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That moment when you find a great bow that works with your bass, but....

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Ron Plichta, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    it's German and I play French.

    I had my bass in the shop and the luthier had a V. Schaeffer silver mounted bow sitting on his stand that he was using to test out my bass. I played it against my Prochownik bow and it made a huge change in volume and depth of sound.

    As I said, I normally play French, but didn't have too many issues adapting the German grip in the shop, so I have it home on trial. My issue in the past with German was getting to the E string comfortably. Not so today. perhaps it's just the few years of practice have made it easier to adapt.

    So now I'm wondering if I should take a chance on locating one with a French grip or take the sure thing and learn German? BTW, my instructor plays German.
  2. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here. Personally, I play French, but it couldn't hurt me to spend some time learning and working on German. If I ran across a German bow that did what you describe, I would consider that the perfect opportunity to do just that. Especially considering your instructor plays German. At the same time, I would stay on the lookout for a French bow that could match/beat the German. If I couldn't find one that did, and if my chops would allow it, I suppose I'd become a primarily German player.
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Welcome to the dark side - Go German; you'll learn to negotiate the E w/out problems
    Don Kasper, Tom Lane and csrund like this.
  4. Yep, you just turn the bass to the left a little when you go for the low notes while playing German.

    It's best to assess each bow on its' own merits. My little collection includes a great old German Seifert and a newish Prochownik Sartory copy.

    They both kick ass. Some days I like one better than the other. It always changes.
  5. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    What are your musical goals & age? I'd recommend at least a cheap German for lessons so you can at least teach both grips.
    French still seems to be the primary bow for career classical players in the US - if that is a goal then sticking with French is not a bad idea.
    If you are jazz player or have a more open goal, I'd get the German. German handles both grips better.
    Knowing both grips and having both bows is great for one off lessons with great players - you just bring the bow they play.

    I use German bow, if have to be on the E for a long time I just switch to French grip. I can switch between grips pretty quick, almost like butterfly knife!
    CaseyVancouver likes this.
  6. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    I'm 56 and came to the double bass about five years ago, so I'm starting late in life. I dabbled with a German bow before and moved to French due what I perceived as easier access to the low strings. However, I didn't feel any issues playing this German bow yesterday and so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    I'm going to practice a bit this week and told my instructor that I was bringing it to my lesson so she can offer some critique.
  7. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    The German is a bit easier on the body and delivers a full tone with less effort, French gives you a more delicate control faster.
    Playing and studying both speeds up all of it, though.
    csrund likes this.
  8. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    I've been spending more time with the German bow this week and getting used to it. I'll see my instructor on Saturday and let her evaluate my technique, but I am giving more thought to switching from French.
  9. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    If you have both bows and know both grips it is a choice you can make as needed, bow grips are not really the "life choice" they are made out to be. Each informs the other.
    Since both have great qualities the common wisdom is play the bow your teacher plays.
  10. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    I had my lesson this morning and my instructor was impressed with what the German bow did for my sound. She said I was more legato and had an overall better tone. She tweaked the way i held the bow and things got even better. I felt more comfortable versus the French bow, so both those are going up for sale and I'm keeping the German one.
    damonsmith likes this.
  11. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    French Bow??? "I don't know how you guys walk around with those things..."
    Welcome to our Dark Side.
  12. Bass_Cadet

    Bass_Cadet Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Unless you absolutely have to sell it, I'd hang on to at least the Prochownik bow.
  13. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    It's going. I have to replace the funds I borrowed from the family coffers to pay for the new bow.

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