FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Bow Mod - adding a tiny bit of weight to the tip
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
July 13, 2013 - 9:06 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've had to consider for a bit whether to post this little experiment/project, since the area is so subjective as to what is "better".  But what the heck.  

 

A few weeks back, a person I know who happens to be more experienced with violins dropped by and tried out Fusion bow.  Fusions are inexpensive and "carbon composite" type, meaning they are mostly CF (carbon fibre), but have a stiffer fiberglass core. 

She said it was ok, but that she found it a bit "skitterish" so far as tracking was concerned, since the balance was slightly lighter on the tip than her (more expensive) CF bow.  So we did a few minutes of experimenting by adding a dab of modelling clay (plasticine) to the tip of my bow and adjusting the amount until she felt the balance was just about right, comparing it to her bow. 

I have to admit that I didn't feel much difference, but it might be a more subtle thing than I notice after only a year of playing. 

But I had been toying with the idea of maybe replacing the plastic on the tip of the bow with silver, since I've seen pics of a few antique bows that were made like that.  Why I hadn't gone ahead and tried that is I didn't want to risk wrecking the tip of the bow, and wasn't sure what the weight difference would do.  But seeing as the amount of weight was very small (less than a gram), I decided to try making a metal plate to cover part of the tip. 

So I took the modelling clay weight and put it in a plastic bag until I visited a friend who is an herbalist and has good scales for small weights.  The dab of clay ended up weighing 0.27 gm.  I snipped out the approx shape from some sterling silver scrap I'd brought along and trimmed it to about 0.3 gm, to allow a little for sanding a bit off to fit it precisely to the tip and buffing. 

Gluing it on to the plastic tip, I can take it off later, if I change my mind since the original tip wasn't changed at all.  I thinned the metal point just slightly and burnished it to curve up and wrap around the rounded point of the plastic tip (kind of like how a jeweler shapes and fits the prongs that hold a gemstone in a ring), so the metal might give the plastic a tiny bit of protection if it ever was dropped tip-first onto some hard surface.

I can't say for a fact that it is any vast improvement for playing.  It is definitely not worse, and I *think* maybe the bow does track a little straighter.  But the difference would be slight, and might be placebo effect. 

Still, it's a little bit of custom "bling" or "flash", and that can be good for morale as well as just plain fun. 

100_0506.JPGImage Enlarger100_0507.JPGImage Enlarger

 

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments

"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

Avatar
Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

Regulars
July 13, 2013 - 1:25 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Is that black hair on the bow?

Avatar
Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
Members

Regulars
July 13, 2013 - 2:50 pm
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Nice idea. =)

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
July 13, 2013 - 8:06 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

This isn't one of those things I've tried where I can say "you gotta try this!".. Personally, I'd have to say I'm not 100% sure that it actually makes any noticeable difference in how the bow handles or plays.  Sometimes I think it did, sometimes not.  It is possible that I am just too much of a noob yet to really be aware of such subtle differences.  It is also possible that it doesn't actually do enough of anything to be worthwhile. 

In any case, much less noticeable difference than using different rosin or string type.

But experiments go like that sometimes.  LOL

 

@kevin M:  No, the one pic just came out looking a bit odd because I was using low natural light to get the bit of shiny silver to look like metal instead of just looking white because of flash or overhead lighting.  A piece of metal that small is hard to show as an actually reflective surface in a quick pic.

 

@Mad_Wed:  Thanks!

"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

Avatar
Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
King
Members

Regulars
July 13, 2013 - 11:01 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2637
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

If you are going to add weight to the tip of the bow, you should counter with weight near the frog to maintain your balance point. 18cm - 19cm typically is the approx. location, if I remember correctly. All five of my bow's balance around 18.5cm to 18.75cm from the inside of the frog. Balance point is usually determined after the bow stick is made, then the weight is added near the frog to achieve that point.

The balance point of my pernambuco bow has changed, originally it had no winding / pad and it played nicely, except my thumb would slip and travel up the bow stick. I wrapped electrical tape around it to keep my thumb from slipping, then slid a piece of heat shrink wrap about 3" long over the tape and the stick. I'm not sure how many grams of weight I added, but I can sure feel the difference now. The tip is too light and feel's like it wants to float off the strings.

