Thoughts on the Incredibow

October 16, 2017, 10:54 AM · I'll admit I was apprehensive about ordering this bow.Heidi has done a very nice job making it. Kudos to her!
I had no reason to worry.

I had the wood finish applied to it. Even though I know it isn't a wooden bow the finish tricks my mind into thinking it's wood every time I pick it up. I don't think of it as a CF bow.

Here's a few things I really like about the bow. The featherweight version makes faster playing easier for me compared to my inexpensive wooden bows.

I like that it never needs adjustment and is tolerant of humid conditions.

Surprisingly I'm even able to get a similar sound to my wood bows if I use a slightly different technique. Still not the warm sound of wood but not bad either! Probably ok in a setting where it isn't the only instrument playing.

I'll need some more time with it to fully form a solid opinion on everything about it. So far though, it's a winner for me and I would buy it again.

IMG_20171015_191232665

Replies (11)

October 16, 2017, 9:45 PM · Own one. Not for me.
October 16, 2017, 10:41 PM · You mentioned a few weeks ago (http://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=436 ) that you had doubts about the ordering process; how did it work out?
October 17, 2017, 6:48 AM · Since I introduced the topic of the Incredibow here 6 weeks ago I feel that I should chime in and say "Timothy, I'm glad you are happy with it."

I used my cello Incredibow on viola in several ensembles for a couple of weeks in the late summer, but have since reverted to one of my regular viola bows, which is now sounding a bit better to me. But I still am carrying it in the middle of my double (violin/viola) case, looped around the humidistat in the middle of the top (between 2 violin and 2 viola bows). Never know when i might want to use it again.

Edited: October 17, 2017, 7:35 AM · I bought one out of curiosity having read Andrew's post. I'm planning to experiment with it and was curious about the synthetic hair.

I'm a little disappointed with the quality of manufacture (gold tape and the finish of the "silicone dip", crazy glue to affix the hair to frog and tip--the hair needs a spreader.) The hair might actually be decent so I might at some point order some to experiment with a self rehair system a la Gilles Nehr's TĂȘte-BĂȘche bows, but the hair is very unevenly installed and hence the sound not smooth and even. The tone is not bad, I was surprised to discover. Better than what I remember of some early CF bows. But alas it doesn't play like a standard bow (not that I expected it to) nor an historical early bow. I think it could use a standard height frog, which I might swap in.
Interestingly, it kinda forces you to use a very square German bow hold. Useable, but as a novelty item.

Han, I ordered it, kinda forgot about it, then it just showed up one day. Upon ordering I received 1 email confirming the order. And no subsequent notifications re. order shipped. I think it took about 1 month, or a little longer, to ship to Toronto, Can.

P.S. oh, and they included a fake flower with a thank you note. I wish they'd stop that. Who needs even more plastic!

October 17, 2017, 7:18 AM · Jeewon, on which instrument. German bow hold suggest Cello or Bass?
Edited: October 17, 2017, 7:25 AM · Marc, on violin. I'm thinking of Flesch's definition of German hold, and what you see in a lot of those old 19C instructional books.

Because of the exaggerated, symmetrical, convex bulge, the stick has absolutely no 'give', and so any pronation or leaning into the bow is counterproductive.

It's kinda cool though and possibly gives some insight into why they might've played that way, way back when.

October 17, 2017, 7:51 AM · Jeewon, would you mind posting a picture or two of the issues that you see, in particular the uneven hair?
Edited: October 17, 2017, 11:33 AM · Here you go.
The Frog:

The left side of the picture is the playing edge. You can see how the middle bulges out and there are less hairs on the left, and there's that gap. The 'wedge' on the other side of the frog look rigid and flat. But there is only that gold band on this side, so the hairs are not spread flat.

The Tip:

You can see the hair on the right playing side is thinner than on the other side.

Tip:

Frog:

I think they could've finished it better. Used better materials.

Edited: October 17, 2017, 9:53 AM · Thank you for posting the picture. I find it difficult to see what you mean by "uneven hair", though. (edit: never mind, you added the explanation in the mean time)

I can understand it if you don't find the glue very elegant, but "not elegant" does not necessarily mean "not effective" or "counterproductive". (It looks like epoxy glue, not supergluel/cyanoacrylate, by the way).

Edited: October 17, 2017, 10:07 AM · A well haired bow will create a totally flat surface. Here the hairs along the midline (if you draw a line along the length of the hair and centre it, that is the midline of the hair) are bunched and so create a bulge in the midline of the hair. As such the bow does not sit flat on the strings. Along with the convex shape of the bow, this makes for a very wobbly ride.

By 'counterproductive' I meant the way you hold the bow. If you slant the fingers on the stick but don't add leverage with the fingers, it's fine. But if you add leverage by leaning, the convex stick keeps pushing back (I find this a problem with CF as material in all bows, even my more expensive CF bows) so I think the shape of the bow has a lot to do with it. It's just easier to not lean the fingers (hence 'square' hold, where the fingers are almost perpendicular to the stick) and just add finger pressure if you need it. With this stick, because it doesn't get that light toward the tip, you don't even need to pinch much, unless you want to accentuate by gripping with the bow.

Yes the superglue is effective at holding things together (I think it's guaranteed for 3 years or something.) But they need to squeeze the hairs between two flat, rigid pieces to spread the hair flat.

October 18, 2017, 8:03 AM · Han, I did the same as Jeewon Kim and waited maybe a month before it showed up.

I don't believe I had any tracking information on the order. I called in using my cc number. Heidi was polite and took my order. This seems to be a smaller operation.

I'm not a pro violinist, so my experience has been limited with other better bows. The instructions that come with the bow indicate that there may be some initial separation of the synthetic hairs that should improve after using it. This is part of the manufacturing process.

No it doesn't have the look of a very expensive bow. The construction technique is very different. For what it is though, I think it is hard to beat.

I believe the hairs took a bit more rosin than a traditional new bow normally would. After I figured this out I was able to make it sound much better.

For fast passages I really like how the feather light version responds. If you've been playing for a long time though this might prove to be too different to adjust to playing with it. For me, I like it and might look for another.

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