Bow weight change
I bought a new bow a few months ago that I'm happy with, but one thing about is becoming a bit of a problem.
It is very light, especially at the tip, which I at first loved about it because it felt so much easier to handle, but now I'm realizing it's difficult to get really in the string and pull out a nice sound at times.
Would taking it to a luthier and asking to add more weight at the tip be a reasonable thing to do in this situation, or would it ruin the bow? I like pretty much everything else about the bow.
If the bow is too light, sell it.
If you find the tip too light, change the lapping for a lighter one of tinsel or silk. A lot of old bows have silver wire lapping so that dealers can get the weight to the magic number of around 60grams. If it was never the makers intention to have a weighty lapping, this will throw the balance out of kilter.
I'd recommend getting a new bow-perhaps bringing the original bow to a luthier or violin shop and asking for some similar bows. If you find the tip too light then there is not much you can do because every bow is quite unique in balance. Tampering with the bow will not be of much help and may actually make the problem worse. Eventually I guarantee it will become more expensive than just actually getting a new bow.
I have had the balance changed on 4 bows.
As others have said, it would ruin the bow. Bows are balanced in particular ways.
If the purse can stand it, rather than trade than trade it in, put it in your bow case, and buy another. Collecting bows takes up rather less space than violins.
I like Mark B`s comment. He seems really knowledgable about bows.
Andrew, I am very interested in your Arcus tweaking. Did Bernd suggest how to add the weight or did you do after your own plans?
As said before,you can change the lapping for a lighter one to get the feeling of more weight at the tip, not a big deal in my opinion as long as the bow is not too light already - say less than 60 gr. I have done it in a couple of good bows and half a gram can make a noticeable difference.
Thanks Andrew, I might test it with my Sonata and if it works well change on the S8 (I owned a Cadenza before that a befriended violinist wanted quite badly so we switched them).
Andrew, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when you and Bernd had your discussion about bow balance. I have three Arcus violin bows, and all of them balance at 175-176mm from the frog, which is "tip light" by traditional standards. But three for three tells me this was certainly by design and not by accident. I'm guessing that Ifshin's replaced your wood plugs at the tips of your bows with lead, as is traditionally done to move the balance point towards the tip (?). And I suppose that a bow modified in that way would require a new lead plug instead of wood at each rehair (?). I'm not inclined to modify my Arcus's that way at this time because the balance isn't a problem for me, but it's an interesting idea. I find tip heavy to be more problematic than tip light. What did Bernd say about his theories/principles of bow balance? Thanks.
Arcus bows are all tip light and there is some use to it. What is a bit of a problem is that I often have a different contact point when playing using the Arcus. As I also play as cm in a amateur orchestra bad enough for technical advices to other violinists this can be a real problem if people watch closely...
I had enough time with my ARCUS bows before paying for them to get used to the light tips. It took me about 1 - 2 weeks to acclimate. But as I got older I needed a heavier tip and, of course, when I switch to a normal bow I have to use different technique - so I tried getting the ARCUS bows tip heavier gradually - first lighter at the frog - then heavier at the tip.
Have a discussion with a really competent bow maker. Adding weight knowledgeably and skillfully should be safely reversible. It's also possible that some re-cambering might be in order - again, only by someone really competent.