My Bow Is Too Light

August 20, 2004 at 04:40 AM · I've been dealing with a bow that has been too light for me for maybe 8 months-1 year, but it never really pissed me off until yesterday.

I was practicing yesterday and my bow is so light that everytime I play anything, it involuntarily bounces or slides across the strings. The sound I produce is very "airy" and it sounds quite disgusting. I have no idea what to do to deal with this problem! Please help! I was so frustrated I swear I could've thrown my violin to the ground because everything was sounding so gross! I'm not sure if my parents will let me get a new bow so... how do I deal with this problem?

Replies (7)

August 20, 2004 at 03:51 PM · I'm assuming that your bow isn't sliding or skidding because it needs to be rehaired. That might be the quickest fix.

Other than that, it's a tough question, because anything you do to change the overall weight of the bow will affect its balance. However, if you find a qualified bowmaker or restorer (and there's no shortage of them in San Francisco), they should be able to help you.

You can add weight in a very controlled manner by using leaded tape (golfer's tape is the best). The easiest way to do that is to add the tape underneath the leather so it doesn't show. If memory serves (my bow repair is a little rusty), one layer of tape is roughly equal to .5 grams.

Don't try this at home, though. Find an archetier in the area who can help you. It's not expensive and can keep you from throwing your bow out the window until you have a chance to get another one.

August 20, 2004 at 04:33 PM · The above advice is excellent. Typically what they can do is add some lead tape under the thumb grip and winding, then perhaps replace the bone tip with silver to balance things out a little. Also, make sure your hair tension isn't too high; toov high hair tension coupled with a naturally light bow and old hair may give the sensation of slipping and skating.

August 20, 2004 at 07:28 PM · I'm not sure if my bow needs to be rehaired. I think I had it rehaired quite recently, actually.

What is leaded tape? Is it like, duct tape?

August 20, 2004 at 07:37 PM · Lead tape is tape with lead in it. Its self explanitory.

It can be done very easily. It is best you have a violin shop do this for you rather than taking the chance of messing it up yourself.

August 20, 2004 at 09:56 PM · i'd agree, while its good to have a bow that you feel comfortable with its possible to play very well with a light bow, my bow is pretty light, and i like it that way. but like i said its important to have comfortable equipment so whatever you can do to make yourself play better i suppose you should do.

August 20, 2004 at 10:41 PM · My bow is 5g underweight, and although I've used it for fourteen years I still have more trouble with spiccato etc. then other players (they have difficulty with my bow too). Last year I got the winding redone using solid silver wire, which added some weight.

August 21, 2004 at 05:01 AM · What does your teacher think. Sometimes a light bow is made of wood that isn't strong enough to handle playing forte or spicatto. How far apart are the winter grains at the tip? Sometimes parents will listen to a teacher who recommends a different bow. One of my teachers had a policy of never mentioning her student's equipment faults. I ended up trying to play on a warped-too heavy-fibreglass bow. I quit thinking it was me and not my equipment. I didn't take up the violin again until I was an adult.

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