Basic Bow Stroke Technique - Double Bass French Bow
The basic bow stroke for double bass - french bow involves the following motions:
1) The shoulder initiates the motion, followed by the elbow, wrist, and fingers. The elbow should remain straight, but not locked. A small amount of bend in the elbow is okay. There will be motion in the upper arm as it moves with the elbow. The shoulder should be relaxed so the full weight of the arm can be transferred through the bow and into the string. If the student tenses his shoulder and bends too much at the elbow, it will result in a small, thin, scratchy tone.
2) The wrist will flex and pronate slightly as the bow moves from frog to tip, and supinate as the bow moves from tip to frog.
3) The fingers remain flexible and curved as the bow moves from frog to tip.
Notice the flexibility of the wrist and fingers. If viewed frame by frame, the leading motion of the elbow can be observed, followed by the wrist, and then the fingers. When the bow changes direction, the elbow changes first, followed by the wrist and fingers.
Note also the speed of the bow and the amount of bow used change as the bassist moves from the low E string to the high G string. The lowest string is considerably thicker than the highest string. The student should move the bow slower and add weight to make the E string resonante.As the student moves to higher strings (A-D-G) he should gradually move the bow faster and add less weight to get a good sound.