Thursday, November 27, 2008

French or German, Teil Zwei

Note: I've decided to merge my music blog with this one. The following is a copy of the last post on my other blog. All future posts will be made to this blog and the other will no longer be updated.

About 8 months ago, I posted Bow Adventures, which described my troubles regarding the use of French vs. German grips on the double bass bow. During the time between then and now, I've worked exclusively with the French bow. That included the spring season with the Cardinal Health Chamber Orchestra and the recording of the soon-to-be-released second Billy Two Shoes CD. And so just now I placed and order for a new carbon fiber Finale bow - with a German grip (right).

So why the return to German? I didn't mind the French grip. Certainly, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. And those disadvantages can be worked through successfully. But one of the difficulties that I had was trying to transfer the weight of my arm to the string. I could get a nice enough sound, but it wasn't very loud. This is compounded by the fact that my bass isn't very loud to begin with.

I've been doing a bit of playing with the bow lately with both the orchestra and B2S. About two weeks ago, my first finger on my right hand really started bothering me. I figured I just overworked my bow hand and needed to give it a rest. It took more than a week for the pain to subside. Finally, I started playing again and immediately noticed the issue. I'm putting too much pressure on my finger trying to play loudly. The leverage in the French grip just isn't working for me without straining my hand. I played with the orchestra for two hours last night, and today my first finger is swollen and sore.

So back to the German grip it is. I think that's ok though. Yes, I realize that, with effort, I could probably work through my problems and continue with the French, but I don't really see the need. My arms are long, which lends itself better to the German grip, and I can easily get more power and a nice sound with this grip. Since one isn't necessarily better than the other, why deal with the pain, right?

Along with the grip change, I'm also going back to my old rosin, Carlsson (see my post on rosin for details).

The String Emporium is currently out of stock on the bow. They'll be getting the next shipment after Thanksgiving, so it'll be a couple of weeks before my new bow gets to me. Once I get it and live with it a little, I'll write a review. Until then, I'll have to reacquaint myself with the only other German bow I have - a cheap fiberglass student bow. Yuck!

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