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Author Topic: Octave violin - what bow do you use?  (Read 1856 times)

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Offline maxr

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Octave violin - what bow do you use?
« on: Jan 17, 2015, 07:47:42 PM »
What bow do you find works on your octave fiddle? I've had an acoustic 5 string octave violin put together, tuned c-g-d-a-e.  I tried a bunch of my bows on it, and most (about 8, from standard modern wooden and composite cello and viola bows through baroque bows) went back to their case straight away 'cos they just didn't pull a sound from the C and G. The ones that worked OK at least to some extent (all using an old Tartini cello rosin) were:
1) Codabow Diamond GX violin bow - a great precise focused sound on the E and A, not bad the D, but struggling with the lower strings - I think because it's just not stiff or heavy enough for them.
2) Chinese cello bow - a good quality very stiff brazilwood (yes...) bow. Heavy and stiff enough to pull a sound but 'wuffly' on the low C string, and a bit unfocused on higher strings.
3) 'Paganini' period style style cello bow - stiff and heavy (80gm) quality snakewood bow. Has potential but ultimately the sound is too thin - I suspect in part because so is the hair ribbon on this period style bow.
4) Super stiff viola 'Incredibow' - this is stiffer than most cello bows. It pulls a fairly focused and well balanced sound across all 5 strings, but ultimately it's not focused enough and a little too fuzzy.
My guess is that a carbon or other composite viola or cello bow is going to work best with this fiddle - but any ideas welcome, particularly for a more affordable bow.

Offline fiddledeedee

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Re: Octave violin - what bow do you use?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 18, 2015, 01:16:44 AM »
I don't have an octave violin, but I find my 5 string acoustic (with low C) sounds best with my CodaBow Diamond, and secondly - another (inexpensive) fiberglass bow that is on the heavy side. The coda bow has a more focused sound, but the alt bow isn't a bad choice.

Offline Manuel

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Re: Octave violin - what bow do you use?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 30, 2015, 05:39:00 PM »
I use a $50 dollar carbon fiber bow I got off of ebay.

It's supposed to be a viola bow, and it does have a wider ribbon of horsehair, but it's about a cm longer than my regular violin bow, go figure! It's haired with black horsehair, which despite my expectations, doesn't make it grip the strings any harder than regular white hair. However, the hair seems a lot sturdier, as it doesn't break nearly as easily as the white hair on the other bow I'd used with it, so that's already a plus. The stick is rather stiff, which I appreciate, given the colossally higher pressure I have to use for those strings.

I have tried both a wooden and carbon fiber cello bow, and I've found them both to make things harder.


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