Bow Questions

November 1, 2006 at 12:08 AM · I have a few questions regarding bows, and would love to hear opinions.

1: When a bow's weight is given, is it with or without the hair?

2: How many of you prefer the extra stiffness of an octagonal bow?

3: How long does it take to damage a bow by leaving it tight? Obviously, leaving it in a hot car in the summer will kill it pronto, but let's say you leave it tight in your home. Will this really hurt it at all? If so, how long would it take?

4: If a bow IS slightly de-cambered, how would a bow tech know? Putting it another way: Can a good tech evaluate a bow, and somehow know intrinsicly that it will perform better with more camber, or is it more of a "try it and see" approach?

Replies (58)

October 31, 2006 at 01:16 AM · Forgot one:

Does horsehair go bad if you don't use the bow? I read somewhere that it gets dry & brittle after 8-12 months, but I've learned not to believe everything I read on the internet.

November 1, 2006 at 02:24 AM · 1. Unless otherwise specified, weights usually include hair.

2. Octagonal bows aren't necessarily stiffer than round. Stiffness depends mostly on thickness of the shaft, cambering, and the inherent strength of the wood; octagonal bows can be rather flexible, and round bows can be very strong. I like both strong and supple sticks (they each have their virtues), but my favorite bow right now is pretty flexible.

3. I don't know; I've never tried. Presumably it would take a long time to completely ruin a bow, considering how many hours people play on a bow without needing it recambered.

4. From what I've seen, the really good bow guys and girls do know what to do to change the properties of a bow, and it's not a trial-and-error thing so much. I don't know how they do it.

As for your extra question, I've had hair last for years without a problem. The problem with old hair (apart from breaking) is mostly that it gets gunked up and stops holding fresh rosin well. It can usually be revived by careful cleaning.

November 1, 2006 at 03:15 AM · Peter, I have a octagonal Millant which is relatively thin, and it is octagonal. While it doesn't play as stiffly as my octagonal E.F Ouchard, it definately has some bite.

Personally, I tend to gravitate toward octagonal bows. I have no idea why, but 3 of the 4 bows I've bought have been octagonal.

November 1, 2006 at 09:44 AM · Just to be clear, I'm not saying that all thin sticks are floppy, or anything else like that -- all I wanted to say was that stiffness comes from several factors. Whether a bow is round or octagonal isn't by itself enough information to tell you anything about the bow's playing qualities. There are plenty of round Sartorys that are strong sticks.

Actually, I think octagonal bows are prettier than round bows, yet all three of my bows are round. Go figure.

November 1, 2006 at 05:20 AM · Normally, the nature of the octagonal bow, is usually to make it more stiff. But I have tried Tourte (octagonal) bows as well as Kittel, that were really great.

But for the most part, other bows made as octagonal sticks, tend to be stiff.

BTW Allan, even a good player can tell when a bow needs more camber etc.

It is also very easy to tell if the bow is warped or not.

November 1, 2006 at 10:32 AM · I've had the privilege of borrowing a peccate and a tubbs bow and both are the best I have played on. Both round.

WEIGHT is the most important thing for me. Light bows do not produce the sound I need. Weight and n excellent hairing and resin.

November 1, 2006 at 04:52 PM · I have an 1850 Nicholas Maire that weighs in at nearly 62 grams. Yet this bow feels incredibly light because of the way the balance is set up. To this day, I haven't felt a bow that felt lighter than that Maire during playing. I've got a 56 gram Eugene Sartory that feels heavier than that Maire because of the balance.

I used to be "camber crazy", but I stopped. My best bow is pretty badly warped to the right and was that way before I got it. Yet it plays great, though I'm sure that a proper recamber would cause it to play even better. One day I'll probably get it straightened out.

Similarly, I have an octagonal Albert Nurnberger that is one of the smoothest bows I've ever played. Nurnbergers in general I feel are every bit comparable to French bows in playability at a fraction of the price.

Nowadays, I select bows not by pedigree but by sticking my hand into boxes and coming up with sticks that feel good. Often a fine bow can be bought for ridiculously low sums of money, like the Vuillaume model bow I got for $50 that had an ivory frog and adjuster.