No windings on the bow stick usually meant that the bow was made when real gut strings were used. The winding's came later after steel string's to damp the tinny sound. That's what I read. It seem's to me that another member here (RayWells) also has a bow like that, with no windings.

A bow stick that is real thick near the tip will normally have heavier winding's near the frog to compensate for the tip weight which add's to the total weight of the bow.

My pernambuco bow is very thin near the tip, therefore there was no weight or winding's added near the frog in order to maintain proper balance point, or CG. Total weight of the bow was only 54.8 grams, very light, but obviously by adding the tape and shrink wrap, that has changed.

The balance of a bow is very important to the sound and feel.

 

Ken.

 

 

 

 

Avatar
coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
Members

Regulars
July 14, 2013 - 12:39 am
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 3755
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@DanielB That is cool looking.... and interesting.

 

Nice that you shared this.

 

Ken... good point about a balanced bow.  What if the bow was not balanced to begin with... maybe then the extra would help?  Like a cheaper bow?

Just curious..not a lot of experience with the anatomy of a bow.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Avatar
Ginnysg
Southern California
Members

Regulars
July 14, 2013 - 12:43 am
Member Since: May 13, 2013
Forum Posts: 255
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well I don't know if it will make a difference, but it sure looks nice!

thanks for sharing.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

Avatar
Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
King
Members

Regulars
July 14, 2013 - 5:18 am
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2637
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

coolpinkone said 
 

Ken... good point about a balanced bow.  What if the bow was not balanced to begin with... maybe then the extra would help?  Like a cheaper bow?

Just curious..not a lot of experience with the anatomy of a bow.

This is an exagerated example, turn your bow around and hold it by the other end and play, how cumbersome does it feel, how much bow bounce do you get, granted, it's an extreem example, but it give's one an idea of correct balance. I have a bow that came with my $ 90.00 Chinese violin that I purchased several years ago, probably cost $ 5.00, but the balance point on that stick is correct and I have no trouble playing it. Bow's are balanced when they are made, but it is possible that a lot of care isn't taken in the production of some cheap bow's and that, Dan's bow is an exception.

This thread just brought to mind the fact that our member's are doing really well, the topic of bow bounce hasn't surfaced it's ugly head in qute some time.

Congratulation's to whom ever had a problem with it.thumbs-up  clap

 

Ken.

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
July 14, 2013 - 8:31 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Having had it on for several days, I took the little silver piece off to see if I could tell any difference.  No big thing, since I'd glued it on with Loctite flexible cement.  (Yes, yes, it's not hide glue, but other then cyanoacrylate glues, it is the only stuff I've ever had much luck with when trying to glue small pieces of metal and plastic together.)

With it off, I could definitely feel a difference now, and can maybe see what was meant about the tip being a bit "skitterish".  I felt it played maybe a bit more comfortably with it on, so I have put it back on.  It is possible, however, that I have just gotten used to the new balance, and I don't automatically assume it is actually better. 

We are talking about a very tiny bit of silver here, about 1/10th of the weight of a modern US dime.  It moved the balance point of this bow a little over 1 cm closer to the tip.  The balance point is still over 2 cm further from the tip than on the brazilwood student bow that came free with my violin.  The carbon bow still feels lighter to the hand than the wood bow, even though weight is actually the same.

 

@Fiddlestix: In this case, the objective was to add a little weight to the tip to intentionally shift the balance point closer to the tip. 

I would agree that with bows that are hand-made by qualified craftspersons, they would be balanced as part of the procedure.  Inexpensive factory-made carbon fibre or composite bows, however, I doubt it.  More likely they are shot into the molds and banged out in pretty large batches.  You have seen yourself that they can vary a good bit in weight, so it is logical that the balance may also vary. 

So I don't assume it had proper balance in the first place.  A more experienced player who tried it said it was too a little light at the tip, in her opinion.  That's what got me started on this experiment.

 

@coolpinkone and Ginnyg: Glad you like it.  It took me a couple of days to get used to seeing it there.  But then when I took it off the tip looked kinda bare without it.  LOL

"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

Avatar
pky
Members

Regulars
July 14, 2013 - 11:56 am
Member Since: July 5, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

DanielB, That's a great idea, rather than tossing that bow. My cheap bows and my daughter's that came with my cecilio were heavy at the frog, especially one of them that the stick was very skinny at the band near the tip. I put bandaid (facepalm -- nothing beautiful or precise like Danielb's) on the worse one, but I felt little difference, I also thought about removing the winding so the frog would be lighter but never did it because since I got the fiddlerman's cf bow I hardly used the rest of them.

