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Bob Gollihur - Gollihur Music  Mark Gollihur - Gollihur Music
Bob and Mark Gollihur

UPRIGHT BASS SPECIALISTS... ON THE WEB SINCE 1997
 
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BOWS: French and German Style
Recent News and Updates
NS Design CR4 SPECIAL PRICING!

The NS Design CR4 Bass
is a very nice electric upright bass that is crafted in Europe. They don't come cheap - but here's a stellar opportunity to get one at a big discount. If you have been holding out - or considering buying the NXT (the budget version of this bass) - you may want to jump on this deal while it lasts.

SPECIAL LIMITED TIME SALE!
It's a moving sale at David Gage String Instrument Company, and their popular David Gage Czech-Ease "Standard" Basses are 20% Off for a special moving sale! Prices start under $2800 for this amazing instrument!

If you've been holding out for one, now is the time to act - this sale is for a limited time only!

Recently Added Products
'Okay' Logo Vinyl Sticker Parody Emblem for Bass Tailpiece
'Okay' Logo Vinyl Sticker Parody Emblem for Bass Tailpiece
Don't have a real Kay, but DO have a sense of humor? Decorate your Engelhardt or "CCB" with this parody logo (in cut vinyl), which is easily installed on (and removed from) your tailpiece...
Fishman Platinum Pro-EQ Analog Preamplifier with Tuner, Boost
Fishman Platinum Pro-EQ Analog Preamplifier with Tuner, Boost
This item is made in USA!Great new features and cosmetics in this replacement for the B-II and Pro-EQ II preamplifiers - switchable instrument mode changes the EQ points, new boost and phase... a real pocket powerhouse!
Fishman Platinum Stage Analog Preamplifier
Fishman Platinum Stage Analog Preamplifier
This item is made in USA!This new replacement to the long running Pro-EQ Platinum models combines the functionality and adds TONS more useful features, including a notch filter, phase control, built-in tuner, and more!
French or German Bow - Which should I choose?

Unlike the other stringed instruments, with bass you have a choice of bow styles. If you're new to the bow, how are you supposed to know which one to choose? Here's a quick overview to help you decide.

French Bow has a shorter frog, similar to cello and viola/violin bowsFrench
The French bow has a smaller frog (the part of the bow you hold) and looks more like the bows you'd use to play cello, viola or violin. It is also held in a similar fashion as with those instruments, with an "overhand" grip.
German Bow, with the taller frogGerman
The German bow (aka "Butler") has a taller frog and is held in an "underhand" grip. Generally speaking, the rest of the bow is virtually identical, using a similar stick, and is haired in the same way.

So what's that mean to you? Here are some additional thoughts:
  • There isn't one type of bow that is necessarily "better." It's sort of like asking, "what's better, vanilla or chocolate?"
  • Often, the primary reason that a player would choose one over the other is because "that's what my teacher played and that's what he/she taught me."
  • That said, many players feel that a French bow is better for "finesse" and a German bow is better for "power."
  • Accordingly, many orchestral players actually become competent with both bow styles and own bows of each style to suit specific performance needs.
  • ...And there are plenty of bassists who play French with power and/or German with finesse.
  • French bows used to have a substantial edge in the USA, but German bows have made a resurgence. We still sell more French than German, but not by nearly as big a margin.
  • Learning materials for French are probably a little easier to come by due to this popularity (and their similarity to the bows of the rest of the string family). So if you're not already married to one or the other - and are learning on your own - opting for French may ease the transition to arco - especially if you have experience with other instruments in the string family.
  • We always recommend studying with a reputable instructor, especially when starting the instrument or a new technique (like arco) - so ask your teacher which is best for you!
  • There are multiple variations of the grips as illustrated in the examples below, so don't accept what's shown as "gospel"; your teacher's technique or your learning materials may differ.



Products Related to This FAQ




The Fine Print: The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain and/or my opinions as of today and is subject to change. Like any topic, a great deal more information could be added—but the intent of these writings is to present easy to understand, quick FAQs, to address common questions and improve the reader's general knowledge. What's written here is by no means the authoritative absolute answer, I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on anything else for that matter. I hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you, that's the point!

I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints that help improve my personal awareness and the content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know.
Bob

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