German Bow Grip

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by SRawl, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. SRawl


    Oct 5, 2018
    Jonesboro, AR
    I started on French Grip, then moved to german with the most common grip, but have encoutner a slew of hand problems. I have scar tissue built up in my right thumb, so both bow techniques have become very painful to use. I'm trying to find info on the stryker/striker (unsure of the spelling), but have found nothing so far. With the Stryker technique both your index and thumb lay on top of the bow, which would help me alleviate pressure on my thumb. Does anyone know where I can find info over the Stryker hold?
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Maybe this page shows a grip you will find useful.

    German Bow Grips | roppelt (
  3. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Search for Streicher bow grip. There’s at least one thread on TB about it.
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  4. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  5. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Also, although it's grainy, this is a very good video of Streicher at work

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  6. My German bow 'grip' was resulting in thumb pain. So, I took some lessons with a pro. This, along with a lot of 'awareness' of how I was holding the bow and what might be causing the pain resulted in a change in technique that doesn't cause pain, and also comes with an improved tone.

    Truth is that everyone probably holds their bow a little different, and you need to find what works for you.

    If it hurts, don't do it. Find out why it hurts, and stop it!

    A key for me, was to stop thinking of it as a 'grip', but as a bow 'support'. Also, I found that I was relying on the thumb to transfer arm weight to the bow. Now, I think that my index and middle fingers do more (but not all) of the weight transfer.

    For an exercise, try to see how few fingers you can support (not grip) the bow with and still get a good sound. Experiment with different fingers and combinations, and see what feels and sounds best for you. Can you do it without using the thumb at all? (...not that you should do this full-time; just mess around to see how it feels/sounds and how you can use that knowledge to develop a better bow support)

    YVMV, et.
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  7. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    This a sort of "mix tape" from Streicher's recital in Tokyo - you get a very good look at his right and left hand technique here:
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
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  8. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    Odon Racz was a Streicher protoge
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  9. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    David Allen Moore's German Bow Course at Discover Double Bass had me rethink my grip.

    He advocates pulling a sound out of the string without thumb pressure involved. His thumb rarely even touches the stick when he's playing on the G and D string, and on the lower strings, it's just lightly making contact on the top of the bow.

    I'm still working on it.
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  10. I'm just curious... if you started on the French grip, what compelled you to switch to the German grip?
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  11. SRawl


    Oct 5, 2018
    Jonesboro, AR
    I switched to german because my teacher primarily uses german, and I was playing in a wind ensemble so being louder and having more powef behind my bow helped me have more of a presence in the ensemble, which was something I was lacking on French.
  12. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    When I was learning how to do spiccato in the beginning (I'm primarily a german bower) I had to do it the "Streicher" way but after a while I could do it no matter my thumb's location.

    The hard part about playing the bass is that it's physically demanding enough that one's root difficulties could actually be coming from tension or stress from other body locations -- hence it can end up a forever journey to achieve one's musical goals.
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  13. Ken Filiano introduced me to this and it greatly made me re-approach how I pull sound out with the bow. He had me play a scale in a lesson with just my middle finger and pinky on the bow. The thumb is there to help guide the motion more so than provide pressure. That's the index and middle finger's job, and weight is a better way to think than pressure. This was just using a standard American style German bow hold with cupped hand and the thumb draping vertically on top of the stick.

    I've found a lot of my beginning students, irregardless of bow hold, often think they need to use a lot of energy when starting the bow. I did too early on. The bow and string don't need that much to start strongly.
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  14. LaFaro01


    Aug 27, 2018
    I'm not quite sure, but isn't it David Allen Moore talking about the vibration of the bow, that you need to feel when pulling the tone out of string?!?!? If your bow hold causes pain in your fingers, you can't feel "any vibration"...;) so loosen your grip and feel the "touch" and the vibrations...:)
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  15. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Michael Barry Wolfe's book advocates a similar (?) grip, with no pressure from the thumb, and the energy of the back and arm going through the second finger, which he advocates should primarily support the German bow. It took me a few years to transition to his technique (with some adjustments) after my neck surgery, but it works and keeps me playing. It also allows the use of very light bows (Arcus, Prochownik) to get a very big sound on low tension strings with minimal bridge height.

    Michael Barry Wolf’s New Dutch School Grundlagen der Kontrabass
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  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 27, 2021

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