November 1, 2006 at 06:56 PM · Kevin,

I love the fact that you choose bows, and violins for that matter, based on sound & feel, not on the pricetag or maker's name. My hat's off to you.

November 1, 2006 at 08:04 PM · I have a gorgeous bow that I got from Aaron Rosand, a Guayo. Whose he? Beats me. Aaron liked his bows so doggone much that he ordered ten of them years ago from Venezuela when he was touring there. Aaron said Guayo was a teenager who had this superior Pernambuco and the talent to make a superior bow. He said he likes them as much as his Kittel. But, Guayo stopped making bows and will only repair them. How much is it worth? Probably very little as..whose Guayo, never heard of him. But it plays magnificantly.

In choosing a bow, when we lived in Colorado, my neighbor, the ranked #2 skier in the world taught me how to find the best skis. (bows) Stein asked me, "do the skis turn whenever and wherever you want them to turn? Do the skis make you skiing easier?" and the last, but most important question from Stein, "do they stop when you want them to stop before crashing into the little old ladies and the steel buildings at the base? If you answered yes to all these then what more do you need." Sounds like a way to choose a good bow, too.

November 1, 2006 at 09:16 PM · My current bow is a brazillian made bow and for what it is it matched up well with the peccate an tubbs bows. I like it a lot and with a good hairing I can produce some lovely transparent sounds

November 2, 2006 at 02:00 AM · There is a good reason why everyone gravitates towards a Tourte and a Peccatte for that matter. :) Just like there are a great many reasons why so many gravitate towards a Strad and a Del Gesu.

No matter how you slice it, a well made bow that everyone usually wants is made in..................................FRANCE (circa 1840-1860).

November 2, 2006 at 07:01 PM · Bumping this back. I still don't have many actual answers. Sure would like some more opinions.

As for the hair thing, three different bow techs gave me three different answers. What else is new?

I actually found a scientific study online that says hair NEVER goes bad. This study claims that hair does not have little barbs to hold the rosin, as is commonly beleived, and so it cannot wear out. The claim (based on testing of some sort) is that you can play for 20 years on the same hair, as long as it doesn't break.

Who to believe?

November 2, 2006 at 07:29 PM · The hair/barb thing is correct and well-established, there are no barbs, it's the rosin which creates friction on the string.

Hair does seem to get clogged though (old rosin bonded to the surface of the hair??), and repeated cleaning gets mixed reviews, so I'm not sure it's correct to say that hair is essentially ageless.

As to weighing bows--bow drawings often specify as to weight with or without hair, but the norm is with. It's a more sensible norm, since a bow will always end up with hair on it, but not all bows will be available hairless to weigh.

November 2, 2006 at 07:38 PM · Thanks, Allan.

I don't go by reputation or even pedigree, as all wooden instruments are unique and thus have to be judged individually. If an instrument looks good, plays well, and is within my affordable budget for the specific instrument, I'm going to pay for it regardless of what people say or think. I know what I like in violins and nobody of any caliber is going to convince me otherwise, though I respect their opinions and agendas.

I listen to instruments with my ears and see them with my eyes. I DO NOT hear instruments with my eyes (e.g. "That has got to be a lousy sounding instrument because it doesn't have a certificate") nor see them with my ears (e.g. "That sounds great" just because the violin was made by a big name maker). I've seen too many no-pedigree violins that blew away pedigreed instruments to put much faith in labels or certificates - at least as my own needs go.

November 3, 2006 at 12:48 AM · Allan,

I think most professional players will tell you, that there comes a time after many hours of playing, that the hair is just simply "shot", and no longer grips the strings as it should.

I feel the same way. And not all "horse" hair is the same.

And BTW,there is also the issue of "mites" getting into the hair and really destroying it. That has happened to people.

..........................................................

Kevin,

As you share your pearls & clams of wisdom, you should consider that comparing the great instruments (fiddles & bows) of the Golden Age (to very basic cheap instruments) is very much like apples and oranges.

And to preach to those who may have never tried playing Tourtes, Peccattes, Del Gesus or Strads, that "I've seen too many no-pedigree violins that blew away pedigreed instruments to put much faith in labels or certificates" is rather an arrogant but ignorant statement.

