel syndrome to flare up. I already have a French bow but will consider making the switch for my health if necessary.
  2. megan


    Feb 29, 2004
    LA, CA
    I am using French bow and have CTS, too. Basically, I seldom use my wrist to bow, mostly using arm/forearm so it's still under control.....
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Any updates?
  4. groovinreuven


    May 2, 2004
    I'm with Megan on this one. In general it is a good idea to keep your wrists as straight as possible to allow weight to transfer through them (to the bow, or to the fingers on the string). This does not mean that the wrist should be locked in place. It does need to act as a bit of a 'shock absorber', naturally flexing slightly at bow changes, in reaction to the resistance of the string. For the left hand, try to make sure that each finger gets as much help from the others as possible, using all four fingers to support a fourth-finger note, for example.

    Good luck, and may you heal asap.
  5. BubBass


    Jul 6, 2004
    I've just returned to playing after a long (18 year) hiatus. Although at first I tried to pick up from where I left off by playing French bow, I found that I started developing all sorts of right hand and wrist problems, culminating in a mild case of CTS along with some tendonitis/inflammation in the wrist and my index finger. Eventually I decided to try playing German bow instead to see if it would help relieve the problem. After some time adjusting to the change, it seems to help. Naturally there are drawbacks and it can be frustraring sometimes, such as having to adjust to string crossings, etc., but overall, I have to say that anything that keeps me playing healthy is worth it. Besides, how many times have we heard of some conductor insisting that a bassist change from one bow to another in order to get the job? Anyway, good luck.
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    German puts a lot less stress on your hand for the same bow pressure. This doesn't mean that it fixes other problems like bad technique, though, so keep that in mind whatever solution you decide upon.
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Two pile-ons:
    From what you say, I'd recommend German. I had constant pain with my French bow despite properly holding it. I switched, and never looked back. I'm convinced that some people simply can't work with one or the other. Can you borrow a German bow for a few days?

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