Basic Bow Stroke Technique - Double Bass German Bow
The basic bow stroke for double bass - german bow involves the following motions:
1) The shoulder initiates the motion, followed by the elbow, wrist, and fingers. The elbow will be straight and open. It may bend slightly as the bow moves from frog to tip. 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) Up bow - the frog is touching the palm of the hand. The thumb and fingers bend. The wrist is straight.
3) Down bow - the thumb and fingers flex and the palm pulls away from the frog (see movie). The wrist bends.
Notice the flexibility of 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.