Driving a bicycle or AMC or a FIAT is not the same as driving a Ferrari or a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce for that matter.

As one gains experience and is exposed to playing some great historic instruments, one begins to understand the difference no doubt.

The other thing to remember, is that there are instruments that sound great under the ear, but you play them in the hall, and they cannot project past 3 feet.

So there are many factors involved in making sound decisions when choosing instruments.

When purchasing instruments, certification is of utmost importance for when time comes to unload whatever it is you have, without the proper papers, consider yourself stuck in a major bind.

November 3, 2006 at 12:57 AM · This is very strange but Gennady and I are sharing many opinions these days. I'm glad I'm sitting down.

I too have voiced my opinion about people who go on and on about that $2000 german violin that sounds better than the Soil. I say let's all be happy with what we have now, perhaps aspire to something better within reason, but respect what might be unntainable and not get into the whole thing of deriding labels and origin. Yes, you can argue certain things are rediculously overpriced, but there's a reason pro players (even ones without big incomes) are playing on old expensive instruments... a lot of them sound better. Accept it, get over it.

About selling stuff, well most of the time stuff doesn't sell right away. It will probably take me a few months to a year to sell the violin I have righ t now to buy something else.

November 3, 2006 at 01:52 AM · You are all right, but it is usually 12-15 months before hair gets brittle.

November 3, 2006 at 02:27 AM · Pieter,

Looks like you are maturing..........:)

November 3, 2006 at 03:56 AM · "I hope I die before I get old."

Pete Townsend

November 3, 2006 at 05:50 AM · Gennady, it's far more "arrogant and ignorant" to trash a violin that doesn't have a certificate when you neither have seen or played it. It's also far more "arrogant and ignorant" to claim that a violin has functional superiority over another just because it has a certificate and the other doesn't. Not all great violins have certificates, and not all certificates guarantee quality of performance or even authenticity. Besides, certificates can be obtained even for previously unknown instruments - been there, done that.

November 3, 2006 at 07:18 AM ·

November 3, 2006 at 08:44 AM · Kevin,

You are way out of your league. And like I have said before, (thin ice is under you).............

BTW, since you seem to be obtuse on this subject and insist........I will reiterate what I have told you months ago when your buddy John T. was expelled from v.com as well as maestronet for trying to push bogus instruments on people (along with...)The many photos he sent to me as well as Preston H, were far from genuine and were bogus instruments the kind one sees on Ebay.

So I suggest you smarten up, and keep your chatter to a minimum.

Also, I suggest you correct your bio where it reads Schools.

Attending Julliard Pre-College does not constitute nor qualify you to claim you're a Julliard Graduate.

To reiterate:

When purchasing instruments, certification is of utmost importance for when time comes to unload whatever it is you have, without the proper papers, consider yourself stuck in a major bind.

November 3, 2006 at 01:17 PM · Mr. Filimonov, you are incorrect.

I NEVER EVER claimed I was a Juilliard Graduate. In fact, I've gone through great public pains to emphasize that I am NOT. Do your search and you'll find you wrote a lie about me online. Yet if you check the Juilliard Archives, my name will pop up for the time I attended the school. It says "schools" on the bio page, not "graduate". Writing lies about me in public like what you did is SLANDEROUS and utterly unbecoming of a violin professional like you.

No true assessment of any instrument can be made without proper inspection IN PERSON. Looking at photos can be extremely telling, but they often do not tell the whole picture depending on what one is looking at. This is why when violin appraisals are done, measurements are taken, the instrument is re-photographed, and a written description is documented. NOBODY of any caliber should be making decisions on value on ANY instrument based solely on photographic evidence - especially over the Internet where resolution is usually inferior to that of even digital quality.

As far as certificates go, I have a violin that I just put into a MAJOR violin shop that will sell with that shop's certificate on it - and for a significant amount of money. Clearly that violin shop agrees with my monetary assessment of that particular instrument.

November 3, 2006 at 01:46 PM · Hi,

I think that the adverse reaction to playing and noticing the greatness of great instruments comes from our inability to play them. You cannot play a Strad or Del G├ęsu the same way. Just like an inneficient bow technique cannot allow you to appreciate the greatness of a great bow.

