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german bow techique..

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by shwashwa, Mar 19, 2006.


  1. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    can someone check out this dude's german bow technique and comment on it?

    http://www.nmt.ne.jp/~pinehero/

    its not how i hold it, but i've been messing around with it and kind of like it. is what he's doing conventional or urconventional?

    (there are some videos halfway down the page and some have better angles than others for viewing his bow technique. just hold your mouse arrow over the link and read the words at the lower left corner of the browser and you'll see the titles of the pieces. i could only open if it i copied the shortcut [right click] and pasted into the "open url" part of windows media player under "file")
     
  2. bejoyous

    bejoyous

    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    That is definately a non-typical bow grip. He seems to have to bass quite low so perhaps this is how he's adapted to reach the resistance spot of the string. It appears most of the pressure is coming through his thumb.

    There are many ways to how the German bow. I basically hold it like a pencil with most of the arm wieght travelling through my index and middle finger so that my thumb and pinky barely touch the stick. The bottom of the frog touches where the ring finger meets the palm and the top of the frog is at the root of my thumb. I've found this to be a very relaxed bow grip. The bow generally stays on the string.

    There's the Viennese grip where the index finger is on top of the stick and you can really crank on a lot of pressure on the string.

    I've seen others with a very vertical hand so that the frog is in the crease where the fingers meet the palm and they use lots of back and forth wrist action.

    Another colleage of mine holds the bow in a spring-like grip between the tip of his thumb and tip of his pinky on the bottom of the ferril (sp?). The middle finger is on the side of the octagonal part of the stick and the index finger touches the middle on the next flat of the octagon up towards the top of the stick. The bow goes bounce, bounce, bounce for most notes and his fast notes really pop out.

    So who knows what is "correct."
     
  3. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    i've been holding it the way that gary karr holds his in his video, with a bent wrist... this doesnt seem to natural or healthy to me or optimal in terms of physics. i think alot of my downward pressure gets lost at the bend in my wrist, making me have to push harder in order to compensate for the inefficient use of gravity. i've tried his grip, with a straight lilne from shoulder to tip of thumb,and i definately get more weight into the bow, therfore i can lighten up and use the weight that i have naturally more effectively and not have to push like i do with the bent wrist. i'm considering checking it out more. can you explain this viennese grip further? it sounds interesting...

     
  4. bejoyous

    bejoyous

    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Joel Quarrington uses this grip. The first knuckle of the index finger lays on top of the stick and applies the arm weight into the string. Joel sure makes it work well, but I found the torque on my index finger knuckle bugged me. I don't know much more about it thatn that.
     
  5. My teacher has tought me to use the same method as the guy in the movies. I am not to use any of my fingers but the thumb to add pressure to the bow, the rest of the fingers should only be used to steer and control the bow.
     
  6. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    wow...that bassist made the swan sound like a construction worker in the washroom.
     
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Ahhh, the power of anonymity.
     
  8. LOL!!:D
     
  9. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    not so anonymous... calvin marks, right?

     
  10. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    bingooo :)


    sorry but if you're going to post a video of yourself playing on the internet for others to critique, atleast make sure your intonation is decent. Some of those clips were really out there in pitch.
     
  11. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Why should that be a requirement?
     
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    And -- is the way your phrased your critique the way you would tell the guy face-to-face?
     
  13. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I also missed the part where the guy asked for criticism.
     
  14. Machina

    Machina

    Aug 1, 2005
    After watching several of the videos a few pitches were off, but for a guy setting up the piano part on midi computer and then rushing to get ready, I thought it was overall pretty good. And I think what is more important is that he fixed the pitches once he noticed they were off. *Also this is not the video of shwashwa. It is a video of someone else he found and he was wondering about the technique.*

    As far as bow hold: I saw the videos, but to be honest I could not get a good look other than at his thumb. In the Eccles Largo video it looked like the thumb was curled over the stick. I have seen several different thumb holds, but this one just does not seem smart to me. (As a german bow player.) The pressure would come from the thumb and you don't want too much of that.
     
  15. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I think it's a version of the Vienna-Streicher bowhold. You can still see Weiner Philharmoniker bass section members play that way...and if you've ever heard a recording of Streicher then you know how well it worked for him.

    Has anyone ever seen the way Ovidiu Badila held his German bow? To me, that's a good example of a crazy bowhold. It certainly didn't stop him either, though. :bassist:
     
  16. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    where can i see that? i love his playing... where can i see a picture of the streicher hold?

     
  17. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Ovidiu Badila:
    [​IMG]

    From the "official" site. I remember seeing another photo that had a great picture of his right hand while he was playing (not posing), very much the same hold...the third finger extended almost underneath the frog. I bet he uses it the same way I (and most others using a conventional hold) would use my pinkie.

    Streicher:
    [​IMG]
    Small picture, but you can see it.

    Google away!
     
  18. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    ok, so now that you've posted them, can you describe what about them is unique? i guess the point is that any grip will work as long as you're using the weight of your arm correctly?
    perhaps i'll post some pics of my hold tonight for comment. is that ok?
     
  19. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I already did, and I already showed them to you.

    Beats me. I don't hold my bow the way these guys do, and I don't play like those guys do either. I used to hold my bow the way Streicher does his, but that was because it lended to me certain things I couldn't do at the time with the Gary Karr way (well, actually, my teacher's way...but this is close enough. I wanted to be able to do some things, physically, that my teacher could do but I couldn't do at the time). When I was able to work that problem out, I ended up going back to the Gary Karr way. To me and for me now, it is the better way.

    I think that the mechanics of playing bass are valuable to learn and understand. Sometimes and for some folks, insight into mechanics can be make or break. But a lot of these mechanics are a mystery to me, to be honest. I can talk about arm weight and say it's the most important thing, but to me it's more like a piston in an engine. It's not the weight of the arm that's important to me. It's that the arm is free and not encumbered by tension...similar to a piston being free to transfer the energy of combustion to the crankshaft...and even that's too simplistic an illustration to me.

    Besides, I really just want to turn the wheels anyway.

    It's fine by me.
     
  20. Beebo!

    Beebo!

    Mar 31, 2006
    That's old school german style. I had a german teacher who played like that. He made it work, but it hurts like hell and you'll end up with a gross bump thing on your index finger, and I don't see any advantage at all. With the streicher grip the bow sits in the normal spot between the thumb and index finger, and there's no gross deformities involved.