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Author Topic: Fiddle bows  (Read 7681 times)

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Offline swarbrules

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Fiddle bows
« on: Feb 28, 2004, 08:59:51 PM »
I read most of "choosing a bow" so, forgive me if this has been answered in there. It seems to mostly technical so perhaps it hasn't and I can't find it on the board.

What difference does the weight of the bow make?

If I'm going to concentrate on British traditional with little or no spiccato etc how should that influence my choice of weight or type or, does it matter?

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #1 on: Feb 28, 2004, 09:36:15 PM »
I can't answer that.  I just got new 'better' bows too, and prefer the heavier ones - I play and sound much better (still can't get over the difference!), so I think the weight makes a big difference.  I was wondering though if a bow can be too heavy?

Offline natnot

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #2 on: Feb 28, 2004, 09:50:18 PM »
Well, if a violin bow is "too heavy", I think it gets called a viola bow! ;)

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #3 on: Feb 28, 2004, 09:57:05 PM »
LOL...good one! ;)

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #4 on: Feb 29, 2004, 02:49:26 AM »
At about 65 g they start getting rather slow to turn.  Balance is more important generally.  A stick has to be pretty soft to get left thick enough to weigh that much.

Offline Steve_W

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #5 on: Feb 29, 2004, 08:15:04 AM »
I'm not sure if this will help, but when I was playing Irish I used a light, whippy bow (56 grams, round stick); I found that it worked great for the fast triplets and all.   When I switched over to Scottish music I found I was less concerned with speed but more concerned with tone, and decided this bow just didn't cut it; I ended up with a heavier, stiffer octagonal German Voirin copy (not sure of the weight but I'm pretty sure it's well over 60g) that yields a really nice tone, but can be a little more difficult to get around on the really fast stuff.   I recently bought a new fiddle and the maker threw in a new (Chinese?) pernambucco bow with a round stick that feels like it's midway in weight and stiffness between my other 2 bows, and although it's a somewhat cheaper bow than my German bow and not as well made, I'm really starting to like it!   It seems to be a nice compromise between the other two bows.   Anyway, I think you just have to try a bunch of bows and find what works well with your type of music, and also be prepared to switch to something else if your needs change.  Good luck! -Steve W.
« Last Edit: Mar 05, 2004, 04:07:21 PM by Steve_W »

Offline swarbrules

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #6 on: Feb 29, 2004, 09:12:30 AM »
I copied this from one of Steve's posts about composite bows.

The one I like the best is the Artist.  Slightly more responsive and somehow more focused than the Prelude.

I can understand the resposive part and balance and feel  but, can a bow make that much difference to the sound? If so, give me a light and bright one.

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #7 on: Feb 29, 2004, 01:07:37 PM »
Bows make all the difference in tone.  I don't understand how, but the tone and playability increases as one goes up in quality are remarkable.

Offline Mnfele

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #8 on: Feb 29, 2004, 01:40:33 PM »
Steve W is so right. You have to try many different bows to find out what works for you, your instrument, and your type of music.  

As far as the heavy versus light "one size doesn't fit all". To put it simply. I use a heavier bow when playing with the orchestra or "classical" music. (I find that a bit more weight helps me control a spiccato and gives more tone.) My lighter weight bow is for fiddling and my medium weight is for "what ever".

Steve W also mentioned "stiffness". This is something else to consider since it doesn't always relate to weight.

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #9 on: Mar 01, 2004, 01:40:21 AM »
I suppose that's a good reason then for me to keep the lighter brazilwood bow (supposedly good quality) - I might need it for specific songs down the road?

Regardless, it's a good excuse.  It's a cute bow...I didn't want to sell it.

Offline Pilgrum

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #10 on: Mar 01, 2004, 05:21:26 AM »
Not that I have any answers, but.  Always like that word, ha.  My best (most expence) bow is a C.F. Coda Classic at 61.3.  Not perfect but a very nice bow.  I also have chinees pernambucco about 60. and two Brazilwood bows that I also like, both a little above 60.  I'm afraid if I sold any of the cheaper wood bows I would want top dollar because they all work well and I've own a lot that didn't.

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #11 on: Mar 05, 2004, 01:28:13 AM »
I think I'm in danger...if I don't watch out...of turning into a bow collector!  LOL...so many bows out there...and so different...who'd a thunk it?

Offline Steve_W

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #12 on: Mar 05, 2004, 04:06:56 PM »
Fortunately bows generally cost less than fiddles, and take up less space!  My case still has one bow slot that's not in use; I'm waiting for a good cheap composite bow to come out! -Steve

Offline ThunderFingers

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #13 on: Mar 05, 2004, 08:34:10 PM »
I looked at a bow in a violin shop a few weeks ago and was told it was worth 100 thousand.
but bows are personal prefrence. I have two Brazil wood bows, both are non octagonal, and I'm into that set for about a thousand.
one is about half an inch shorter than the other, a little lighter. But what is important to me is the balance, and the flexibility.  

