Changing strings or bow rehairing - or just practicing
After five months with Pirastro Tonica with something rare more often intense practicing (for an adult beginner, like more than 1h a day) on my Gliga 1 I got the doubt if need to change or rehair.
I'm a beginner with less than one year of experience. Playing in the first and second string I got the feeling playing with a saw on the cardboard. Also depending where I play respect the bridge if I stay in the middle where I have played so far I get scratchy sounds on every strings.
Due this is my first violin, string and bow I have no experience to judge. I have no near luthier I have a relationship with, also learning lately mostly with my wife (with musical education but also a violin beginner) with occasional teacher lessons, so that for this first time I wanted to ask some opinion.
For the violin and bow, you need to ask some one more experienced to test them for you.
Thanks Adrian, remember you also have some Gliga.
You might just need to rosin the bow
Thanks all, always so good hints from everyone.
Sounds like you need a violin teacher.
I will probably visit a bow maker this or next weekend - a 5h round trip due the fact he is collaborating also with a luthier with Romania made violins we are interested on for my wife.
I agree with Lyndon and Andrew that the first steps are to make sure that you're maintaining your violin and bow correctly. Places like Shar and Johnson String Instruments or Southwest Strings will have videos on their websites for basic maintenance tasks including changing strings, cleaning your violin, and so forth. One thing you do not want to do -- which they will recommend, doubtlessly -- is to slather your violin with polishing chemicals. Really you just need a soft cloth and you need to do it every day. Also on YouTube you can find instructions for cleaning your bow hair if you want to do that. Andrew Victor's method is as good as anything I've heard. He just uses isopropanol "prep pads" -- the kind you can buy by the 100 at the pharmacy and you just unwrap, wipe the hair once or twice, and toss. Repeat with maybe 8-10 wipes and your bow hair will be super clean. Keep the alcohol away from the frog, tip, mortise, and stick.
I'm cleaning all only using a leather cloth provided with the instrument, nothing else.
Producing a good tone is a long journey that starts with a straight bow. Laurie, our host, posted an exercise she uses with her students (you can search archives for it). Stand in front of a mirror. Draw the bow across each open string, if I'm remembering correctly, 10 strokes. Check yourself in the mirror to make certain you are drawing a straight bow. Eventually the muscle memory in the right arm kicks in. This exercise isn't the end game by any means but the starting point; and what Bruce Berg said.
Indeed a good full bow stroke is straight seen from above.
Bruce has the correct answer
Rosin every time you play, several strokes up and down the bow. If there are any spots that feel more slippery, rosin them a little more aggressively. (Rosin should slide easily but like a cloth over carpet, not like ice skating!)
Another for Bruce. Plus you need patience.
Just to give a closure, after all your good hints we didn't invested a 5h road trip to the luthier/bow maker (the idea was going there not for a bow but searching a violin for my wife due he has about 100 used and new of all levels laying in his studio. Being he an international renowned bow maker his bows was really way way too high for our level).
"We adopted my Melos rosin for her bow cleaning the old $1 rosin she got with the Allegro, and immediatelly noticed also a benefit."
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