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Crisis in BowLand
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Oliver
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May 27, 2012 - 8:45 pm
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This is just a report without bias.

Some members know that I can be radical about certain thing like bows.

As I started my afternoon practice session, I found yesterday's bow to be really cranky.

I added rosin.  No help.

I removed rosin.  No help.

But I was not going to lose this one !!!

Just for the hxxx of it I reduced bow tension about 1/3 turn.

IMMEDIATE difference !

Much improved sound quality !

BUT BUT.........it took me about 20 minutes to get the bouncing under control !!!!!

(I never bounce a bow.)

You now know as much as I do.

What does this all mean ? 

I have no idea except I'm going back to find out.

LATE NIGHT RESULTS.     Whoa !birthday_balloonbirthday_balloonbirthday_balloonbirthday_balloonbirthday_balloonbirthday_balloonbirthday_balloon

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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May 28, 2012 - 7:50 am
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Yes, Oliver, I do the same thing. I play with bow tension all the time. I have one particular bow that the stick is rather flexable and no matter how loose or tight I make it, I get bounce at certain time's, but different tension on the bow hair does make different sound.cheers

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Oliver
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May 28, 2012 - 8:15 am
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My preliminaries are:

The lesser tension bow tends to bounce more but is controllable.

The lesser tension bow sounds much better, at least on my violin.

My first measurements indicate that what I'm calling "lesser" tension may be as little as 1/2 what I'm used to.  Setting up for better measurement.

This frolic may cost me 2 - 4 bows which are too curvey for low(er) tension.  The bow is hitting the strings sometimes.

I don't think that the lesser tension bow is as "quick".

dazed

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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springer
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May 28, 2012 - 9:53 am
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Oliver! Have you considered the humidity?red_cursing

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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May 28, 2012 - 10:34 am
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I guess Kindascratchy (maybe i'm wrong and that was someone else...) had the same problem. When bow is tight - no bouncing, when loosen a bit - bouncing!

I can only guess about it: different bows - different sticks - different tention properties. For any Bow+Player combination there is a particular SET of the OPTIONS when it works better...

Or this all is a miracle and violin faries-related things..dunno

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Fiddle4Fun
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May 28, 2012 - 10:46 am
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Nah, it's more of a wands and magic kind of thing.  You have to have the correct hand motion and incantation intonation.  laugh

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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May 28, 2012 - 10:55 am
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Fiddle4Fun, you have been watching too much Harry Potter.

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Fiddle4Fun
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May 28, 2012 - 11:05 am
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I've been watching too much Harry Potter?  If you were able to guess my reference then maybe it is you who've been watching too much Harry Potter. laugh

 

*swish and flick*

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 28, 2012 - 11:11 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Interesting ideas. I usually use the same tension and it is what has proven to be optimal for me. However, on occasion I end up with a completely different tension because of humidity changes and such and can usually notice the difference pretty well.

Once I was playing Sarasate's Navarra for two violins which has a lot of triplet staccato's in the beginning and had a hell of a time getting the usual smooth bouce I normally get only to discover a quarter way through the piece that I had forgotten to tighten the bow. 🙁

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
NC
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May 28, 2012 - 12:16 pm
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I would not be so hyper about all this except for the big improvement in sound quality and I might even know why this happened. 

I will make an audio demo if the effect can survive my recording set up.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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springer
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May 30, 2012 - 9:31 pm
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Come on Dennis give us a technical answer.red_cursingred_cursingred_cursing

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cdennyb
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May 30, 2012 - 10:03 pm
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fiddlerman.com/wp-content/forum-media-uploads/cdennyb/2012/05/http___www.andreasgrutter.nl_bow-couch_bow-couch.pdf

springer said

Come on Dennis give us a technical answer.red_cursingred_cursingred_cursing

Well...

All of the above is a great place to start. The technical thing that's happening is this:

As the bow is pulled across the strings with, lets say X1 amount of tension, and the humidity is H1 and not going to change (say 50% relative) the constant amount of rosin and the constant speed of bowing are both unchanged (just for the argument here). The pressure of the hair against the string(s) is changing constantly and we'll call that V1 (for variable)... and now the explanation...

As the V1 is fluctuating, it causes a wrap-up on the string as it travel across it, rolling the string slightly as it glides across the string. As this happens it causes the X1 to change as well very rapidly, like dozens if not hundreds of times per second, and the string also vibrates at whatever frequency the note is that's being played is at. Now for the fun part... as the bow hair is wrapped around the string slightly and released at that incredible speed which also will match the string vibrational speed on occassion the grab part will suddenly 'let go' of the string and the bow will shoot forward or backward whatever the direction is that it happens in, and slightly bounce until the hair (coated with rosin) comes back to the string and grabs once again, repeating the cycle all over bunches of times per second, the number is directly proportional to the speed of the bowing motion.

The ways to stop this from happening is to make sure there isn't "too much" rosin build up on the hair strands (which tend to wrap up more on the string) and make sure the string has little if any build up on them as well. As the humidity and temperature go up, like in summer... many change rosins to get away from that 'sticky' problem and thus stop or greatly reduce the stick and grab mechanisim from happening.

Also, the X1 (hair tension) is a factor that the player will constantly change from session to session, thus one time it bounces the next it doesn't) loose hairs will wrap up easier and faster than tight hairs will...but tight hairs will be difficult to grab and release in their normal fashion to create a vibratory note in uniform value which is the "balancing act" that every player of strings has to contend with.

Trying to play lightly is more prone to a squeak or high pitched squeal and playing agressively will tend to forcefully drag the hair across the strings creating a harder vibration which is usually always lacking in a bow bounce.

This is pretty much the simple version of the dynamics, and I've left out a lot of technical stuff because you would need a good foundation of elementary physics and math to comprehend the actual variables and their relationship to each other.

The variables are in the range a couple of dozen and the player introduces another dozen or so. The method and causeation of bow bounce is very complex both in physical and auditory details.

Here's a nice 227 page doc from a bow maker. It makes for very interesting reading and addresses this issue in some detail.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Oliver
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May 30, 2012 - 10:44 pm
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As one expert said, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is."

And that settles that !

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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dionysia
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May 30, 2012 - 10:54 pm
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LOL Oliver, I will have to remember that one.

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DanielB
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May 31, 2012 - 6:00 am
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Interesting article, cdennyb.  Particularly the discussion about the winding and etc in the "strip your bow" section.  I'll start a new thread for that thought, though, rather than de-railing this one.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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springer
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May 31, 2012 - 11:53 am
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Thanks Dennis. Knew you could give us the poop.dancingdancingbananadancingdancing

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