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#1
I'm having some major trouble with bowing my upright, I can't get a good sound out of it. The night my teacher gave me his bow I was getting a pretty decent sound, but when I got home it sucked. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a rosin issue, because I buttered that baby up pretty good, I think it was my tightness, anybody have experience with this?

And my second question is: Should I get a French bow, or a German bow?
My teacher's letting me borrrow his French one for now, but at the Philharmonic 9 out of 10 use German, is it just a preferance issue, or do the have to different purposes?
#2
Isnt the ony difference that the german frog is bigger?

It may be easier to bow more quickly with a german over a french or summit.

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#3
HEY! I just picked up an upright after 5 years of hiatus and was real rusty with the bow, I've spent the last week getting back in the groove:

IT's all about bow angle, you have to drastically adjust the angle of the bow for each string, make sure it is completely perpindicular to the strings at all times, and adust the tilt of the bow on the strings for each string until you get the sound you want. You do want a fair bit of tension on the bow hair.

I find that German bow gives you more speedy controll over the tilt of the bow, but if you're having trouble gettting enough downward push on the strings--actually applying downward pressure to the bow--then the french is a lot easier to use; it doesn't require as much raw muscle. That's why a lot of students have French bows and a lot of experienced players have German.

Also, of course be aware of the distance between the fingerboard and the bridge and experiment with it/and change it for each string if necessary--though I'm sure I don't have to tell that to anyone that's used to playing bass guitar.

Man, now I want to put off my homework and go play bass
#4
The French bow is MUCH easier to learn on than the German, but you're right, a lot of experienced players do prefer the German. I would stick with the French because you'll find it a lot easier.

As for your sound issue, I think it's probably about pressure. Try and find the perfect amount of pressure, too light and you'll get scratches, too hard and you'll get a very harsh sound. Experiment, playing long tones concentrating on intonation and tone.
#5
Quote by FbSa
I'm pretty sure it wasn't a rosin issue, because I buttered that baby up pretty good

Too much rosin is also a problem though.

I had similar problems when I started playing upright.
I was used to bowing a violin, which is entirely different. With an upright you have to put alot of pressure on the thicker strings to get that nice even sustain of the tone.

The best advice would be to keep practising.
#6
damn all this upright talk, i want one now
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#7
To be honest, once you get into it, you'll find that there is little difference between bows, as some French are quite similar to German, and vice versa. Professionals tend to find there's not much difference, anyway. Try and be proficient in both.

French is probably easiest to start with though.

Check the tension on the bow by pressing it into the strings - it should touch the wood at the back fairly easily, but not too easily. Aim to play just below the fingerboard for general playing, as this gives you the most volume. Apart from that, just remember you have to put a lot into the bow to get a good vibration going.
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#8
When I played stand up, I played French for 2 1/2 years, and German for 4, and I have to say, in my experience, German > French, as far as bow is concerned. I would get that, just get used to how its played.

When it comes to rosin, if you put too much on your bow, you can cause a really stilted, almost raspy, almost choked, almost saw like sound, because that's essentially whats happening. You have so much **** on the hairs that they're pulling across the string unevenly, in spurts, which can cause some really bad tones. I found that the best amount of rosin to apply to a bow is usually between 3-4 passes of the hairs, while pressing firmly down. That gave me enough rosin on my hairs to get the sort of tone I wanted.

Also the type of bow that you're using will make a BIG difference in how you sound. If you're using a student bow with nylon/synthetic "hairs", and a fiberglass shaft, chances are you won't sound as good as a bow made from real horse hair and brazilwood. I would look into getting a quality bow, since that's the amplifier equivalent in my opinion to a double bass.
#9
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
The French bow is MUCH easier to learn on than the German, but you're right, a lot of experienced players do prefer the German. I would stick with the French because you'll find it a lot easier.

As for your sound issue, I think it's probably about pressure. Try and find the perfect amount of pressure, too light and you'll get scratches, too hard and you'll get a very harsh sound. Experiment, playing long tones concentrating on intonation and tone.



Wrong, the majority of bassist (especially predominantly jazz bassist trying out classical) will find the german style of bowing much more accesible then french.

