Attach a nickel to the tip of the bow!

April 2, 2019, 2:52 PM · I tried this just for “fun”. To me it felt a little smoother and less bouncy?? My bow is carbon fibre, weighs 60 gm and the balance point is in the usual area. I actually like
it. I hope it doesn’t sparkle in the orchestra! Any comments? Has anyone tried this?

Replies (16)

April 2, 2019, 3:20 PM · Martin Hayes, the wonderful Irish fiddler used ot live here in Seattle. One day he was telling me a story about the bow that he had used as a young man. It was head light, so he glued a coin to the side of the head.
Although I do not advocate glueing things to the instrument or bow, if it was good enough for Martin...
April 2, 2019, 3:50 PM · If you like the extra weight, obtain thin sheets of lead weight from a golf shop. It can likely be inserted into the tip next time you have a hair change.
Edited: April 2, 2019, 5:44 PM · At 5 grams a nickel is pretty heavy for this. I've tried it with various US coins,
25 cents = 5.67 grams
5 cents = 5 grams
10 cents = 2.268 grams
1 cent = 2,5 grams

It is a way to move the center of mass of the bow toward the tip. I used scotch tape for temporary attachment. I went to my luthier, who installed a lead weight inside the tip. I calculated how much weight I wanted to put there there by how much I wanted to move the CM, how much the bow weighed and the original position of the CM (jr.high school math these days).

April 2, 2019, 5:19 PM · I also like to use viola bows becaise they are a bit heavier.
April 2, 2019, 6:24 PM · Bows that are tip heavy can track nicely and require less work to pull a full sound all the way to the tip. It's when you have to play fast and off the string that you will require a bit more effort and can be cumbersome. Generally, some lead can be used in the mortice if there is room to add weight. I've added up to 2.5 grams in a typical sized mortice and still fit the hair comfortably.
April 2, 2019, 6:51 PM · Jeff, that's interesting. I still have my very good quality 70-yr old cello bow. I must try it on one of my violins, probably my Jay Haide workhorse. Seriously.
April 2, 2019, 7:49 PM ·
April 2, 2019, 7:52 PM · I was thinking of getting a nickel tip plate cut for one of my CF bows. The two CF bows are the same model and they play basically the same. That might add one gram at most though.
April 2, 2019, 7:52 PM ·
April 2, 2019, 8:00 PM · I may be repeating myself . Still trying to figure things out. I am going to try a Canadian dime with scotch tape like I usually do. (I am Canadian)
April 2, 2019, 8:02 PM · Paul. Let me know how that works
April 3, 2019, 3:34 AM · I personally play better with tip light bows
April 3, 2019, 9:03 AM · The problem with bows that are too light at the tip is that a fast sautille becomes impossible because the balance point is too low in the bow. If you do the stroke fast enough, it ends up not at the balance point but actually somewhere above the middle of the bow. However, if you don't use this stroke you may not care.
April 3, 2019, 9:27 AM · Terry, if you're Canadian then why are you using Scotch tape?
April 3, 2019, 10:30 AM · You can change the handling characteristics of a bow by any of the following methods that I have used:

1. replace steel tightening screw with titanium to reduce "frog" wt.
2. replace metal wire winding with faux whalebone or thread to reduce "frog" weight (i.e., add tip weight) or the reverse to effectively reduce tip weight (or add frog weight).
3. add a weight into mortise in either tip or frog to add weight.
4. Remove or add weight to the frog's base plate.

In my experience the change in bow handling can be major with no change in tonal characteristics.

April 5, 2019, 10:57 AM · Thanks all. Paul, guess I’ll have to find “Canadian tape”!

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