Do bows break in?
My main bow is a Col Legno Standard.
The other day I thought I'd treat myself to a Delille hybrid.
It turns out to be less good than the Col Legno. Yeah, I know I should have got it on approval.
The Col Legno produces a cleaner, more focussed sound.
But perhaps the Delille will settle after it has become impregnated with rosin, or something? I suppose that also raises the question, do bows need time to settle in after they have been rehaired?
Anyway, failing all else, if anyone wants a bow recommendation, get a Col Legno. The Delille will have to be my spare.
As far as I am aware, they break in. I think I remember seeing an archived discussion on here about something like that. But don't quote me on that
Bows do not "break-in" in any demonstrably provable way.
Of course a brand new bow will "break in" as it dries, adjust to being under regular tension, and so on, just like a new violin. Similarly, there's an adjustment period after a new re-hair where the hairs stretch, the knots set, and the ribbon adjusts its width across the spreader in response to playing pressure, rosin builds up, etc..
Presumably they do, but here we were recently arguing over perceptible differences in sound production between bows, never mind the same bow over time. This is a fact that wood physical characteristcs (hence playing characteristics) will change over time, especially when under flex tension. There is a reason why you should release tension when not using a bow. Whereas a bow's wood may get stiffer as it dries out, it also does the opposite when let under constant tension. Bows loose their curve over time and need be reshaped eventually, hence a bow playing characteristics can noticeably change over time, not necessarily for the better. I read somewhere that experienced bow maker will make their bows somewhat stiffer than optimal to account for the loss of stiffness that inevitably occurs over time, hence a good bow would technically improve over time to their peak (1-2 years apparently).
Yes, wood bows that are new do change with playing and time. Carbon fiber bows, no.
Nope. The newer, less used, pristine bow, the better.
I don't think the bow sticks "break in," but I think the user becoming familiar with the bow learns how best to rosin it, tighten it and get the optimum re-hairing job done. So testing new bows for purchase is not futile - nor is testing old bows.
I have had evidence of at least one new-made pernambuco bow that become stiffer in 2-3 years of continuative and strong usage.
One of the problems with the last couple of generations of pedagogues is that they don't beat their students enough, which doesn't really give their bows a chance to break-in. The secrets of the old masters are just getting lost left and right.
Christian - thanks for naming the obvious once again.
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