Coda bow bow education.

September 5, 2019, 4:31 PM · WRT this page:

Can someone explain to me what they mean when differentiate action from stiffness?

How can a bow be supple and stiff at the same time? Or soft and firm? They don't define their terms enough for me to understand what they mean.

Replies (8)

Edited: September 5, 2019, 6:11 PM · I think this is the paragraph that troubles you:

"As the single largest influence on bow character, action describes the nature of a player’s connection with the string during play. A bow’s action is ultimately determined by how and where the bow flexes. Most associated historically (in the case of wooden bows) with the extrinsic camber, action of engineered bows is also a function of intrinsic design (fiber blend, quantity, and orientation). Because string connection is the essence of player sound, it is important to select the action best-suited to your style, approach, and genre.

FIRM ACTION bows offer hard and rapid string connection, capable of direct and focused expression, and appeal to fiddlers and rock musicians.

SUPPLE ACTION bows offer compliant and sensitive string connection, capable of nuanced and layered expression, are preferred among classical artists."

I think it is a very good discussion but one probably needs to play a number of different bows with some level of technique on decent violins to appreciate what the article is talking about. One thing the article avoids is the importance of having a bow that is optimally haired (right amount of hair for its inherent "action") to fully appreciate the differences between bows. The subject deserves far more words than Coda gives it there.

Some 80 years ago my father's violin teacher found a violin and 2 bows for him to "upgrade his tools." I still have the bows:
1. "Richard Weichold, Dresden Imitation de Tourte" which has firm action and is stiff and made of very dense wood
and the other
2. "F. N. Voirin" a classic French maker, which has supple action and is not stiff.

Both are 19th century bows.

Once the bows became mine (unfortunately by inheritance before I was 20) I immediately appreciated the differences between the bows.

Both hold the strings very well - for a long time I thought of the Voirin as my "Mozart bow" and the Weichold as my bow for getting the biggest sound from my violin, but both produced excellent sound, the main differences were in how they behaved for articulated bowings.

September 5, 2019, 7:16 PM · Denser stick or less hair = decisive attack and strong sound

Softer stick or more hair = soft attack and bad sound

Some people like soft bows, but I personally find that they max out as soon as I go mezzo-forte. But maybe I've never played a fine, soft stick.

September 6, 2019, 10:43 AM · A softer stick should be haired with less hair and a stiffer stick should be rehaired with more hair. You don't put the same amount of hair in every bow. Well, you might, but a good rehairer won't.
September 6, 2019, 3:41 PM · Lots of good responses so far.

I think I could have been clearer however. I was referring to the graphic that shows bows on a dual-axis, one for stiffness (softer to stronger), and one for action (firm to supple).

Notice the luma and joule, same action, but one is stiff, and one is soft. And only the marquis is supple.

Luma reviews vary. Most call it stiff, some called it a vintage french bow replica, meaning a softer lighter bow.

I don't get what they are trying to show there.

September 6, 2019, 4:19 PM · I found the Luma the best of all the Codabows as SOUND. The other models left me quite disappointed.

But as i reviewed months ago, even the Luma is below the lesser grade Musing bow, in my opinion.

Edited: September 6, 2019, 8:58 PM · "A bow’s action is ultimately determined by how and where the bow flexes. "

The sentence above from the Coda paragraph is critical with regard to "how and where the bow flexes."

Many years ago I noticed that my Vorin bow was quite unique in this characteristic. I doubt that I ever learned to take full advantage of these "action" properties and I no longer have any semblance of bow control that would require.

I first learned about the importance of proper bow re-hairing about 20 years ago when I had my first Coda bow rehaired (a Coda "Classic" violin bow purchased when it was their only model - before they named it "Classic"). I had it rehaired at our local music store, which had just installed a "luthier." I was initially disappointed by how sparse the new hair looked, but the luthier told me that it was the proper amount of hair for that bow --- and I KNEW he was right as soon as I rosined it and tried it - it was so much better than it had been when first delivered to be by the then Coda company (Nova Products).

That experience led me to embark on a project to measure the stiffness of all my bows (and a number of others) and relate that property to the optimum amount of hair - a study I continued into the year 2001.

Edited: September 6, 2019, 5:19 PM · "How can a bow be supple and stiff?"

So it is with *every solid object.* Even glass will bend.

September 10, 2019, 8:29 PM · I've been looking at getting a Coda bow, and I was looking at the Luma. My Weichold bow is pretty light, but has definite weight in the frog and in the tip. I hadn't noticed it until I tried my friend's Artino CF bow (which, to my surprise, I didn't hate) and new wooden bow (probably brazilwood, but not sure).

Has anyone bought the Luma and liked it? I'm afraid a CF bow is too stiff, but I guess they wouldn't be so popular if they weren't at all flexible.

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