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Author Topic: Your ideal bow type?  (Read 1738 times)

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Offline Rosalba

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Your ideal bow type?
« on: Jul 20, 2015, 10:45:45 AM »
Just interested - what type of bow works for you, in the sort of music you play.
It may be just a 'standard tourte', but how far do you tighten it, and how do you hold it?
Or do you have different types of bow in your case, depending on what you're going to play? 

Offline Rosalba

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Re: Your ideal bow type?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 20, 2015, 10:52:18 AM »
I began with the usual starter-bow to a Chinese 'violin-shaped-object'. Within three months, it had snapped, thanks to my baroque-specialist Fiddle Guru's insistence that I tighten it really hard, presumably so that it the more resembled a baroque bow.
I then had the luthier order me a more expensive brazilwood bow, but it was too heavy and unwieldy. So I ordered a cheap fibre glass three quarter bow, which is what I use now for folk fiddle, as I can move it about well. I hold it at the frog, though, not halfway up the stick like some fiddlers.
I also have a baroque replica bow, snakewood, which Fiddle Guru ordered from a Chinese source. This is good for baroque music, which I also play, and its design makes it less likely that my nerves will bring on bow-shake. So if I play in front of friends, I use the baroque bow, even though it's not as wieldy as my other. Ironically, I find it heavier to lift than my student bow, and yet I only lift so often in baroque music.
Another teacher I had for a while insisted I use a full-size bow, so I ordered another light one in the same series as the three-quarters student bow. But now that I no longer play classical music, I don't use it. 
I have heard very good reports about a carbon fibre bow for sale (about £100) but it doesn't seem to be produced in three-quarter size, so I don't think I'll risk it. 

Offline Oscar10

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Re: Your ideal bow type?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 20, 2015, 02:47:30 PM »
My 2 main bows that I keep in my case at all times are a unknown brand/maker wood bow, probably Brazilwood, that my luthier says is probably in the $4-500 range, and a carbon fiber that I bought for about $200, a JT Jett I think?  The carbon fiber is stiff and very very light, whereas my wood bow is probably medium stiffness and a little on the heavy side.  I find myself playing the wood bow 90% of the time because it pulls better tone and, despite being a little heavy, just handles so well.

I tighten my bow tight enough that it's not "floppy", but not so tight that it won't easily grab the strings.  There's probably about a 1/2" gap between bow and hair when I tighten.  I play primarily country music and folk/irish in venues ranging from nice, large stages to tiny dive bars.  I use my carbon fiber a lot in the small, seedy places, just in case someone stumbles onto the band stand and knocks stuff over (it's happened before).  I also use it on outdoor stages if it's windy, because even though it's very light, it's easier to control in the wind than my wood bow.  I live on the coast and it can be seriously windy sometimes.

I would one day like to be able to afford a couple of really nice bows but, for now, I'm pretty happy with what I have.  

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Your ideal bow type?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 20, 2015, 05:38:34 PM »
To me, it's what works with the instrument. I've discovered that a cheap (I mean $200.00) carbon fiber bow works best with my good Italian fiddle because the bow is like a stickball bat and the Italian fiddle requires a really firm bow. I can get that really big whammy concerto sound out of the instrument with that.

My ridiculously valuable hundred and ten year old amazing Caressa and Français bow (which, guys, I decided to keep after all because its just so damn good) is just fantastic with my 500.00 Chinese fiddle, but just a little too delicate for the Italian instrument. (Go figure- a $10,000 bow on a $500,00 instrument.) It draws a tone out of it that even impresses my teacher. I'm waiting to send that fiddle up to Steve for him to do a full-blown setup on, because I think it's gonna end up being a great instrument.

But I digress...

It's what works, not what I like. I'd prefer the good bow on the good fiddle, but what gets the best sound and responds the best for the instrument is what I use to play.

..Joe
"Some people are like a Slinky... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs"

Offline awildman2384

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Re: Your ideal bow type?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 21, 2015, 02:27:01 AM »
Every fiddle I've owned seems to like a heavy-ish bow. I use a Coda GX.  It's not terribly nimble, but gets good tone. I like the feel of the nimble bow, and can make one work for fiddle music, but for violinny stuff, I stick with the Coda.  It's a good all around stick.  Not all of us can afford 5 digit bows. 

Offline Worldfiddler

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Re: Your ideal bow type?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 21, 2015, 08:29:40 AM »
After owing various Coda models, I'm now settled with an Arcus M4 carbon fibre bow. I might try a Jon Paul Avanti soon.
I usually tighten it up a fair bit - hard to say exactly, but enough to give it good 'springiness' for off-string work.
Jim

 




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