Fiddle and Alternative Strings Forum

Instruments and Equipment => Other Accessories => Topic started by: swarbrules on Mar 23, 2005, 09:10:03 AM

Title: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: swarbrules on Mar 23, 2005, 09:10:03 AM
Having worked in a golf shop, I can pick up a club, balance it in my hand, take a practice swing and tell if it will suit me. Is the flex in the right place? Is the shaft too stiff. I can look at a spec on a golf ball and know if I will like it when I putt.

Violins and their associated paraphenalia are similarly complex but, as yet, I cannot make those fine decisions. I can pick quality from dross but do I need a light bow, or a heavier bow? Stiff or springy? Tip heavy or frog heavy (or something in between)? Dale can describe the type of bow he likes down to the finest detail and others can, doubtless, do the same. I can only say that, at this time, I prefer this bow. I cannot give reasons and cannot guarantee that I will feel the same in 12 months time.

How long was it before you knew what you wanted in strings, bows, rosin etc?
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: Nfkfiddler on Mar 23, 2005, 09:22:05 AM
How long have you played golf compared to your fiddle?
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: swarbrules on Mar 23, 2005, 09:37:01 AM
Fiddle 18 months. Golf 20+ years.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: Nfkfiddler on Mar 23, 2005, 10:06:23 AM
Fiddle 18 months. Golf 20+ years.
Isn't that your answer? :-\
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: swarbrules on Mar 23, 2005, 10:27:22 AM
No, I don't expect to make a valid judgement at this stage. I was wondering how long it was before people knew what they needed as opposed to we beginners who close our eyes and hope for the best. I know this will vary but, it would be interesting to hear players' views.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: giannaviolins on Mar 23, 2005, 10:47:29 AM
Some people are playing poor bows after many years. 

Get someone to pick a good neutral, middle of the road bow out.

Get a decent carbon bow.  They all work fine.

Get a decent handcrafted bowmaker's bow.  The Brazilian work and the $500 and up German work should all work if of a reasonable weight.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: swarbrules on Mar 23, 2005, 11:35:12 AM
Ah, what it is to be a pain.

I totally agree with Steve. I have a very good, well balanced, mid weight bow and it is everything and more at my current level (and could remain so as long as I play).

I also have a light bow which, while not a patch on the other, feels nice in the hand and on the strings.

If someone were to say to me "Here is 1000, what sort of bow would you like?" I would ask for a fairly light bow with a bit of weight towards the tip.

Now, this is, obviously, pretentious bulls**t from one who doesn't have enough experience to be so specific.

Those who work in specialist areas will know of the customer whose motto should be:

It is better to keep your mouth shut and have men think you a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

How long should I keep my mouth shut?
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: Fairview Fiddler on Mar 23, 2005, 01:16:35 PM
I've got four good bows. The 3 pernambuco bows are all in the $300 range and I have a $700 Codabow classic. One thing I notice when I change bows is that I seem to like the bow I have not been playing. Somehow I judge it better than the one I have been playing with for several months and I think that I should change and be playing with this bow instead of that bow. The Codabow does seem to be the exception to this revolving door conumdrum as it's performance is noticably better than all the others.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: sreizes on Mar 23, 2005, 04:58:22 PM
I can't help but notice that no one is really answering Swarb's question.  I think maybe his point is being missed.  I have 7 years of actual play under my belt and I really didn't learn anything about equipment in the first 6 (I was in Jr & Sr. high school).   

I currently also can't say "I want ______ in a bow".  I know I have a light, stiff, neutral balanced bow and a medium weight, medium neutral bow, currently.

I suspect that the answer to the "how long?" question is, " It depends"  some might be quick, others slow. 

In your learning about golf equipment, Swarb, how long did you play before you started to pay attention to the effect of equipment?  And how long after that, or at what skill level, did you begin to get a feel for what worked for you?  There is the answer.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: swarbrules on Mar 23, 2005, 06:02:22 PM
I don't think it's time as such, more exposure to a wide variety of clubs (or bows). Probably 12 months of Saturdays and lots of opportunity to try. Add in expert advice, and, perversely those who think they are experts.

With so many tempting bows out there, there could be a tendency to chop and change.

I did it with putters, went round and round in circles and have finished up with something similar to my first one. And I still regret part exchanging one years ago.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: Anthony on Mar 23, 2005, 06:20:59 PM
How long should I keep my mouth shut?

This is very subjective. When I started playing banjo 10 years ago, I knew at the time the "Sound" I wanted. After playing many makes and models of banjo I found the "Deering Calico" came the closest to what I hear. I still try new strings when they come along.

The same goes for the violin & fiddle, as I'm just getting back into playing this instrument after a 25 year hiatus I really can't say what strings, rosin, bow ect... I prefer.

I believe we reach a point when we just know. It feels or sounds just right. The more you play and try different strings, bows, rosin and fiddles, the finer tuned you'll become to the subtle differences .

In many ways I find it similar "Cupping Coffee" or "Wine Tasting" the more one know about the terms used and what they mean the easier it is to discribe how it taste and feels. The more one engages in these activities the more refind their sences become to the subtleties.
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: rcc on Mar 23, 2005, 09:52:49 PM
I don't know that there is a set time period.

Part of the problem with knowing what's right for you is trying enough different bows (and everything else) that you get a feel for what works best for you.  The usual problem with beginners is that they haven't tried to play enough different bows for long enough.

Part of the problem is that "right" changes over time if your bowing style changes (which it's likely to do as you get better).

Another problem is that sometimes, we have to compromise on the "right" bow.  It may not handle exactly the way you want but you may put up with that if it sounds great.  You just learn to work around it instead.

As I keep having to remind myself, nothing's perfect.  You just make the best compromises you can.  The other thing I keep reminding myself is that you often need to adjust to the equipment instead of forcing it to adjust to you.  And the good stuff if well worth adjusting to.

- Ray
Title: Re: Making a valid judgement.
Post by: oldbeginner on Mar 25, 2005, 12:34:40 AM
Great question.  I've been wondering exactly the same thing (doing this about 2 years...more liek 6 mos of steady practice 20 min a day). 

I know that I like some bows better than others, but haven't a clue why.   

With rosin, I can't tell any difference yet, not a bit.  I'm still working with how much rosin.  I actually went as far as to make a spreadsheet of my practice time, rosin it up good, then practice until it seems that it is slipping or just not grabbing correctly.  This has been recent and I decided to rosin after 2 hrs 20 min the first time, and 2 hrs and 11 minutes the second time.  Not sure if this is close to average...and I'm using Hill Dark.  Humidity seems to affect rosin a bit...sound is horrible when raining outside and the bow just feels awful...gumming up I guess.  I've gooten a tad anal rententive with the spreadsheet...keep up with how much I practice scales, just bowign practice, old songs, and new songs.  Practicing less than I thought.

Strings are getting a little easier, although I haven't tried a lot.  Dominants, Helicores, Vision, and Sueprsenstive Red Label.  Like all but the last, which feels like I am pressing a winch cable.  And it seems like I have to press the bow harder on steel strings.  Gonna try Corelli Crystals next, since I can't tell the real difference between synthetics, my teacher loves them, and they seem to be a bargain ($20) for synthetic core.

So as to really answer you question Swarbrules,  must be longer than 2 years.
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