• Wish list
  • Choose your store
    All countries
  • 0

Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Double Basses

4. The Bow

In what is becoming a recurring theme in this tale of "all things bass", the bow is another area where there is no absolute standard as such. There are basically two types of bow in use, the ‘overhand’, or French bow (along the lines of violin, viola and ‘cello bows) and the ‘underhand’, or German bow (based on the bows used on earlier instruments such as the viol). The choice is purely a matter of taste, although in the UK the French bow is by far the most common – check which style your prospective teacher is comfortable with.

Stick

As you might expect, bass bows are a fair bit more heavily constructed than those of other string instruments, with a greater width of horse hair to play on. At the same time, perhaps surprisingly, they are also shorter. The stick can be round or sometimes octagonal in section, but neither signifies higher quality, it is simply a matter of taste on the part of the maker. Pernambuco wood (from the state of Pernambuco in Brazil) is used for the majority of bows by virtue of its immense strength and spring-like flexibility. Brazil wood (something of a poor relation to pernambuco) is often used to make student bows, but the most interesting alternative material is carbon fibre, the use of which is rapidly expanding and is one of the only instances of a modern technology successfully flourishing in the ancient world of string instrument manufacture. While the world’s finest bows are still of wood, carbon fibre makes a good case for itself, both in terms of cost and performance in the low to mid price range. It has the added advantage of being practically indestructible and inert to changes in temperature and humidity.

Carbon fibre bows – German style (above), French style (below)

Frog

The block that is mounted at the held end of the bow is known as the ‘frog’ and is usually made of ebony (occasionally tortoise-shell or ivory) and inlaid with mother of pearl. The shape of the frog is the most obvious differentiation between the French and German types of bow as can be seen in the photographs. The metal fittings (the screw, the ferrule and occasionally the bow tip) can be of nickel, silver or gold, usually depending on the quality of the bow, and it is by turning the screw at the end of the frog that the hair is either tightened or slackened. When playing, the hair needs to be tight, but it is very important to remember that the stick’s natural curve (down towards the hair) should never be lost through over-tightening, let alone forced to bend left or right. When not in use, the bow should always be stored in the case with the hair un-tightened in order to avoid distorting the stick.

Pernambuco bow with ebony frog & silver lapping

Lapping

"Lapping" is the name given to the binding that covers the stick just before the frog. To a certain extent, it protects the wood from wear, but principally, it is there to ensure a degree of grip for the performer’s first finger. A variety of materials can be used, most commonly silver wire, but also whalebone (alternate spirals of black and off-white), though these days, it is more likely to be imitated in plastic!

Hair

Famously sourced from the tails of horses, it is the hair that literally draws the sound out of the instrument. Put it under a microscope and you’ll see that each strand is covered in tiny barbs – it is these that cause the strings of the instrument to vibrate when the bow is drawn across them. While white hair is considered the most desirable on the rest of the string family, due to the smoother, finer sound it draws, this is less of an issue for bass bows, so it is not unusual to see them haired in black hair, or sometimes a mixture of both, known as ‘salt and pepper’.

Your Contact People
Phone: +49-9546-9223-370
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Get Your Free Copy of our Hot Deals Catalogue!

More than 7.800.000 musicians are avid readers of Thomann's Hot Deals catalogue. Get your free copy now! More than 500 current offers!

Hot Deals
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Stairville Led Bar 240/8 RGB DMX 30° worth 66 €.
ABBA, swedish popgroup of the 70´s. The members were Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersen, Agnete Fälstkog and...
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
One of our groupies
Item arrived today safe and sound,very pleased with the service from your company and hope to deal again in the future.
garxxxumphries5@btxxx.com, 04.01.2017

Double Basses overview

Feedback

Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.

cancel