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Author Topic: how important is the bow to fiddlers  (Read 6485 times)

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Offline dalebygod

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how important is the bow to fiddlers
« on: Jul 30, 2003, 08:00:54 AM »
I have not played many bows and would like to know what most of the members use. Wood, or other? Horse hair or syn.
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Offline alwyswinn

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #1 on: Jul 30, 2003, 08:27:31 AM »
Hey dale I think we've discussed this before in chat but for tghe sake of everyone else I have two carbom fiber bows one blue one of which i don't know the maker and a nice cadenza prelude which plays like a bow at that costs at least twice what I paid for it.  I like the carbon fiber as it is virtually indestructible, isn't affected by temp and humidity, uses very little wood (just parts of the frog are wood) and of coursethe different colors are nice.  The way these bows play is something i like too thet seem to work well in my hand.  
    As to how important the bow is I think i put about as much thought and trials into buying the bows as i did the violin its amazing that an instrument sounds different when played by different bows.

Offline Pilgrum

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #2 on: Jul 30, 2003, 04:47:05 PM »
Dale, I'm a bit older than our young friend, he was raised in the new world and I in a much older one. I like wood. I have an inside/outside love affair with anything natural. Plastic comes from oil, and oil from old dead things in the ground, but somehow I can not get the same warm fuzzy feeling from a gallon of oil as I do from looking at or touching a tree. I like natural things, and yes I like wooden bows. My fiddles are made of wood, my bows are made of wood.  :naughty: To worship a plastic or carbon stick is allowed in this unfree country. I was there the day our friend tried both, a carbon bow and a fine wooden bow, and he admited then the wooden bow kicked ass. The only other comment was, too expensive, but the best is always a dollor more than the cheap! (P)

Offline alwyswinn

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #3 on: Jul 30, 2003, 05:19:33 PM »
If I recall Pilgrum the wood bow was $525 more not one and it wasn't $525 better in my opinion.  it did play nice but I wonder what the best cadenza plays like mines the bottom model I bet a step or 2 up is real sweet too and I know it isn't $525 more.  I have nothing against wood my fiddle is wooden both of em but at this point in time i gotta get the most bow for the buck.  The cadenza played much nicer than wood bows in excess of $500 but not as good as the $700 job Pilgrum mentioned

Offline Pilgrum

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #4 on: Jul 30, 2003, 05:41:00 PM »
WELL shut my mouth, you're right Rob. But I still believe the $700., model can be found for about (less that price) outside of S.F., and that makes the spread well within reach.  And it's just my opinion, but the bounce in wood is far more controlable for the newer player than other materials. Now for the balance, neither of us own anything but machine made bows. I would love to have a month with a custom, (made by human hands) bow. And then I'd let you play it for a month, and then we would restate our positions. Still amigos, Si?  (P)

Offline Alan Kroeger

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #5 on: Jul 30, 2003, 05:43:45 PM »
Carbon fiber is the way of the future when you consider that we should IMO stop defoliating the planet for trivial puposes when CF seems to be a Great replacement. If you own a wood bow you love then take care of it because, you never know if it will be the last of them. I think everyone who doesn't own a wooden bow already should consider the current crop of fully aknowledged awesome carbon fiber bows. I happen to own three bows that are very nearly the same price range one is a pernambuco and it is not as good as the two carbon fibers.
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Offline fiddlebob

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #6 on: Jul 30, 2003, 05:49:46 PM »
This is a topic that I know nothing about.  I have two bows, both wood.  One came with a German student fiddle that my son now has.(the fiddle, not the bow), and the other one I paud us$ 37.50 for.  I am not in the same bow class as you guys are.  

My bows both have natural hair on them.  I just can't bring myself to pay big bucks for a bow.  I would just be paying more money to accomplish the same end.


I'm not cheap - just frugal!

Fiddlebob

Offline Pilgrum

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #7 on: Jul 30, 2003, 06:06:48 PM »
First let me start with a question. Would someone explain, right to the point, what is carbon fiber and how is it made? Question #2 Could it be a "hand-made" into a bow?
Now FYI - Around the globe as we speak, different countries are now tree farming the pernambuco tree.  So buying a wooden bow does not deforest our planet. Pernambuco wood is a renewable source. That said, I like this thread and want to know more about C.F. the material and the bows. (P)

Offline alwyswinn

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #8 on: Jul 30, 2003, 07:02:24 PM »
try this one http://www.tohocarbonfibers.com/applications_processes.htm
 And yes many things are made from carbon fiber and worked by hand

Offline Pilgrum

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #9 on: Jul 30, 2003, 07:27:45 PM »
Okay, I read Toho web-site, now back to question one, how is it made and from what? We humans are a carbon product and burnt wood turns to carbon, but I'm thinking this must be different? (P)

