Bow Hairs Breaking !!!Technique and Practicing: Do you ever get off watching your bow hair disintegrate in front of your eyes ?
From Joe Fischer
Oh,I really enjoy watching fragmented,broken bow hair flying before me eyes as I practice a piece;it gets me 'in the mood' to play faster and faster and,in a way,makes a piece all the more worthwhile to add to a playlist.
What are your experiences w/broken bow hair ?
From Nate Robinson
Posted on March 3, 2008 at 05:16 AM
From Danny SheuJust don't lose too many or you'll find your bow starting warp towards the direction where you have the least hairs.
Posted on March 3, 2008 at 06:55 AM
From Stephen BrivatiI`ve lost a lot of head hair and am now extremely warped...
Posted on March 3, 2008 at 11:50 PM
From Anne HorvathNo toupee?
Posted on March 3, 2008 at 11:55 PM
From John GreenwoodDear Joe:
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 05:41 AM
There are many reasons for breaking hair. Aside from inferior hair quality, a common cause is that the rehair person jammed the tip or spreader wedge at the frog in too tight. This can can partially slice the hair making it weaker and more susceptible to breakage.
Also, if the ferrule (the silver "d" ring) has a sharp edge where it contacts the hair, this could also cut into the hair.
Another cause is that many rehair people use a flame or heat gun to even up the hairs long hairs when completing the rehair job. Good hairing technique requires that the hair be made quite damp as part of the rehairing process. A lot of rehair people rush the drying time by using a heat gun rather than letting the hair dry naturally. Too much heat can weaken the hair.
When I execute a rehair, I always check for these potential hazards and avoid applying artificial heat to the hair. With reasonable care during rehairing, you should rarely break a single hair.
John Greenwood, Bowmaker
From Brian HongMr. Brivati, hats off to you. That was hilarious.
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 03:41 AM
From Jenna PottsI'm warped, and I still have all my hair!
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 03:47 AM
From Stephen BrivatiGreetings,
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 04:07 AM
Anne, hair is akin to a speedng ticket-
Toupee or not toupee
That is the question.
From Joe Fischerto hair or not to hair
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 06:24 AM
that is the question.
to loose hair COULD become demeaning
especially to aficionados
From Anne HorvathBuri, All that glisters is not gold; Often have you heard that told.
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 01:49 PM
Also, Joe, "loose" hair is not demeaning. It is just merely inconvenient, especially on windy days. I would guess the toupee wearers agree. I am not sure about if to "lose" hair is demeaning. I never break bow hair. But I have a terrific re-hair guy, that uses high quality hair. I also have my bows re-haired several times a year.
As for enjoying watching the poor bow hairs break, well, that is the Weirdest Case Of Schadenfreude Ever.
From Stephen BrivatiGreetings,
Posted on March 4, 2008 at 10:46 PM
`Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils ... `
I think Berlioz said that.
From Anne HorvathYes, Berlioz did say that. He also said (and this is my favorite Berlioz quote):
Posted on March 5, 2008 at 04:24 PM
"At least I have the modesty to admit that lack of modesty is one of my failings."
(Insert smiley face here).
From Stephen BrivatiSimply Fantastique!
Posted on March 5, 2008 at 11:07 PM
From Brian HongLOL
Posted on March 6, 2008 at 01:10 AM
From Ellie PhillipsEver since my youth orchestra started playing Symphonie Fantastique, there have been some jokes about our playing of it being "(not so) Fantastique". Anyway, today the conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Carlos Kalmar, guest conducted us. When we were playing the Dies Irae/ Witches' Round Dance section in the fifth movement, he said to "give it a hundred ten percent". One cellist also gave about eighty dollars worth of bowhairs – his bow literally exploded in his face. It was pretty Fantastique.
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 05:29 AM
From Carlo BallaraIn my opinion, breaking the hair on your bow in such a fashion demonstrates poor technique. Nothing else.
