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German Bow Grips

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by golowcleff, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. golowcleff

    golowcleff Guest

    Sep 5, 2007
    Hello All,
    I had a bass-related website for a number of years, which I took down after it became bloated and too much work. Afterward, I kept getting inquiries about the page which explored how to hold the German bow. I decided to put up a very 'lite" website in order to make the German bow grip page available again. I hope it is useful, and please spread the word.


    Robert Oppelt
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  2. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Cool, Mr. Robert.

    I think my grip must change between #2 and the final one that you use.

    So I guess you have seen thousands of people hold the bow and each example is a distinct family of cases, in your eyes?

    I tried some of the others, and frankly, I don't even see how you were able to hold on to the thing. Was it hard for you to ape the grips that you've seen? Maybe it reminded me a little bit of the stuff they sell on TV like the garden hose caddy... and when they show the traditional garden hose spool they portray it as a frickin' trainwreck.

    I feel the way I hold the bow is how any human being would do it after a few hours. I'm gonna get a good look at my teacher's grip next week.
  3. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    Just because you CAN hold a bow a certain way, it doesn't make it a "thing". Some of those holds seem incredibly un-ergonomic in that they practically immobilize some fingers. I don't use any of those eleven holds exactly. All my fingers are curved, thumb on top, index and middle finger acting as one on the side of the stick, ring finger resting on the inner part of the frog, pinky on bottom. There is plenty of room between the frog and my palm to move the bow up and down with just the fingers.

  4. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member


    Yes, I would agree - (see photo at left). The space between the Frog and the Palm is essential to allowing the involvement of the (curved) fingers - both extending and retracting.
    YMMV, IMHO, etc., etc.
  5. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Thanks, Robert! I went looking for that page some years ago, and was bummed that it had disappeared. You've done a service in reviving it for all and sundry. :thumbsup:
  6. So, I see one missing, that I always thought was pretty conventional. Closest to #11, but with the tip of the thumb on the stick, somewhat to the near side. I was taught it as "Hold the stick like a pencil, then allow your 3rd and 4th fingers to land either side of the ferrule and control the bottom of the frog". Plenty of space between the frog and palm to allow for decoupling of elbow and bow motion in the turnaround. Would look somewhat like Don's hold in his profile picture, except perhaps with the index finger closer to the 2nd.
  7. jaff

    jaff Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Thanks a lot for this. Much of the time I think I'm close to # 11 and I think that's easiest on my hand and wrist, but I still corrupt the position with prolonged playing.