Why the stigma surrounding black hair?
I got my hank of black bow hair for bass in the mail today (14 grams---enough for three and a half violin bows!).
I paid $16 for it, which is the same price as one 4g hank of white hair from the same supplier. What the heck? It's a total steal! I put it on my bow today, and it really sounds great with gut strings. Gritty and exact. And I played it in a very large room, so no downstairs-office-effect this time.
It's a bit coarser and a lot thicker than white hair, so I understand that it may not be applicable for some styles of playing. But it's definitely not inferior. In fact, I prefer it to white hair on this particular bow with my violin. I think it gives me more control on my very heavy G and D strings.
And yes, I took the Coruss off. I put it on my CF backup, where I think it makes the most sense to have synthetic hair.
A number of my double bass colleagues use it, and a couple violinists do a 50/50 mix.
I've done the zebra thing. One time I had the inner edge black and the outer edge white. I don't know if it made a huge difference but it looked very cool!
Shmuel Ashkenasi uses pure black on his bow. He makes it sound good!
I really like the idea of combining the two colours of hair, that must look so cool!
Well, black hair takes more tension than white hair, so you'd only be making the bow less consistent to play on.
Supply and demand. You could walk in an orchestra and see 1,2 probably none at all of the upper strings or cellos using any black hair. Only in the basses is this a bit more common but the majority I’ve seen still use white hair. It’s not popular so it costs more
How much more does it cost? I would have thought "supply and demand" would increase the price of the more popular, desirable product. Perhaps you meant "economy of scale."
Bulk black hair is less expensive than white, FWIW.
Paul, black hair is coarser than white, and tends to feel more grippy on the string (some people also say it doesn't last as long, but I don't actually know). Most violin players find it too grippy / coarse-sounding/feeling. Some violinists will do a salt and pepper mix, very few do all black hair.
Irene, you might find this paper changes your mind about black hair being coarser (there others which arrive at the same conclusion about surface texture):
coarser means thicker
Hah, a fair point Lyndon. I would have to argue with far too many barbers, hairdressers and thread makers if I disagreed. :-)
Luthiers I personal know don't provide black… I may try if they do
"Coarser" hair means each strand has a larger diameter. For bow hair I think "thicker" means the same. I think what barbers call "thicker hair" means there are more strands per square inch of scalp.
One of the reasons black hair costs less is that it is less processed and there is more of it (they allow for more variation in color). They also don't sort it as much so there is more variation to the texture of the hair. Black hair is fine to mix if that is what players prefers. There is no stigma in the industry, it just costs less to produce.
Cotton said in regards to mixed hair:
I think frighteningly often. I had a chance to talk with Lemuel (of Lemuel Violins) about horsehair and he says the good stuff is getting harder and harder to come by, by virtue of all the junk on the market.
LOL Tim, just don't get stranded.
I wasn't aware that there is a stigma concerning black hair. Anyway, for me it's academic - my hair is a lot lighter in color now than it was when the photo adjacent this post was taken.
I just went for a rehair with Isaac Salchow in NYC this morning. I asked him to put all black hair on my Tourte model bow by Charles Bazin. I really like it so far. The hair is a bit stronger than the white hair and it seems to stick to the string more. Contrary to what some say about black hair, the tone does not sound forced or grating.
You met Roman Kim?!
You can see Roman using the black horsehair here:
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