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French style, German Bow

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Kevin Gordon, Apr 30, 2003.


  1. Kevin Gordon

    Kevin Gordon Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Lately I have been using a german bow but playing it as though it is a french bow. I like the punchy sound I get out of a tighter bow. The question I have is if by playing a german bow like a french do I loose some aspects of tone of the german? So far I have found no advantages either way and I can play what I want on the german without any problems. (I am new to DB and especailly to playing arco)
     
  2. Using a german as french or french as german... I don't think it's relaly a good idea either way...

    they were made certain ways with certain functions in mind, the german being gripped from underneath in the stlye of the viol de gamba, and the french from the top like the violin and cello (which actually used to use german bows, or so I am told).

    It's not that you should do it beucase it's wrong, it's that it's just gonna be harder for you...
     
  3. Lately I have been using a german bow but playing it as though it is a french bow.

    I`m not 100% sure but I think Ray Brown did that too...

    Dave
     
  4. I can see how gripping a German bow as you would a French bow might lead to control problems, especially once you start getting into techniques like spiccato. Too bouncy.

    If you are really into arco, I bet a better-quality French bow would give you the "punch" and power you want without having to change your grip.
     
  5. Kevin Gordon

    Kevin Gordon Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Yes I believe that Brown did the playing the german bow as french and when someone asked him why he replied "What the **** do you care." Anyho, I am planing on learning both styles on the german plus get a french. I was just curious if I was missing something major or if I was going to somehow destroy the bow by playing it another way.
     
  6. I dont' think that it's bad for the bow at all... it might be bad for you, or bad for your playing though...

    If you can do it well, that's fine. Les Claypool hold the french bown like a baseball bat, and see what that does for HIS tone?

    It's just a matter of control issues, not so much one of right or wrong... if you can do it well, that's cool, but then, I don't see how you are getting a punchier sound with a german bow whiel gripping it french either.... the whole reason that german bow has it's charechteristic sound is beucase of the way you grip it, and the mechanics of the arm and wrist in the position that one holds it, and how that relates to the pressure agaisnt the string, the amount of pressure distributed along the stick from frog to tip... as well as many other factors that enter with the differnt bowing techniques...

    again, no such thing as wrong, but there is such a thing as "Better"
     
  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Reggie Workman uses a German bow held French-style also...I've been trying it....I'm new to French and having a very difficult time gripping a french bow correctly. It's either because of my enormous hands or maybe my bowing teacher isn't instructing me properly...
     
  8. Kevin Gordon

    Kevin Gordon Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I've actually started using German grip most of the time now. You just get more power, but I still grip it French style sometimes.