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Bow Basics. Question for FM.
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Oliver
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October 21, 2011 - 4:30 pm
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I have several bows.  Recently I have been playing a carbon fiber from the U.K.  I also have an EBAY survivor which may have nylon hair.  I think this bow is Brazil wood.

I am totally baffled to find that I am capable of faster tempos with the Brazil wood.  I took some measurements:

               CF                             Brazil wood

weight     2.25 oz.                        2.1 oz.

balance    26 cm                          26 cm

 

I also think that the CF is stiffer but I have no way to measure that.

 

My questions are:

Do you see anything that might account for a difference in how these bows handle?  Could I expect a physically lighter bow to, in fact, be quicker on the strings?

It's possible I'm imagining all this but there's a bigger picture.  If I exclude sound quality, what are the other benefits of a "good" ($) bow ??

coffee2

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 21, 2011 - 8:09 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

You really put me on the spot with tough questions Oliver.dazed

Your violins sound can vary a lot by changing the bow. I don't know why but different bows give different sounds on the same violin. It could have something to do with the wood but that doesn't make much sense to me since the sound comes form the air movement caused from the violins body.

Good sticks are usually well balanced, and properly weighted but that differs from person to person as well. Logically you would expect a carbon fiber bow to have better characteristics for flex, arching and longevity.

A light bow won't give you as good of a spiccato as a heavier one. The weight will actually bring the bow down faster giving you a better articulation. A good arch is extremely important to be able to get just the proper amount of absorption.

 Potentially an expensive bow will react properly to what you do. Produce a better match for your violins sound. And bounce just the way you want it to provided you have a great technique

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

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pky
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October 22, 2011 - 1:18 am
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Could you please define "well balance"? I see Oliver has a balance point at 26cm, I guessed that's measured from the frog?

Btw, when one measures the length of a bow, does he/she measure it from frog to tip or the screw to tip?  

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 22, 2011 - 8:16 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

I never heard of the measurement of balance. I would guess that Oliver measured where the bow pivots with the same balance on both sides but I am not sure.

Well balanced for me is when the bows weight is not too much to the tip or frog. It should feel right to draw the bow from the frog to the tip. I judge from feel, since I've played so much in my life. A good balance makes it easy to play spiccato in the right spot and play smoothly in all areas of the bow. A top heavy bow is too heavy to easily play softly at the frog for example and a bottom heavy bow requires you to work harder at the tip to produce a strong sound. It is still possible to do these things but you need to work more towards achieving it.

bows are measured from the screw to tip. The overall length.

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

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Oliver
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October 22, 2011 - 8:44 am
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"Balance" point discussion occurs now and then and is where the bow, literally, does physically balance.  My measurement is 26 cm for two different bows. (Do all bows balance at 26 cm ?)

My first and only teacher had me put a marker at the balance point and "forbid" me to play below that point (?) ( i.e. use tip only )

 

FM....the difficulty of my questions only means that I have already reached a truce with the easier questions dazed

coffee2

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 22, 2011 - 10:03 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Wonder why your ex-teacher paid for a whole bow. rofl

I need the challenges. Keep the tough questions coming. coffee1

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

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pky
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October 22, 2011 - 11:40 am
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FM, thank you for the information! I guessed mine (at least one of them) is tip heavy, because I need to work really hard to play at the tip for violin 3 and 4. Well, it couls also be my bowing skill is not there yet.

Oliver said:

"Balance" point discussion occurs now and then and is where the bow, literally, does physically balance.  My measurement is 26 cm for two different bows. (Do all bows balance at 26 cm ?)

So, Oliver, where do you measure it from, the tip or the frog, or the screw? 

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Oliver
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October 22, 2011 - 12:26 pm
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I measured from the end of the screw with the bow hair more loose than tight.

I did a little surfing and easily found some very interesting articles about balance point.  Some sites measured the balance point directly from the frog.  At least one site emphasized that the balance point could make the bow feel lighter or heavier as played.

My teacher with the balance point rules was, at heart, a Celtic fiddler and maybe that became part of her teaching habit. 

coffee2

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

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pky
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October 22, 2011 - 7:59 pm
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I measured mine, one is balanced at 28 cm, the warped one, the other is at 27cm, both measured from the screw and with hair loosen.

I like the one that is balanced at 28 cm better, in fact, it was the bow that looks the worse -- it's warped and lost quite a few hair, but play better, it does not squeak like the other one. However, my hands felt stiff and sore after playing for a few minutes at the tip, on both bows. That's why i can never practice the christmas project for more than 10 minutes a day, usually my right hand started to give up after playing the song three times or so.

I guess I need to get a good bow from the fiddlerman:P 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 22, 2011 - 10:43 pm
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pky said:

.....I guess I need to get a good bow from the fiddlerman:P 

For sure Pky 🙂 However, I'm hoping that your technique and hold are good. Can you record a video where I can see your bow hand and post it?

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

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