Offline Bob

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #10 on: Jul 30, 2003, 08:53:28 PM »
First let me start with a question. Would someone explain, right to the point, what is carbon fiber and how is it made? Question #2 Could it be a "hand-made" into a bow?
Now FYI - Around the globe as we speak, different countries are now tree farming the pernambuco tree.  So buying a wooden bow does not deforest our planet. Pernambuco wood is a renewable source. That said, I like this thread and want to know more about C.F. the material and the bows. (P)

I really like wood - and I'm at one with Pilgrim here. A fine pernambuco bow is both a work of art (and fine engineering) and an object of beauty. A CF bow just does not have it!. On the other hand I'm an advocate of CF bows - they're very good value, indestructible, the best are up there with very fine pernambuo bows etc.

But... Pernambuco is of the species Caesalpinia Echinata - and so is Brazilwood, a much cheaper and inferior material for bows. The country is named after the wood (so I believe) and pernambuco is so called becuase it only gorws in the Pernambuco region of Brazil. The different climate and soil account for the widely differering characteristics of each.

Thus one cannot grow pernambuco anywhere else - logically it cannot be pernambuco. More, the export of pernambuco is banned under the CITES convention - until such time as the shrub recovers. There is replanting, but not a great deal yet. Some bow makers (the real good ones in general) are participating in a scheme where they donate I think 5% of the bow cost to the replanting scheme.

Pernambuco is only a renewable source *if* there is adequate replanting - which is not the case yet. If you're worried about it - don;t be - bow makers are running on stocks outside Brazil - thye problem will come as stocks tail off and there isn't enough to replace it.

A far more serious problem occurs with Brazilian Rosewood (also endangered) and Mahogany - estimates suggest that 70% of the wood imported into Britain is illegally felld and smuggled in with false paperwork. Both woods are used extensively by guitar makers - so if you're thinking about a guitar - get one made with native woods not imported.

The next big problem is ebony - and violins really do use lots of it - about half the ebony species in the world have already passed the point of no return.

Offline Pilgrum

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #11 on: Jul 30, 2003, 09:32:41 PM »
There is a species of (Caesalpinia Exhinata) or close to, growing in China. While it maynot be the pure pernambuco from Brazil its a second fine grade?, and in supply. Odd but true, one of my best balanced bows is a cheap Brazilwood bow. It dances in my hand, unlike my better pernambuco bow. I still think for me, its weight and balance. I love wood, but if I found a C.F., that was better, I'd go for it. So far, all  Carbon made bows that I have played around with, seem on the mild & heavy feeling in my hand.  I've heard the talk, I've felt the cold hard carbon/glass, I'm waiting. (P)  

Offline Bob

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #12 on: Jul 30, 2003, 09:43:32 PM »
There is a species of (Caesalpinia Exhinata) or close to, growing in China. While it maynot be the pure pernambuco from Brazil its a second fine grade?, and in supply. Odd but true, one of my best balanced bows is a cheap Brazilwood bow. It dances in my hand, unlike my better pernambuco bow. I still think for me, its weight and balance. I love wood, but if I found a C.F., that was better, I'd go for it. So far, all  Carbon made bows that I have played around with, seem on the mild & heavy feeling in my hand.  I've heard the talk, I've felt the cold hard carbon/glass, I'm waiting. (P)  

I guess you're referring to manilkara kauki - yes its related I believe. And I have some bows made with it... :-(   As you suggest a good Brazilwood bow will beat a mediocre pernambuco bow.

If you think that all CF bows are heavy - that's because they try to simulate wood. Arcus CF bows are about 9 g lighter than the average and very well balanced. But also try (heavier) bows from Spiccato, Berg, and Carbow - all are excellent bows.

I'd still rather have wood - but even though I sell bows I've yet to find anything that compares with my Arcus Concerto for the money (about $1,800) - and I can't afford to double that for a fine pernambuco bow of equal quality.

Offline dalebygod

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #13 on: Jul 31, 2003, 04:41:33 AM »
Jesus, do you guys read the 'Webster' on you days off.hahahha Interesting thoughts all around. I would like to try one of Giannas fiddle bows. I did have a fine pernambuco bow that plays well for me. I did have a albert nurnberger 5 star {spell} at one time but it had been broke at the frog. I had a repair man in Branson Mo fix it and it play really nice. I sold it to Shoji Tabouchi, oh coarse i told him it had been broken and fixed. But i always regretted selling it. A really nice feel. My problem is i just have one good bow, and if something happens, i'm stuck with junk. Thanks guy for you input
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Offline Pilgrum