Cheers!

November 3, 2006 at 01:55 PM · I completely agree Christian, and that's why we often seek advice from those who know better !

November 3, 2006 at 03:50 PM · Jeez, I thought we were discussing bows!

-but OK, I'll play too:

Christian makes one great point, though it has little to do with the great Gennady-Kevin debate: A great instrument will typically sound bad in the hands of a lesser-skilled player. That's true of ANY instrument, not just violins. The reason is that a great instrument offers the player many colors & nuances, which take skill to control & manipulate. Without such skill, the instrument can easily veer into unwanted, subjectively "bad" sound while played.

I suppose this must also be true of bows. I have never used a Pecatte, Tourte, or the like, so there's no way I can say. I would be stunned, however, to find in a blind-test that there are NO bows made in the last 50 years that can compare to the best from those masters.

(Hey, we're back to discussing bows again....)

November 3, 2006 at 03:18 PM · I totally agree with benny, Christian, and Allan.

A few years ago, a salesman at the wonderful "Machold" shop in NYC (they deal in great old violins of all types) told me exactly the same thing - that better instruments require a different kind of technique and thus are often not immediately appreciated by people used to playing lesser gear.

November 3, 2006 at 04:45 PM · Kevin,

I believe you are in need of medical assistance.

You obviously are not clear in your thinking.

Now you are contradicting yourself (from your previous post).

Christian has agreed with my post regarding "apples & oranges" in relation to playing great old fiddles and bows as opposed to playing on cheap stuff.

And as for your accusation, I don't have to remind you of actual defamatory statements you have made about me in the past do I?

Your current BIO states Julliard for School.

To be more exact, it should be what it is.

So which is the lie, the fact that you are not a Julliard grad, or the fact that you avoid saying the truth that perhaps it was pre-college?

And if it is pre-college that you attended, then what I stated was true and not a lie. But your bio is misleading, just like you tend to be a lot of the time..............

As for your statement:

"No true assessment of any instrument can be made without proper inspection IN PERSON."

Again rather an arrogant but ignorant statement, since much of Tarisio's and Ebay's succes has come from internet viewing and bidding (based solely on photographic information).

Appraising instruments is an entirely different subject, which you know very little about. As you know, I am a member of the Appraisers Association of America.

Your buddy sent out pics of instruments he was offering to me as well as to Preston and others, and he was offering them as the genuine article (Strad, Del Gesu etc). That is what is criminal.

The fiddles your buddy offered to me and to Preston H., are easily identifiable from a mile away, especially since he offered them as the real Strad and Del Gesu. One even with a very limited experience (like you perhaps) could easily tell that they are not genuine.

I will reiterate that your buddy ended up being expelled from this site and maestronet, for this similar kind of behavior.

If you keep it up, you are welcome to join him.

November 3, 2006 at 04:51 PM · How dare you accuse me publicly of being misleading about a degree that I never claimed to have earned.

I shall file your public comments away for future reference.

November 3, 2006 at 04:58 PM · Kevin,

You change that tone right now!

You have confirmed that you were misleading by your statement.

Just look above..............

And I still have & remember the defamatory statements you have made about me. So don't play your games here.

I suggest you change the course of your chatter immediately or you will find a similar fate as your buddy on this site.

November 3, 2006 at 05:03 PM · Hey Gennady,

Kevin made it clear in his 1st appearance here that he attended but did not graduate from Julliard.

He has some wacky ideas, but then again who doesn't? I don't see where anything fraudulent is going on. Maybe he steps out of his range, for which it is entirely appropriate to reply with better information, but there is no way to guarantee that people here provide correct or good information. Look at Allan Speers' posts; they are full of wrong info and "help" for violin technique from someone who isn't a violinist. Nevertheless they sometimes lead to good ideas or thought provoking ideas etc or to me posting correct information regarding wood technology.

The legalese in the guide to this website regarding factualness etc would not hold up in court.

November 3, 2006 at 05:00 PM · Hey Bill,

The fact is that he makes outrageous statements and insults.

In the past, he has publicly made slanderous and defamatory statements about me. I am putting an end to that, that's all.

November 3, 2006 at 05:11 PM · Geez. I must have missed that.

