Bow Not "Catching"

June 2, 2004 at 05:27 AM · Did anyone else have this problem that suddenly the bow doesn't "catch" the string well especially in upbow staccato. Usually when my bow starts to act this way I just rehair. But this time it happened a week after I rehaired. I doubt if it's the quality of the hairs that causes this because they were excellent in that week.

Could it be the weather which suddenly became extremely hot?

Thanks in advance.

Replies (13)

June 2, 2004 at 08:12 PM · Whenever my bow slips, I break out the ol' ethyl alchohol and give my strings a good cleaning. After a good rosin and some slow double-stop practice, it's usually back to around normal...

June 2, 2004 at 09:33 PM · funny, when my bow doesnt catch i also break out the alcohol, my favorite is old rasputins

June 2, 2004 at 11:27 PM · When that happens to me the cause is either old bow hair or high humidity. If it's the second case, there's not much you can do about it. Putting on too much extra rosin will just make it worse.

June 3, 2004 at 05:02 AM · Where do you get ethyl alcohol?

June 3, 2004 at 10:02 AM · Bow Response

The cause of bad bow response is usually the barbs of the bow hair ineffectinely pulling the string sideways. Cellists have this problem and they experiment with changing to low guage C & G strings.

If you have enough money, try experimenting with a very low guage string called "Helicore"

Buy a whole set to get the feel of playing on a very responsive string.


June 3, 2004 at 02:27 PM · Thank you all for your useful advice. I tried (based also on advice from my luthier) to clean it with alchohol and it worked very well, thank you for your advice. Now that this is okay I wanted to ask another question does anyone else who use Evah Pirazzi strings have the feeling that they resonate wonderfully on the first 2-3 days and then lose some of their "echo". Is it true or is it the ear getting used to their resonance after bad strings before (I had really old Evah Pirazzis before this set.).

I am not much accustomed to how this forum works so if this should count as a different thread please receive my sincere apology :) and I will try posting it as a new thread.

June 3, 2004 at 04:51 PM · I use Evahs for my D and G, and actually have found that they fully balance well after about a week.

All new strings have a tinny, "echoey" sound when first installed. This is because they are first being set at tension with pressure applied to cause them to vibrate. They must settle to the bow.


June 5, 2004 at 07:17 PM · I have been tempted to use ethyl alcohol on my bow...the rosin has REALLY built up because I choose to play with a relatively loose bow and the rosin from the hair gets on the wood. I "kind of" tried it a little bit and it worked wonders for that spot, took the rosin right off. Nothing else seems to clean it. Would it be dangerous to clean the whole (stick) bow?

June 6, 2004 at 02:01 PM · I would not do it, unless you are prepared to replace the hairs. I've heard of people washing them but I never tried it.


June 7, 2004 at 06:29 PM · Alcohol (rubbing alcohol is readily available at the pharmacy) is good for getting rosin gunk off of the strings & possibly the bow hair, but alcohol dissolves varnish... keep it away from wood

June 10, 2004 at 06:13 PM · I would suggest experimenting with different rosins. I personally like the "stick" of the Pirastro Schwarz rosin or the Goldflex, it really depends on the time of year and what climate you live in. Schwarz is more wintery, while Goldflex is more summery. Kay?

June 10, 2004 at 09:24 PM · dominant rosin has a LOT of stick as well

June 10, 2004 at 11:26 PM · Unfortunately for me, I did not learn about the cause of this until it was too late. So I had been forcing the bow to "catch" the string, putting much too much pressure and damaging my index finger sort of. I have a huge calus or something weird between my 1st and 2nd knuckle, where I place the bow, something that will probably never go away. It's very uncomfortable when I play. So I'm just saying, it's usually not because of lack of weight.

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