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #14 on: Aug 01, 2003, 04:48:43 AM »
Played for a little while this afternoon with a friend. He has several carbon type bows. Please don't get me wrong, of the two I used this afternoon, both are nice, but neither were better than my wooden bows. So, I'm back to the same discussion. For weight, balance and playability, cheap ($100. to $200.) wooden are still holding there own for people that like wood. Now the kicker for me, my wood bow bounces with more control than anything else I've try, so far. Its the weight or lack of extra weight and balance that let my finger flip that tip back and forth with ease. Guess, I'm still a wood loving type of guy. Sorry carban fiber.  Maybe next time. (P)

Offline alwyswinn

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #15 on: Aug 01, 2003, 07:10:01 AM »
It's amazing how different the same bow can feel in different hands i feel the same way as Pilgrum does about a lot of wood bows oh well different strokes for different folks.  I guess the answer to your question Dale is the bow is very important to us as important as the fiddles we play with em.

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #16 on: Aug 01, 2003, 12:54:46 PM »
Bows are pretty dang interesting.  We measure 3 things to classify them:  stiffness (Stroup index), balance point, and weight.  I see a general relationship between arm weight and strength and the general characteristics of the bows people tend to like, but there are so many exceptions that it is pointless for me to say what I see!  However, when a player comes up to the booth looking for a bow, about 1/2 the time I had them the one they end up taking on the first try.  

I really like good quality brazilwood for fiddling.  I sell lots of these.  Of course, now I'm mostly selling the Cadenza carbon bows.  I don't notice they are carbon, which is a good sign.  I may even keep one for myself eventually!  Although folks keep buying them out of my hands.

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Offline fidla

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #17 on: Aug 07, 2003, 03:38:56 PM »
I have a bunch of different bows but my favorite bow is a French pernambuco no name (probably a "manufactured" bow from the 1800s) that I've played now for close on 35 years.  

Other bows I like include a Horst John gold mounted bow I got from Jacy Sousa in February (nice!); a couple Glasser graphite bows I use to demonstrate the difference between types of bow hair (a little top-heavy for me); a brand spanking new P&H bow (green!) from Ray (he's a customer of mine) which is great to take to Irish sessions - I have rehaired it with green hair; and this new bow from Otto Musica which absolutely had to have a rehair but now plays fine if a little clunky.

Personally I think that the bow is sometimes more important than the violin.  It is the right hand that generates the sound from the instrument and the bow that facilitates it.  That's why I think a good bow is so important.  You have to feel comfortable with the stick in your hand and you have to be happy about how it feels when you draw it across the strings, but most importantly you have to be pleased with the quality of sound it produces.

I think a lot of us could improve our sounds immensely by experimenting with different bows and different bow hairs.  In another thread on this forum, Bob from Judicael strings is nicely handing out samples of our Fiddler's Hair to anyone that wants to try it.  I think this is a great idea and I am offering it here in the US.  If anyone wants to take a hank of any of the different kinds of hair into their favorite rehair person, IM me and I will send you one; and if there's a kind person like Bob in Canada or any other country (other than the US or UK) that is willing to distribute samples, I would be happy to facilitate that.


Offline Graham Clark

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #18 on: Aug 12, 2003, 09:39:14 AM »
How your bow works (or how you work your bow, I should say) determines your articulation, co-ordination, and timing, as well as having an effect on tone.

With a less than average bow, you can do pretty well at a certain level, but you won't get any better. You can't, because the bow won't let you. It just won't do those extra things.

As soon as you get a more responsive bow (whether wood or CF), possibilities arise that you didn't even think of before.

A good bow will teach you what more there is to get out of a fiddle. CF bows can certainly provide excellent  facility, though a good pernambuco stick has a little "something else".

gc

Offline Dunvegan

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #19 on: Aug 30, 2003, 07:54:51 PM »
have any of you tried the carbon fiber some guy on ebay touts as being better than a coda bow and sells it for under 100?
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Offline bornagainviolinist

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #20 on: Aug 30, 2003, 10:12:46 PM »
Quote
have any of you tried the carbon fiber some guy on ebay touts as being better than a coda bow and sells it for under 100?

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which pretty much goes for the whole internet advertising.

However I would like to give credit to the CF's durability.

You see in highschool, me and my friends loved to have sword fights. So we took our school owned CF bows and have at it.  Well after we got tired of playing, we'd notice that our bows were still intacked....amazingly enough.

So for the sake of science, we decided to go  one step further. We took our bow and started thwapping on the school desk repeatedly, as hard as we could. And would you believe that the bows wouldn't break? Now those bows were built to last.

PS I wouldn't dare try that my own personal wooden bow...... Unless the school owned it.