November 3, 2006 at 05:13 PM · Thanks for the support, bilbo pratt. I agree with everything you said, including the busking thing on the other post.

November 3, 2006 at 05:16 PM · You know what happens when Atlas shrugs his shoulders?

Seems to me that from a purely narcissistic point of view, both Gennady and Kevin are amusing to read, and occasionally annoying to read (Gennady with respect to anonymity, Kevin with respect to Orientality) but that is part of the charm. I don't think it would be the same without a little sand in the pudding.

We'd hate to see either of you go!

One of my favorite gems is from Gennady:

What do you do with a bow that doesn't play well? Use it as a tomato stake!

November 3, 2006 at 05:20 PM · Kevin, Your flip-flopping on issues reflects what kind of person you are.

............................................

Bill, thanks (and thank you for trying to mediate :)

November 3, 2006 at 05:21 PM · I must be a persuasive writer or somethin(U R wilkommen:)

November 3, 2006 at 05:15 PM · Bilbo, since this has turned into a "dissagreement" thread (sigh) I must defend myself. You have been (IMO) incorrect everytime you've challenged me on a technical or scientific issue. (wanna' discuss split calves again? Perhaps we should discuss the definition of "luthier" again? Wanna' REALLY get into a discussion of wood technology?)

Everytime I give specific rationals & references to back up what I say, while you cannot back up your position. You seem to simply like to argue. (I thought all Hobbits were mellow) That's fine, it's good to challenge ideas and perhaps I might re-think something, but please keep such challenges on the specific threads where they belong. Stating catagorically on THIS thread that I have been wrong is childish and back-handed.

-but I do look forward to future arguments with you, as that makes life interesting and forces one to think more succinctly about a subject. Passion is a good thing, and I'm glad you are full of it.

(g)

November 3, 2006 at 05:29 PM · I don't flip flop when people like you publicly accuse me of being a liar, Mr. Filimonov.

I won't hesitate to defend myself to the fullest extent in ANY situation, particularly when I'm being accused of claiming that I have a degree that I have emphatically stated that I don't. It's evident that you'll do everything to take me down, including slandering my reputation and education.

I won't ever back down from somebody who accuses me of doing something ILLEGAL when I haven't. This is far from over.

November 3, 2006 at 05:41 PM · Allan. Dude. I have yet to pull the "I have a blankety blank years experience card" on you, but I could. You however like to talk about your 25 (or is it 27?28?) years as a recording engineer blahblahblah.I just don't need to. If you look in FPL Wood Handbook you will find the same information I give you on wood. BTW you can download it now.

Go ask Burgess, Perry, Alf and a dozen other violinmakers out there about Luthier, and you'll find that some of them don't care, some think Luthier is the wrong term, and others are ok with it. So my opinion is backed up by others. In fact one of these american makers actually wrote some witty blurb on this topic on his website. I forget who.

Split calves? You still smarting over that one? Dude, you really need a vacation!

November 3, 2006 at 05:37 PM · Kevin is TESTY and he likes CAPITALS.

November 3, 2006 at 05:40 PM · Kevin,

You have publicly done a lot worse.........

I don't have to go thru the laundry list.

Just cut the crap.

The flip-flopping example is right above. Just scroll up and see....

Again, if you wish to contribute interesting posts that is fine.

I respect anyone who loves the fiddle and music.

But remember, the thin ice............

November 3, 2006 at 05:40 PM · Salt Ice is sort of spongy and porous.

November 3, 2006 at 06:06 PM · Guys, could we talk about bows, please?

Part of the problem is defining what a "good" bow is to you. Your technique might work best with a bow of a particular stiffness and balance, and you don't need to spend megabucks to get that. That's not to say that old French stuff doesn't have its virtues.

Another problem is that I'm not sure that there's a single bow that's perfect for absolutely every situation.

I don't know about modern makers matching Tourte and Peccatte and Kittel, but I do think that they can compete well with the lesser-but-still-coveted makers, without the premium you'd pay for the antique value of an old bow.

November 3, 2006 at 08:17 PM · Bilbo,

Well. OK. Actually I'll go along with your last post. Well put, good defense. Agree to dissagree, etc. (and I promiss not to make any more remarks about the Shire.)