Posted on May 13, 2012 at 07:44 AM
From John CaddIs not breaking hairs the real reason for keeping the bow straight ? Then some joker said an angled bow ruined the sound ?
Posted on May 13, 2012 at 06:37 PM
From James FisherThis problem can be caused by bad technique, a warped, twisted, or overly flexible stick, incorrect tension of the hair (how tight you make it), the type of strings used, the quality of the hair installation, the quality and age of the hair itself, or some combination of the above.
Posted on May 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM
The first thing I'd look at is the stick. Check for warping, twisting. Is it stiff enough to prevent the stick hitting the strings, pinching the hair between stick and strings?
Next, I'd look at the hair and installation. If it's been more than a year since you installed it, get a rehair. Old hair breaks more easily. When you do, ask for fresh hair from a live horse, preferably from a stallion. Ask how often the luthier buys new hair. Does he keep his or her hair in a dark, air-tight location or out in the sun? It doesn't help to get a rehair if the technician puts on hair that's from the slaughterhouse and then sat around the shop, in direct sunlight for years before being installed.
Personally, I enjoy playing very demanding fiddle music - I sometimes feel that I'm attacking my violin! - and I never break a hair. Also, I frequently hear from customers after they buy a bow from me that their new bow miraculously doesn't break hair anymore.
From John CaddJoe seems to actually enjoy breaking the hairs . Joe why don`t you learn to read music ? Did you try and fail or decide to never do it along with your hair breaking habits ? See that space under the five lines. That`s where the open D note is written. That`s a good start for you . See that curly sign like a flashy signature written at the start. Don`t play that it`s not a note . Send me a fiver and I`ll let you know where open E is .
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM
From Paul Deck@Anne, my favorite version of that is "I used to be conceited, but now I'm perfect."
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 02:55 AM
There is a local pro that I've watched in recital many times. He just seems to break a lot of bow hairs, more than the other violinists that he plays with. I've not asked him about this, but it cannot reflect negatively on his technique because his playing is wonderful, always so precise but expressive too. I do know that he prefers a specific type of hair and requires his bows to be haired in a certain way that he's described to me in some detail.
From Kevin CorkeryNo one has mentioned bow bugs yet but if that many strands are breaking I would suspect it. Vaccuming and sunlight help to get rid of them.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 06:18 AM
From Nicky PaxtonI too am surprised that nobody mentioned bow bugs before Kevin. For further enlightenment, go to Search v.com, type in bow bugs, click on Search and you will find much treatment of this subject.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 03:45 PM
From James FisherJoe is breaking hair while he plays. Damage from bow bugs is typically found when the case is first opened (the result of the bugs feasting while the case is closed), not in hair that breaks during play.
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM
From Wayne WilkinsonJohn Greenwood said this above in 2008:
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 04:43 PM
"Also, if the ferrule (the silver "d" ring) has a sharp edge where it contacts the hair, this could also cut into the hair."
I was shocked to read it. That would seem to be a major design flaw. Why would anyone even make a ferrule with a sharp edge?!
From John CaddOnly if .
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 06:49 PM
From Cara WilliamsAm i the only one that found this really weird?!
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Plus - gonna cost him a bomb in rehairs...
From David BurgessOnly four broken hairs in ten minutes, Joe?
Posted on May 15, 2012 at 11:32 PM
For gawd sakes, stop being a girly-man!
I can't remember whether it was the Electric Light Orchestra, or Moody Blues who came into our shop claiming that their bows were nearly hairless after every show, but that's the the claim you will need to beat. ;-)
From Daniel BroniatowskiHi Joe,
Posted on May 16, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Usually if bow hairs are breaking, it's a sign that there is too much tension in your right arm, resulting in too much pressure onto the string. It's hard to diagnose your exact problem without seeing you play.
It's worth mentioning, however, that broken hairs can also be a problem if you don't have enough rosin.
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