INCREDIBOW - One for the age(d)? A new look!
In 2004 I ordered a cello Incredibow from Incredibow.com and because my order was misplaced/lost the company apologized by sending me a complementary violin bow as well. These bows are shaped like an ARCHERY bow and have rather heavy-gauge non-replaceable nylon/synthetic hair. They do OK, but my recollection is that it took a lot of rosining to get a good grip on the strings. (Some of the newer rosins marketed since those days may be doing better on it.) The cello bow weights only 47 grams while the violin bow weighs 61 grams. Both have a non-standard grip (that I find actually improves my feel for the upper half of the bow because of the stick's "reverse" curvature). Between the time I received the bows and 2009 I participated in several threads about those bows at Maestronet, Cello Chat's Instruments & Equipment, and here at Violinist.com (the last thread about Incredibow to appear on line in 2009).
I have a lot of nice bows for my instruments so my Incredibows have been hanging unused on a nail on the wall most of the past 13 years. But now I've become desperate to find some way to improve my bowing as I fight tremors of my aged right hand that are made worse for violin and viola playing by other shoulder and right arm problems.
So yesterday I took those Incredibows down from their nail and low and behold - they work like a charm for me - especially the cello bow works marvelously and sounds INCREDI-BLE on my viola. It really enhances the C string sound compared with my pernambuco bows, does as well on the G and D strings and is good enough on the A string. With my current tremor disability the way the "hair" works with the "stick" makes it easier for me to start a down bow gently. I hold the bow "around" the bottom end, not trying to stick my large thumb in "there."
Years ago I noted that one could do a pretty good spiccato with one of these things and it is not shabby for sautille either.
The prices seem to have risen from the $79 I paid years ago - but for someone who might be having bowing problems, especially an adult/senior beginner who hopes someday to play nicely with others, but not solo a concerto - this might be a good thing to look into. Get your teacher's OK first!
I will be trying this out on viola in public next week in two ensembles, throughout September as well, and culminating in Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Schumann sonatas with piano the last week.
I should add that I think these bows are also popular for use with musical saws - but I don't think that would enhance their popularity here.
I have a friend who does fiddling - superb player, using a very non-classical technique - who uses one of these exclusively. He swears by it. His tone is always very clear when using it, and he gets quite a lot of volume and control.
I too knew a semi-pro Irish fiddler some years ago who always used an Incredibow with great success.
I agree Trevor - I remember the first time I saw it and commented 'is that some sort of carbon fiber baroque bow?'.
I guess I should add that when I first got the cello Incredibow I used it quite successfully playing the Bach Cello Suites - but I only played 1 - 4 and just a bit of 5. I thought it worked well for that. It did chords & double stops pretty neatly as well as the moving parts.
I have a colleague who uses one of these bows on his cello, and swears by them. To me it looks a bit like a fishing rod but if you can get past this, I can't but that is my failing, it seems to be a very good tool.
Interesting, never had one in my hands.
The original owners of the company died quite awhile back and the kids took over the company.I'm not sure if the company has been sold since.
I have several Incredibows and have used them with both my acoustic and electric fiddles over the past 15 years. They have held up well and I have never broken a strand of the hair on any of them. The early ones had a much more "bow and arrow bow" look to them, and I bought a featherlight one from the original owner, and the others on EBay when they come up.
I wish my hair was this stable...
Thanks for this info Dave. Andrew really had me curious after reading about these. I went to the site and tried to put one on my cart. Apparently the cart function doesn't work.