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Violinist.com Interviews: Vol. 1

Our exclusive, one-on-one interviews with 27 of today's best-known violinists, including Hilary Hahn, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, David Garrett, Anne Akiko Meyers, Maxim Vengerov, and others.


Is this bow worth rehairing?

Instruments: To rehair or to toss this old bow?

From Robert Berg
Posted December 12, 2012 at 11:40 PM

An old, warped Sivori:

From Richard Thomas
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 01:39 PM
What can you tell us about the bow? Pictures?

Or you can just send it to me.

From Robert Berg
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM
I gave up on this bow. It's extremely flexible--over 500 using a Stroup gauge. It's also warped, and it weighs 65 grams with only half its hair, and no thumb grip. Its only redeeming value appears to be the name--it's an old Sivori. With so many issues, is it possible it's still worth doing something with?
From Sue Bechler
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Unseen I'd still say chances are no, but if there's a shop near you with a good bow guy, take it in for an opinion and an estimate.
From Robert Berg
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Assuming the other issues can be fixed... Do you think a bow that's this flexible, about 510--way more than any other bow I've looked at--might still be nice to use? Are there good bows that are this flexible?
From Draco Rat
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 04:35 PM
In This PDF, Gianna Violins writes:

"Over 450: Often too soft, but some surprisingly good with a delicate touch."

From Robert Berg
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Yeah, that's what got me thinking that this one might be just too soft. And then I found out about the warping and the weight...
From Robert Berg
Posted on December 13, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I showed it to the bow maker, and he said it would be too expensive to repair, considering the value. He described it as a "hybrid bow," half-way between a violin and a viola bow. It has the weight of a viola bow, but the appearance of a violin bow. He said it was a good candidate for experimentation, should I choose to do so. Now I need to ask the owner what she wants to do.
From J Petersen
Posted on December 18, 2012 at 05:11 PM
That's pretty warped and surprisingly heavy (about 5 ounces over what you'd expect).

Probably better to save the rehair money and use it toward a new bow.

From Robert Berg
Posted on December 19, 2012 at 05:47 AM
After taking it to the master bow maker, it appeared that there was no hope, given the warpage, weight, hair, and lack of leather. So, feeling that there was nothing to lose, I brought it home and straightened it, and added a leather thumb grip. Since many people seem to like the Sivori bows, I thought there might still be a chance to save it. Since I was meeting the bow maker anyway to pick up my cello bow, I brought it back to him.

I handed the Sivori bow to him without saying a word, and he picked it up, sighted down the stick, and said, "Good job." He rehaired it, added French polish, and tonight I gave it back to the owner. She was extremely pleased. Happy ending!

From J Petersen
Posted on December 20, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Wow. Look at the risks we can take when there's "nothing to lose by trying!" Surprise ending. Delightful.
From John Cadd
Posted on December 20, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I might as well ask. Have you seen the Berg Bow site ? Lots of sample playing to hear .Quite an outstanding composite bow .
From Robert Berg
Posted on December 21, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Yes. If only I had a connection there, beyond the name.
From John Cadd
Posted on December 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM
There is a current topic about the Canone violin (copies) and the references to some playing tests written about that violin. The player noticed a marked difference between the sound of each string and on the Berg Bow site there is a recording of the Chaconne .I don`t know what violin is played but there is a distinct sound difference between those strings. I assumed the Berg bow was causing that to be so noticeable , like four different violins playing. I shall pin down his name but there is only one Chaconne on the site . Stefan Milenkovitch is the young man`s name. A clean classical sound especially in the Polonaise Brilliante .A bow with a broad palette of colours and all well controlled .