Rehair to fix warped bow??
I am interested in buying a viola bow which is slightly warped in the middle towards the bridge. Aesthetics aside, it does present a practical problem when playing. When I bow legato and change contact point towards the bridge, the stick becomes closer to the bridge than the hair which means the hair is not well supported by the stick.
The dealer told me that this could potentially be alleviated by having a rehair done where the audience side hair could be slightly shorter/longer than the player side. (Can't remember or seem to figure out which one affects which side...) What are your opinions on this?
Yes, the hair tension can be offset to pull the bow to one side or the other. I don't know if I would want to buy a bow which needed that correction though, rather than being inherently straight.
The rehair could be old and/or done incorrectly. The bow should be judged when tightened and with fresh hair. If the stick is a little warped, a shop should just straighten it for you. I have compensated for warped sticks that customers have already purchased from a shop with the rehair, but it is less than ideal. The best thing is to have the stick straightened before purchasing, otherwise I agree with David, look for a bow that is straight. Keep in mind that a very little curve off the playing side is okay, it a occasionally done on purpose on cello bows. So under playing conditions the stick is running straight. It sounds like the bow may have even been curved that way on purpose because the stick might be rather weak. I'd keep shopping. What is the bow you are trying?
In my experience, if the bow bows out to one side, it's because the tip is misshapen. Out of all the rehairs I've ever done (including my very first, awful ones), not one has caused a bow to bend like that.
If this is an expensive bow, I'd be very cautious about having the seller heat and bend it, unless they are a high-level specialist at such things. If they are, then the question becomes why they hadn't done it already.
A bend in the stick is a pretty basic repair and should not be that expensive either. The dealer should have fixed it before putting it up for sale.
This dealer sounds like a used car salesman. He’s absolutely wrong! A proper rehair will have equal hair on both sides and wrap slightly around the edges. A bow won’t be properly balanced otherwise. I’ve had bad rehairs in the past where the rehair was done by putting less hair on the player’s side. As a result, when rehairs are done this way, more hairs will break, plus the bow will be wobbly and unbalanced. The only way to fix a severely warped stick is to recamber it by heating the stick up. The process will probably need to be repeated several times because wood will revert back to the position it has been in. I wouldn’t get involved with this bow. There are plenty of nice affordable straight bows on the market.
Thanks for your insights. The bow is by Malcolm Taylor, so not very expensive. It sounds like recambering is the way to go if I choose to buy this bow then...
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