National Symphony Orchestra principal bassist Robert Oppelt put together a great page of information about the wide variety of grips used by professionals on the German bow. As a French bow player, I always find myself struggling when offering advice to students on how exactly to approach the subtleties of German bow technique, and this page is a wonderful survey of the methods used by professionals.
Robert has a great synopsis of the various German bow grips commonly used, along with a photo for each one. Here’s a brief synopsis–you’ll definitely want to check out his site for descriptions of the following grips (plus the accompanying photos):
- Two fingers on top, free thumb
- Like the previous, but only the first finger applies the weight
- Two fingers on top, assisted by the thumb on the stick
- One finger on top and thumb on top
- Fingers on top, thumb buried under first finger
- Side of the thumb on top along stick, fingers on side (or tip of first finger on top)
- Similar to (6), but the thumb is less on its side, more on its tip
- Thumb on top along stick, frog deep in hand
- Thumb along stick, frog very deep in hand, wrist very bent
- Straight thumb, bow further out in fingers and thumb
- Thumb wraps over stick at about 45 degree angle, stick not completely deep in the hand
This is a fantastic resource for bassists everywhere, and I know that I’ll be referring to it frequently in my own teaching.
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