Offline natnot

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #14 on: Mar 05, 2004, 10:56:28 PM »
I looked at a bow in a violin shop a few weeks ago and was told it was worth 100 thousand.

:o Wow! I'd be scared of playing anything that expensive in case I dropped it...

Was it a Tourte?

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #15 on: Mar 06, 2004, 03:49:54 AM »
I agree, I wouldn't want anything that expensive either.

I'd be so worried I'd never use it - and what's the point then?  LOL...

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #16 on: Mar 06, 2004, 03:01:04 PM »
Better bows tend to be more versatile, at least the ones we get.  At about $1000 (a fairly modest price, really) one gets into some quite delightful sticks.  

There's a review on composite bows in April's Strings magazine.  These are cello bows being reviewed.  The Cadenza line we decided to carry are doing quite well.  Our prices seem much lower than the ones they cite.  The most popular is the Artist.  For violin, we sell it at $199.

The least expensive composite here is the K. Holtz at $63.  They also make a much better than Glasser fiberglass bow.

Steve

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #17 on: Mar 06, 2004, 04:47:26 PM »
I'm still confused about bows and bow pricing.

The two I have are both silver mounted. But when I looked at prices of silver mounted frogs, they were almost as much as I paid for the entire bow! I also understand that a bowmaker wouldn't put silver mounting on a stick that didn't 'deserve' it.

So are these bows only so inexpensive because they're made in China (or whereever?)...or is there some other reason I'm missing?  No one I've asked so far has a clue.

I'm not complaining.  I'm happy with both of them - but already am forming a preference for one over the other...no real reason, it just feels 'tighter' somehow when I play.  I realize my preferences might change too, the better I get.

I'd like to try one of your $1000 bows...just to see if I can feel a difference.  LOL...if we're ever on vacation in your neck of the woods...be prepared...;)

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #18 on: Mar 06, 2004, 07:27:55 PM »
There are a wide range of silver mounted bows and quality of frogs.  Much of it is in rather tiny detail work.  The oriental work is an amazing value.  Really distorting the market.  Still, just as with violins, the benchmade stuff is clearly in a different league.

Steve

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #19 on: Mar 06, 2004, 07:53:07 PM »
Well, the national  bowmakers here, seem to be charging (a median figure of) about $7000 for a custom bow...

...beautiful of course...a work of art...so you're paying for something unique...but I wonder if the playability gets better too?
« Last Edit: Mar 07, 2004, 04:25:36 AM by Nox »

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #20 on: Mar 07, 2004, 02:14:14 AM »
$7000 is too high.  I see excellent bows by known makers for far less.  However, you're making me suddenly interested in making bows again.  A recent article in the VSA Journal on the Hill shop's methods was very interesting and I might try that method.  See if I get good results.

Steve

Offline rcc

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #21 on: Mar 07, 2004, 03:57:06 AM »
A while back, I spent an afternoon trying out lots of bows.  Like 30+ bows in a roomful of violins.

I've found that in addition to the mechanical differences one would expect to find in bows like balance,  they all seem to have their own tone, just like violins do.

Some bows seem to bring out the high frequencies, others the lower ones.  Some have richer fatter tones, other have edgier harsher tones, etc.

The bows interact with the violins so the results are never absolutely predictable but I've found that if I pick up two bows and one sounds richer/fatter/edgier/brighter than the other and I play both those bows on a variety of different violins, that typically the richer bow will sound richer on almost all the violins than the other bow.  Ditto the edgier bow, brighter bow, etc.

It was really rather fascinating.

- Ray

Offline Nox

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #22 on: Mar 07, 2004, 04:27:39 AM »
$7000 is too high.  I see excellent bows by known makers for far less.  However, you're making me suddenly interested in making bows again.  A recent article in the VSA Journal on the Hill shop's methods was very interesting and I might try that method.  See if I get good results.

Steve

Don't forget that's in Canadian dollars!!!  ;)

I'll tell you what!  You make bows and I'll peddle them up here!  I'm not kidding...there's nothing to even try!

Offline ThunderFingers

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #23 on: Mar 08, 2004, 03:35:49 PM »
:o Wow! I'd be scared of playing anything that expensive in case I dropped it...

Was it a Tourte?

I agree, I just looked at the guy like he was out of his mind. but far as I could tell, it was really an old Brazilian wood bow and I did pick it up to look at it, but not for long. Made me nervous just touching it.

Offline giannaviolins

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Re:Fiddle bows
« Reply #24 on: Mar 09, 2004, 12:39:54 AM »
Anyone here try Arcos Brazil bows?  I have a catalog coming from them.  I have been very happy with the D. Silviera silver mounted bows I've been getting.  Almost as good as my main bow.  Actually thinking of making a few once I get out from under these violins.

Steve

 




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