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #21 on: Sep 10, 2003, 12:56:52 AM »
I have an old Gotz and a Hoyer.  Both play so close, I really don't pay too much attention to which one I pick out of the case.  Can't imagine a fishing rod, a.k.a carbon fiber playing with a good wooden stick :)

As to "saving the earth", LOL!  I worry about it almost as much as a Hell's Angel does about bad breath :)  If a poor old ebony tree must be sacrificed to produce 10,000 fiddles,  SO MOTE IT BE!  LOL!

C YA

Mitch

Offline Ernst

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #22 on: Sep 10, 2003, 05:21:40 AM »
A good bow review can be found at this web page.

http://members.aol.com/bowedstrings/violin-bow-review.html

I've never played a bow, wooden or synthetic, that cost more than about $300.00 US so my personal comments are only applicable to working man sticks or starters. Also, I've never tried carbon fiber.

First off I don't like synthetic hair, to me it feels "greasy" on the strings.

I have a 300 dollar pernamnucco (probably Asian) bow, a 100 dollar brazilwood bow, an older "some kinda reddish wood" bow that I got with an old fiddle, various cheaper brazilwood bows, a fiberglass bow, and a Glasser composite bow.

My pernambucco bow is light and very springy. This bow sounds the sweetest. It's great for waltzes but a little too springy for a good all aroudn fiddlin bow.

All of my brazilwoods are klunky. I don't like their tone, it's harsh,  and I don't like their feel.

Fiberglass feels way too mushy to me.

At eighty five dollars the Glasser composite is the best player I have. When I learned a little more about bows I did some checking and maybe found out why I like it the best.

It weighs about 60 grams and balances right where the experts say a bow is supposed to. My 300 buck pernambucco balances good but it weighs only 58.5 grams. Maybe that's why it's so bouncy. The Brazilwoods go a hefty 64 grams, maybe that's why they feel klunky.

For me the bow is as important as the fiddle. If I don't like the tone of a bow I seem to resist "laying into it" and if I don't like the heft of a bow I lose control when I lay into it.

Of course it's all a matter of personal likes and dislikes. Two of the guys I fiddle with barely tighten their bows and they play more stick than hair. They have years and years of rosin built up on the stick. Obviously things like bow spring and the tones of different bow materials wouldn't matter here. These guys have been playing for probably 50 or 60 years, have no idea what kind or how old their hair is, couldn't  care less what the stick is made of, and would think that we are all nuts in thinking so hard about bows. Their motto is if it feels good in your hand, then just play the damned thing.

Offline Martin

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #23 on: Sep 10, 2003, 04:02:45 PM »
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which pretty much goes for the whole internet advertising.

However I would like to give credit to the CF's durability.

You see in highschool, me and my friends loved to have sword fights. So we took our school owned CF bows and have at it.  Well after we got tired of playing, we'd notice that our bows were still intacked....amazingly enough.

So for the sake of science, we decided to go  one step further. We took our bow and started thwapping on the school desk repeatedly, as hard as we could. And would you believe that the bows wouldn't break? Now those bows were built to last.

PS I wouldn't dare try that my own personal wooden bow...... Unless the school owned it.

Nothing I like better than a good scientific experiment under laboratory conditions.

Reminds me of the time I played a tinwhistle with lungsfull of helium to see if the note would change (it did).

Anyway, thanks Bornagain, I just snorted tea out my nose thanks to you, and you can imagine how much fun that was, especially for my keyboard.  :happy:

Offline SuperDad

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #24 on: Oct 08, 2003, 01:08:42 PM »
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which pretty much goes for the whole internet advertising.

However I would like to give credit to the CF's durability.

You see in highschool, me and my friends loved to have sword fights. So we took our school owned CF bows and have at it.  Well after we got tired of playing, we'd notice that our bows were still intacked....amazingly enough.

So for the sake of science, we decided to go  one step further. We took our bow and started thwapping on the school desk repeatedly, as hard as we could. And would you believe that the bows wouldn't break? Now those bows were built to last.

PS I wouldn't dare try that my own personal wooden bow...... Unless the school owned it.
Reading this post, and realizing that my ten year old is not as restrained as born-again, makes me glad I didn't get the little guy too expensive a violin. ;)

Offline fidla

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Re:how important is the bow to fiddlers
« Reply #25 on: Nov 17, 2003, 07:06:44 PM »
I use a 200 year old pernambuco stick (prob French) 54g rehaired with Fiddler's hair and rosined with Tartini Symphony.

I like my Coda Conservatory viola bow (also rehaired with Fiddler's hair) and my Glasser CG violin bow (green hair!).  

Now I own an Arcolla CF violin bow and I love it:

I played with it in a gig over the weekend and maybe I won't go back to my old pernam...

 




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