-Just please keep it on the specific threads in question, as I said earlier. I look forward to further heated discussion with you.

November 4, 2006 at 09:35 AM · What on earth is the childish stuff going on in this thread? It's worse than a kindergarten playground!!

Mummy he said that, Daddy he said this!!

For goodness sakes if you can't be more professional, just learn, to press the SEND button on that stuff can show a pretty base level of artistry. I mean it's barely legible and far from even literate.

Grow up please!

Just remember there are other people here, and it reflects very badly you + on us other "adults"??

November 4, 2006 at 03:22 PM · Gareth, thank you for that.

Some new thoughts / info:

--------------------------------

Gennady wrote (before all the detours) "I think most professional players will tell you, that there comes a time after many hours of playing, that the hair is just simply "shot", and no longer grips the strings as it should."

I thought so myself, simply based on my experience as a cellist. I was surprised to not be able to find hard data on it, and even more surprised to to find one scientific report debunking it.

Yesterday I found this explanation, which makes sense to me (and supports Gennady)

Sadly, I didn't save the url or any reference to where it came from:

"The hair has an outer "cuticle" and an inner component which is different. The outer shell is apparently tougher or better able to hold rosin. It will eventually wear away leaving a flat facet. If you look down the hair at a glancing angle toward a light, the hair should look matte. If rosin does not leave it looking matte, then perhaps the hair is not taking the rosin. If it is very shiny and cannot be made non-shiny, then it is shot."

I assume for now that this is correct, so the answer to my original question is PROBABLY that hair doesn't go bad unless it's played. It could also be that hair dries out "on the shelf" and so older hair loses its cuticle layer faster, so I'm still looking for answers.

BTW- This is not a theoretical exercise for me.

I would like to have many bows onhand, for different colors. As Peter Ouyang wrote above, "Im not sure that there's a single bow that's perfect for absolutely every situation." To me, as a recording engineer / producer (that's what pays the rent) having ten bows with different sounds & feels is like having ten different mics. Those choices are important for getting a track "just right." -But having ten bows all haired up would be quite expensive if I have to re-hair them every 6 months regardless of them being played.

I asked two top bow techs about this, and even THEY didn't know the answer. What a strange field this is.......

November 4, 2006 at 03:47 PM · Your quote is from a website named Sheila's Corner. The post is dated Sept. 19 2002. It was written by John Masters of Columbus Oh., who as of 1989 had made at least 121 violins.

November 4, 2006 at 03:46 PM · Thanks, Jim.

Yes, Sheila's Corner. A great website, definitely worth a look..

November 4, 2006 at 10:07 PM · [quote]

From Florian Rago

Posted on November 1, 2006 at 3:32 AM (MST)

I've had the privilege of borrowing a peccate and a tubbs bow and both are the best I have played on. Both round.

WEIGHT is the most important thing for me. Light bows do not produce the sound I need. Weight and n excellent hairing and resin.

[/quote]

If weight and hair makes a lot of difference, how about playing the violin with a viola bow? My violin teacher is a principal viola player, and she uses viola bow in our lessons. She sounds great. I don't know whether the viola bow makes her playing greatER?

November 4, 2006 at 10:15 PM · I disagree with that statement.

Balance is the most important! There are bows that are 56g,and are great playing bows. it is their balance that makes them great playing bows. Also there are 65g bows (which Zukerman plays), that feel like 60g, because their balance is superb.

The weight of the bow is not as crucial as balance is!

November 4, 2006 at 10:48 PM · [quote]

From Peter Ouyang

Posted on November 3, 2006 at 11:06 AM (MST)

Guys, could we talk about bows, please?

Part of the problem is defining what a "good" bow is to you. Your technique might work best with a bow of a particular stiffness and balance, and you don't need to spend megabucks to get that. That's not to say that old French stuff doesn't have its virtues.

Another problem is that I'm not sure that there's a single bow that's perfect for absolutely every situation.

I don't know about modern makers matching Tourte and Peccatte and Kittel, but I do think that they can compete well with the lesser-but-still-coveted makers, without the premium you'd pay for the antique value of an old bow.

