German bow pizz

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Jerome68, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Jerome68

    Jerome68 Guest

    Nov 28, 2007
    N.E. Tennessee
    Jerome Heitmann, Jerome Heitmann Luthierie
    I have recently began playing arco bass. Coming from a jazz background, the bow in general, is somewhat alien to me. I am performing a peice of music that requires several fast transitions from arco to pizz and back again. I can do this easily with a french bow but I am now playing german and can not figure out how to change my grip, or what fingers to use to pluck the strings for the pizz parts. Any advice on technique?:help:
  2. JayR

    JayR Guest

    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, let me try and describe this as best I can. From arco, you want to release the grip of your thumb and first two fingers from the stick, and, while letting the bow drop downwards, hook your pinky into the crook of the frog, so that the bow is effectively held between your pinky and ring finger, pointing at the ground. you are now free to pizz with your first two fingers (a nice upside to german bow, in that you can excecute electric bass-style double-finger pizzes while holding the bow.) To return to arco, its a bit of an acrobatic motion, so you're going to have to spend some time practicing going back and forth (I'd use a mirror), you sort of "toss" the bow back up using both your thumb (pressing outward, that is away from the bass) and your fingers. I don't mean like, fling it, just sort of flick it back up into a parallel-to-the-ground position. The trick then is to get your fingers back into a proper bow grip. I'd suggest just practicing going back and forth a bunch of times till it feels comfortable. If you're new to german bow, it might take a while to get used to. Hope that helps, and it's just the way I do it, so don't take it as gospel.
  3. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    You can also keep your grip unchanged and just turn your hand so that you can pluck the string with your index. This way you can play quick arco/pizz changes.

    The other suggestion from JayR has the advantage of having 2 fingers free for pizzing so you can play fast runs, and you can also hold the fingerboard with your thumb for added stability.

    I would learn both. I personally use both.
  4. Jerome68

    Jerome68 Guest

    Nov 28, 2007
    N.E. Tennessee
    Jerome Heitmann, Jerome Heitmann Luthierie
    Thank you for your replies. I will be busy using your advice and getting this under controll tonight. The first performance is tomorrow night and will be my first time sitting with a string section. I am one of those jazz guy's who always wanted to play with the symphony, but never felt "ready" for the challenge. I had an opportunity to play this show with 45 days to review, practice the peices and get my so called "technique" in order; so I went for it. It is truly amazing how a certain amount of urgency can make you do things you will otherwise put off untill it's convenient. (Which is never in my case) I am having a blast and wish I had done this 10 years ago. (I've been playing professionally for 20) Thanks again.
  5. DrChill


    Jan 30, 2007
    New Braunfels, TX
    +1 for Dr Rod's suggestion. That's a cool idea, I'll have to try that. I only use the pinky hook and it works but it takes some gettin used to. Mechanically it's the just like the regular pizz technique, or theres a frog stuck to your palm . Just the same, only different. Yaknowwhatimean?

    Also I love having a bow quiver. I've worked out a cool technique of drawing back that last arco note, then in one motion tossing the bow into the quiver while bringing my right hand back to the fingerboard. Pull that off in one fluid motion it looks wicked cool... unless you miss the quiver and your bow goes bouncing across the stage. Then you look like an idiot. "There's such a fine line between clever and stupid."
  6. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005

  7. nickbass


    Apr 29, 2005
    Northants, UK
    Also the change is much easier, both ways, if the arco stroke is an up-bow near the frog
  8. chuck1073

    chuck1073 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Preston, CT
    Saw that quote and looked for a Boston address on your post.
    You must have had a stop over at Berklee....Dood. :cool: