And they said it could not be done!
Well, I got my bow jig-o-matic working, I set aside two hours in the afternoon, and I did it. A perfect rehair. The balance is exactly where it should be and just the right amount of hair is on my bow. No professional training required.
This isn't to spit in the face of you luthier folks. I know you can do it better and faster. I'm just saying with good carpentry skills, a decent set of tools, practise, and a whooole lot of patience, anyone can do a real good rehair on their own. And it's really condescending when you tell people that rehairing a bow is as difficult as playing the violin. It's not. Considering that a very much OK rehair took me 5 attempts and getting a very much OK sound took me a year of hard work, I'd say one is easier than the other.
There's a protocol in this trade that however good you think you are at this, you don't work on artist maker instruments and bows until artist grade peers approve of and acknowledge your skills. There's a trail of tears through history of great instruments and bows that were seriously damaged by repairers who wrote their own credentials. Sorry, but you do come off as arrogant.
Who said that rehairing the bow is as difficult as playing the violin?
I guess he won't be asking for advice HERE any more.
I know two players that rehair their own bow but it is not a job I would want to attempt. Even though j woukd label myself as being thrifty I would rather pay someone to do it well, and have read from bowmakers that it is important to do a lot of rehairs to be really proficient at the task. I watched one of my bows getting rehaired once and it looked to me like an easy way to cause sone serious damage with the slip of a tool.
There is more to a perfect rehair than correct amount of hair and balance. You may find some of the blog posts on my website interesting and helpful: www.adbowsllc.com I try to educate players to some of what goes on behind the scenes. I would say executing a rehair is not very hard, but to do it very well takes a lot of practice, experience, and guidance. There are a few places to learn, with George Rubino and Lynn Hannings at the University of New Hampshire and Rodney Mohr in Ohio. They are interested in helping people learn. Good rehairs are a way for a shop to build clientele, so I'm not surprised people wouldn't help, we also don't want to see people ruin bows. Unfortunately, even "trained" people who have done rehairs and other bow work for years have damaged bows.
Just like anything, the old adage "easy to learn, lifetime to master" applies. And these skills don't seem easy to me to begin with.
"You could argue you can be your own hairdresser/stylist as well. See my point?" Er, yes I do when I look in the mirror. But I don't need rehairing by a professional, not yet anyway.
I feel like no one read the OP's actual post where it's clearly acknowledged "This isn't to spit in the face of you luthier folks. I know you can do it better and faster. I'm just saying with good carpentry skills, a decent set of tools, practise, and a whooole lot of patience, anyone can do a real good rehair on their own."
Hi Charles, I actually DID read the OP's actual post, and I certainly didn't miss the part where he called his effort "a perfect rehair." Later in his post he downgraded that to "very much OK" but all we know is that he thinks it plays and sounds "very much OK."
Mr. Mathers, how wonderful that you are happy with your rehair, and can't see the difference between what you have done and what someone really top notch can do.
Yeah, I really don't think bow rehairs are immensely complicated. I have seen the training to do it and it's not something you spend a lifetime in order to learn to do competently.
It's easy. David showed us...
I think it's great that you were able to rehair your own bow! And you'll get even better and faster after you've done the process a few more times. Very inspiring! I may want to learn this some time in a few years myself.
Wow. That's a lot of responses for a silly post about my amateur rehair.
Wow. In that case you're ready for Luthier Suzuki Book 3. Take off the top and fit yourself a new bass bar. Or jump to Book 7 and regrade it.
"how wonderful that you are happy with your rehair, and can't see the difference between what you have done and what someone really top notch can do."
Come on David, show us a "manly" way to rehair a bow! The comments on your bridge video suggest that quite a few viewers may have been tempted to try it for themselves.
Want to know something dead easy? Home wiring. I was DIY enough to wire my own basement, but not stupid enough to do so without first getting a permit from the Town and a full inspection afterward. If CM wants to improve his skill he should take his newly-DIY-rehair to a good luthier and pay for a critique.
Just from the photo, I can tell him that some hairs are crossed, because the ribbon gets narrower as it leaves the tip, rather than getting progressively wider from tip to frog.
David, I've just placed a comment on your YT bridge-fitting (!) video, in reply to respondent Scott Wallace.
Maybe you and Scott would like this addendum too, if you haven't already seen it.
David, I can't say truthfully, "Now I've seen it all", but I must be getting close!
We don't know. They certainly would have been capable of gluing sand or some other abrasive to a piece of paper or fabric...
"some hairs are crossed, because the ribbon gets narrower as it leaves the tip, rather than getting progressively wider from tip to frog"
Looking at both photos, and the shadow in the first photo, it doesn't look like it to me. Instead, it looks like the ribbon is narrowest about two thirds of the way from the frog to the tip, then flaring toward each end.
Maybe photography isn't as easy as it looks either.
It's hard to be the master of every skill or craft.
David, I'm glad you could even improve your bridge fitting technology. Moving the violin indeed is the more logic approach. And given a smooth and clean worktop, any varnish of quality should stand this little bit of stress. Congrats, and hats off to your genius!
I say “more power to Cotton!” My hat is off to anyone who has the dexterity and patience for this kind of work.
Haha! I tried once, on a garbage bow two luthiers had told me wasn't worth working on (cost me less than the bow hair)...total failure (couldn't get the wedge to stay in with a flat ribbon of hair, though I also hadn't melted rosin properly on the hair which can't have helped) - so it's definitely harder than it looks on youtube, where it doesn't look all that easy.
I used to think "You don't know what a great re-hair is until you get a bad one (or vice-versa)"
A violin friend whom I have not seen for a couple of years called me the other day to get me to watch the youtube videos of Daniel Olsen Chen. I found this one on bow rehairing fascinating:
"This was more or less my reaction. I've also had numerous conversations with church members who can't tell the difference between my playing and that of (insert reasonably talented amateur). Doesn't mean there isn't a big difference between our levels of playing; it just means that the church members do not have the musical acuity to hear it."
The difference is not all that subtle for those who pay attention. Most people don't.
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