Alot of experienced player prefer either/or depending on the situation, but typically if your a jazz gigger who could use arco for some slow tunes and then it goes back into the satchel, you will find the german bow a much easier tool to grab and play. Likewise, the french seems to be more often then not prefered by classical players, possibly because those skilled with it can quickly change arco playing styles. However, you can also change styles quickly with german - it just requires some more patience in learning the art of each bowing style.

All in all, as a beginner, I would choose the German style if you are going from a jazz background, and french if from a classical background(or if you wish to enter a classical style), and personal preference if neither.
#10
Most jazz bassists use arco once, right at the end of a ballad, if at all. In their case, the jazz guys usually choose the German because a) it's easier to quickly grab and b) it tends to have a more powerful down stroke than a French, so it's better to get that powerful, one-off, ending note.

Whether he comes from a classical or jazz background is irrelevant to which is more comfortable. I find that the French is held much more naturally than a German so most find it easier to begin with.
#11
So...

I just spent $130 on a bow and some rosin. I rosined the bow for about 15 minutes. Now all the strings are COVERED in rosin, the bow is sticky, and my basement smells like sap. Erm... what do I do?

And how important are the "type" of strings? i.e. pizz strings and arco strings?

Anything? How do I uncrappify my... everything? I'm covered in stickiness.
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#13
I have really nice Jazz strings on my bass (piz.), but when my teacher played it he got a pretty nice sound outta it, I think I'll start with a mid-priced French, then move up to the German. I'll be using the bow for classical and I'll be using me good ol' fingers for jazz. (As of now I have no Arco parts.)
#14
Quote by thefitz
So...

I just spent $130 on a bow and some rosin. I rosined the bow for about 15 minutes. Now all the strings are COVERED in rosin, the bow is sticky, and my basement smells like sap. Erm... what do I do?

And how important are the "type" of strings? i.e. pizz strings and arco strings?

Anything? How do I uncrappify my... everything? I'm covered in stickiness.


Try denatured alcohol or something. That's what you use to clean a bow, so I imagine it will have the same effect on the strings.
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#15
Are you sure it's not a technique problem?

I bowed above the neck for half a month before my teacher smacked me and said, UNDER THE NECK UNDER.

Also, the angle effects alot and how you hold your upright.


I bet i'm shorter then all of you
#16
Quote by thefitz
So...

I just spent $130 on a bow and some rosin. I rosined the bow for about 15 minutes. Now all the strings are COVERED in rosin, the bow is sticky, and my basement smells like sap. Erm... what do I do?

And how important are the "type" of strings? i.e. pizz strings and arco strings?

Anything? How do I uncrappify my... everything? I'm covered in stickiness.


To get rosin off of the strings the best thing is just a shammy of some kind (sweatshirt sleeves work fabulously as well F.Y.I) and elbow grease.
#17
Now that I've somewhat "figured out" what the hell is going on, I had a similar problem with my tone - it was as if, with some notes, there was a question mark at the end of them. Or that my bass had a cold. I then realized it was because of my low action - if you get ANY buzz on a note when playing pizz, it won't sound good when bowing. I raised my action, and all that stopped. Sure, it's harder to play now, but won't that make your technique better if and when you can hang with high action?
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#20
I broke my upright's G string

Actually, I'm rather relieved that I don't have to practice it for a while.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#23
I played the exact same upright 5 days a week (or 7 when I took it home for the weekend) for 4 years in HS with the same set of strings and never had one break. Some one must have been doing some seriously heinous **** to that string.
#24
Dang Fitzy it seems like your having alot of trouble with uprights. May wanna stick with good ol electric
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#25
Quote by silentdob
Dang Fitzy it seems like your having alot of trouble with uprights. May wanna stick with good ol electric

You know what? I agree. I think all this upright experience showed me that I should just stick to electrics. I'll have this for fun, but this is probably as far as I'll get with respect to upright gear. I should just stick to what I do - electric. Upright is fun and I have a lot of respect to good players, but I'm no doubler. I'm an electric bassist.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#26
Fitzy broke his g-string fingering a minor.

