Inspired by Rachel Barton Pine's yesterday's video ("RBP on JSB") on YouTube and driven by my own love for Bach's music which I happen to experience very similar to her... Well, what should I say... I'd like to try a baroque bow, and be it just out of curiosity.
It seems that a baroque bow is some completely different kind of an animal than a modern bow. I've got no experience with that at all. Anybody with an opinion on what to look when deciding for one? (Budget may be 0-500 bucks, nothing from the very high end but a decent playable thing to start with...)
I recently purchased a Baroque bow from David van Edwards (http://www.vanedwards.co.uk/bow.htm). I can't really say how it compares to other Baroque bows, but I can attest that it is finely crafted. It plays the triple and quadruple stops of solo Bach smoothly, with less effort than with my modern bow. On the other hand, I find the tone it produces a little softer, kind of wispy, and off-the-string strokes like saultille are more difficult to accomplish. I feel that playing with it teaches me something about how to approach Baroque music, particularly solo Bach, even if I ultimately use my modern bow more often.
With much regret, I suggest e-bay. I've gotten quite a few for customers and they have had little complaint. The bow rehairer, on the other hand, cusses them and charges extra to re-cut the mortices on the first rehair.
If you're going to buy a cheap ebay bow, make sure you get one with outward camber, all the rest are fake baroque that bow in like a modern bow, a baroque bow bows slightly outward or straight under tension, not inward like a modern bow.
While you're at it you can get a cheap Chinese violin on eBay and saw a couple of inches off the fingerboard. Voila! Baroque violin.
Broadly speaking there's two kinds of Baroque bows: long bow for high Baroque (Bach, Handel), and short bow (early 17th century Italian music, French dances, etc).
Paul, an advantage of the shorter fingerboard is no more rosin dust deposits on same, and it's easier to clean rosin off the strings. Other advantages are that the instrument is lighter, and an argument could be made that it projects better.
Glenn Braun built me a lira da braccio and I love the Renaissance-style bow he included. He also sells the bows separately, probably better for continuo playing than virtuoso violin, but I love the clip-in frog (no threads) and the big concave shape!
What the intent of my question originally was... Is there anybody out there who regularly uses a baroque bow, is used to its behavior and has experience with decent and poor ones, like most of us have experience with decent and poor modern bows. I'd like to get some hints on what to check it, be it material, form of stick and tip, advantage and disadvantage of different frog types, length, weight and weight distribution, etc. etc. What should a good baroque bow feel like when played, how could it sound, what would be the difference to a modern bow?
I went through easily 15 or more bows/bow makers at an exhibition till I tried a Roger Rose. It was far superior and the least expensive (£600). I use with both my 415 and 440 violins and for most music up to Beethoven. Can't put into words its qualities, you just need to compare with as many others as possible. I've got 2 cheap (£30 and £90) Chinese ones but I'd never buy without trying again - I really no longer enjoy them.
Bud, and what is it you like in it, and dislike in the others?
Baroque bows weren't standardized, varied in regions and styles...in a same 18th century orchestra people used different bows just like you see old Beetles and brand new Teslas on the road. Clip on frog vs a bow with screw mechanism is another choice you have to make.
Compared to the other baroque bows it has a superior tone. It's lighter than my modern bow so more fun to use. Re-takes seem to come quite natural as does playing nearer the heel.
Trevor, I'd just hold it down and run the radial arm across it.
Speaking of bows, I am new to this site and I would like to ask a totally unrelated question. I have a J.R. Carlisle violin I would like to get appraised . I know there has to be a dark side in violin world and I haven't a clue who's on it. Any help would be much appreciated.
Appraised for insurance or for sale?
Hi Tim Sims, welcome. Under the rules of 'netiquette' it is considered rude and counterproductive to bring in a matter that does not pertain to the original post (OP). I encourage you to begin a new thread.
Welcome aboard Tim Sims.One of our members bought a Carlisle a year or two ago and after having some repairs made said he was quite happy with it. There is an old black and white YouTube video of Carlisle and his shop wh8ch might be of interest to you. I think you are very fortunate to have such a great instrument to play on.
Ebay! -- I may have been lucky, but I've bought snakewood bows, inward and outward camber, for under $100 and they're really not bad. They can serve as learning tools. I do shop carefully, read the descriptions and try to make a judgment about which of the Ebay sellers understand musical instruments.
It is really not at all difficult to recamber one of these bows, if you get one with an inward camber. Alcohol lamp + some Youtube instruction and you are good to go.
Thank you, Thomas. It's things like these I need to know. Now I know WHY I should try an outward camber bow, and not onoy out of tradition.
Nuuska, in my case I ordered a bow off of Ebay that was pictured with an outward camber, but I received one with an inward camber. I kept it because it was a well-made bow; I suspect that the bow maker knew what they were doing, but it was passed off for cambering to someone who did not. So I recambered it, and am happy with the result.