[/quote]

First of all, I am more ignorant about bow than about violins. However, I am under an impression that a "good" bow also determined by the violin, which it would be used for. Therefore, it is very common for a professional to have different bows for different occasion/music. So I am wondering whether the greatest bows Gennady mentioned can be used in all music/violins. Kinda of one size fits all type of thing. If not, what makes a good bow a good bow?

Thank you very much for your comments in advance.

November 4, 2006 at 10:55 PM · [quote]

The weight of the bow is not as crucial as balance is!

[/quote]

Thanks a lot, Gennady! That's also what I heard. Are there q-'n-d tips to find whether the balance of a bow is good? It sounds stupid, but I am right to assume that balance should be on the bow itself, not how the player feels?

November 4, 2006 at 11:04 PM · The balance is the actual balance point of the bow.

For the most part, the greatest bows used by the pros, are used interchangeably. I think most of them have or had more than one.

It is the reason, that when I started on my quest, I ended up with a collection of fine bows.

November 5, 2006 at 02:44 PM · I wondered too about the shiny hair question. When new, my bow hair was matte as noted above, and had grip. A year later, no grip. I cleaned the hair thoroughly to remove all resin. And wouldnt-ya-know? - the hair is definitely shiny. Resin-ed up again, and still no grip (like before when new). So, maybe there is something to this premise of matte vs shiny hair. Darn thing is though, the nearest person to rehair a bow is about 3000 miles and 5 countries away. Anyway, always good to read here the ideas and opinions of others. thanks.

November 5, 2006 at 04:37 PM · Thanks again, Gennady.

Yay! Now yo gentlemen know how women end up with house-Full of clothes and shoes. Don't ever complain again about our shopping habbit, all right? :D

Ron, I recently purchased a couple of bows, which would not take rosin. That was the first time ever I had that problem. I seeked help and was under an impression that the bow hair was not treated before making the bows (to cut down the cost). I washed one of the two bows and left another intact. The washed bow had no problem taking the rosin afterwards just like any other bows I have had. For the other bow, I had to poweder the rosin before application. It finally took the rosin, but ran out of it quickly. That means, after playing the violin some time, the bow needed powdered rosin again; otherwise, it wouldn't make any "noise". After the second time of applying powdered rosin, the bow seems to be OK. By OK I meant it doesn't required pre-powdered rosin like it did when I first tried to rosin it.

I don't know whehter your bow hair is like mine before. By the way, these two bows also had shinnier bow hair (I guess it was quasi-oil coated?).

November 8, 2006 at 06:05 PM · Good points, Gennady.

BTW- I think I can answer the question about bow hair & age:

I received an old bow last week, marked "Durro." This is from the 19th century, not the new composite company. I purchased it from an antiques dealer, complete in the paper wrapping from the retailer that originally sold it. ( ! )

The dealer said it had been sitting unused for at least ten years.

The hair is still full, though very dark, and holds rosin perfectly. I have been playing it hard all week, and so far no breakage at all. There hair is behaving as if it were new.

Nice little bow, too. Light & well-controlled.

November 20, 2006 at 08:30 PM · A "good" bow for one person may not be good for someone else. It also may not be as good when used on a different instrument. Every player has certain tendencies that work either to the advantage or disadvantage of a particular bow. Every instrument responds differntly to different bows. That is why it is exteremly important to try out a bow on the instrument it will (normally) be used with. Keeping a bow tightened tends to cause a bow to warp. While this can be fixed, it still becomes a pain having to constantly have your bow straightened (this is also a problem when the wood for the bow wasn't sufficiantly cured prior to the bow being made). Hair should last for a very long time as long as enough moisture exists and no bow bugs get at the bow. All bows start out octagonal, and actually all bows are octagonal at least as far as the winding, some makers may keep some stiffer sticks octagonal, but that is a makers choice and making a stick round doesn't weaken the stick. It is easy to see some bad cambering, especially if the camber is too abrupt near the tip of the bow. Re-cambering can also help strengthen a weak bow to some degree, but a noodle is a noodle. Finally, most bow schools teach that somewhere between 9 1/2' and 9 3/4" is a good balance point for a bow (the measurement is taken from the bottom of the button to where a bow's balance point is).

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