But seriously, i've always wondered whether you hold the bow with your second finger resting on the hook of the bow or inside the hook.
D:

I rest mine on the hook atm.
#27
Quote by thefitz
You know what? I agree. I think all this upright experience showed me that I should just stick to electrics. I'll have this for fun, but this is probably as far as I'll get with respect to upright gear. I should just stick to what I do - electric. Upright is fun and I have a lot of respect to good players, but I'm no doubler. I'm an electric bassist.


I will never be an upright player. Closest I go is cello.
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#28
Quote by thefitz
I broke my upright's G string

Actually, I'm rather relieved that I don't have to practice it for a while.


It shouldn't be a chore.
I had to save for bloody ages to get an upright, and now I play for at least an hour a day.

My first gig using it is on the 15th.
Should be great craic, as I play in a noise rock band.
#29
Quote by Bass First
Fitzy broke his g-string fingering a minor.

But seriously, i've always wondered whether you hold the bow with your second finger resting on the hook of the bow or inside the hook.
D:

I rest mine on the hook atm.


Hook? Proper (french) bow technique is that you have your thumb in the frog ("hook" I'm assuming) and then you fingers over the top of the bow.
#31
I'm using cello rosin (Hindersine 3C to be exact) on my bow. Is that why absolutely everything sucks? Could that be THAT much of a difference maker?
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#32
I really doubt it. It's basically just tree sap and I wasn't even aware that they made different rosins. I wouldn't say it would make enough of a difference to be that alarmingly bad. I've been known to lie before though.
#33
I dunno - maybe I have a cello bow or something? Bowing is impossibly hard. I keep hearing friction when I use a bow, and it all just doesn't sound right... I'm pressing too hard, too soft... I never get the right sound other than open strings. And I'm sure I'm fretting properly. Are there really such things as strings that bow better? Surely I don't have to plunk $150 strings on a $550 instrument!
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#34
Is your bow frayed or anything? But i doubt it'd make that big a difference.

Umm, are you bowing under the fretboard? And if your hearing friction, doesn't that mean your bow is too dry?

AFAIK there's not much difference between cello resin and double bass resin.
#35
Where are you bowing on the strings? If you're too close the the bridge you get a sound just like you would on the electric bass - sharper and more trebly. Are your strings full of rosin (that whit gunk)? If so, wipe it off and see if that helps. Also, try playing lighter, you may just be pushing down way too hard. The strings will help, but it's a little like bass strings. You'll sound better with a set of Rotosounds, but you won't sound like complete ass with a set of GHS Boomers (close though).
#36
I'z sure I'z playing in the right spot. At the upright stood up properly, I extend my arm and bow, and it's right under the fingerboard. I don't know if I have too much rosin, too little, the wrong rosin, the wrong bow, etc...

And the SHHHH is if I dig in too hard or play too light. I guess I gotta futz around some more.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#37
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Hook? Proper (french) bow technique is that you have your thumb in the frog ("hook" I'm assuming) and then you fingers over the top of the bow.


NOOOO you DO NOT put your finger in the frog! that is a big technique mistake! you are also supposed to always have your thumb bent and never straight(on your bowing hand)

and also to fitz, yes the rosin makes a big difference! bass rosin is actually a liquid unlike other instrument rosins. i know it seems solid but if you left it out over night it would melt...its like windows. when you see a really old house and the windows are all wavy and distorted its because windows are actually a state of liquid and gravity has pulled down on them over time.

also your tone is a direct result of where you are bowing, how you are bowing, and the force you are bowing with


im not really an upright bass player but im learning. because im an education major im having to take method classes and right now im in string methods learning how to teach string instruments. i actually have a quiz tomorrow

i hope this helped out!
#38
Quote by thefitz
You know what? I agree. I think all this upright experience showed me that I should just stick to electrics. I'll have this for fun, but this is probably as far as I'll get with respect to upright gear. I should just stick to what I do - electric. Upright is fun and I have a lot of respect to good players, but I'm no doubler. I'm an electric bassist.


I have an electric upright, best of both worlds.
#39
Quote by Casketcreep
I have an electric upright, best of both worlds.

I've got the same upright you have, friend.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#40
Quote by Casketcreep
I have an electric upright, best of both worlds.


And the worst of both too. You don't have the full convenience of an electric bass, and you don't quite have that double bass tone.
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