 

Avatar
Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
Members

Regulars
July 14, 2013 - 12:04 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1957
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Daniel You gave me an idea. I have a bow and the bone tip is missing. The bone I have is not long enough and I don't want to use plastic on this bow. The bow itself is very light. I am going to look into using silver instead of bone.

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
July 14, 2013 - 2:24 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

@pky:  A bandaid was probably just too light.  But if you maybe added a few windings of something like copper wire or if you or anyone you know does electronics hobby, maybe solder?   Up at the skinny part of the stick right before the tip?  That could work, and look better than modelling clay. LOL

Or one could glue a couple small matching glass rhinestones with flat mirrored backs to the sides of the tip.  Maybe a set of post earrings with the posts clipped off?  Probably anyone with pierced ears has a set of earrings where you don't just want to throw them out because of sentimental value, but the metal of the posts isn't so good for ears.

There can be a lot of ways it could be done without needing a piece of silver and tools to cut and shape it.  Lots of ways it could look like a pleasant decoration or custom touch instead of a "fix".

Fiddlestix told us where the bow is supposed to balance, ideally, I guess.  So at least with cheap bows, one could check.  If they don't balance somewhere near that spot, then try a little dab of something like modelling clay or any little item that has enough weight to get the bow to balance could be tried by just taping it on before getting out the glue. 

If being a little too light at the tip end is a common problem with cheaper bows, this could an easy way to maybe make them play a little better until one can afford a better bow.

Wouldn't it be crazy if some of the problem sometimes with bouncing or having trouble bowing straight was that cheaper bows aren't balanced in the right spot and it could just be fixed DIY?  LOL

 

@kevin M:  Sounds like a plan.  I thought a silver tip looked pretty darn cool on the few antique bows I saw it on in pics. 

A couple other possibilities.. Deer antler, especially near the tips, is pretty hard/tough and might even be almost the right shape to take a slice of and make a bow tip from.  I've made guitar nuts and bridges from it sometimes.  Not quite as hard as bone or ivory, but it is nicer then plastic.  I've toyed with the idea of using deer antler for the nut and/or saddle of my violin-in-the-white, since it would look a bit like old ivory without having to be something illegal.  It can even be "deer friendly", since people who hike in the woods often come across antlers that were naturally shed, rather than from hunted deer.  I have friends who hunt, that I ask to save me antlers that are broken or otherwise not pretty enough for them to want to keep from deer they hunted for food.

For something as small as the tip of a bow, there's maybe another possibility.  Ivory is dentin/dentine.  It makes up the tusks of a number of endangered animals, BUT.. it also is found in teeth.  The dentin/dentine is the layer of bone-like material right under the enamel, but before you get to the softer pulp layer.  Now, if you could get maybe a molar from a large enough mammal, like maybe a cow or ox, Maybe a slice taken from it would have enough dentin/ivory to tip a bow with.  Might not be a good idea for items for sale or taking across international borders, since I don't know if there is an easy way to tell something like cow tooth ivory from elephant tusk ivory.  But for just personal use, it might be an option, I don't know.

I don't even actually know for a fact if there's enough dentin in a cow or ox molar to get a flat slice big enough to make a bow tip.  Just brainstorming on that, since I know that once upon a time violin bow tips were usually made from ivory.

"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

Avatar
Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
King
Members

Regulars
July 14, 2013 - 7:17 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
Forum Posts: 2637
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

If you happen to have a, African Elephant, running around your house, then Ivory isn't a problem, they come equiped with a couple nice size pieces.

    amuse

Avatar
pky
Members

Regulars
July 15, 2013 - 3:11 am
Member Since: July 5, 2011
Forum Posts: 966
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

DanielB said
@pky:  A bandaid was probably just too light.  But if you maybe added a few windings of something like copper wire or if you or anyone you know does electronics hobby, maybe solder?   Up at the skinny part of the stick right before the tip?  That could work, and look better than modelling clay. LOL

Thanks, I will give it a try someday. I am an experimenter, too:P

Or one could glue a couple small matching glass rhinestones with flat mirrored backs to the sides of the tip.  Maybe a set of post earrings with the posts clipped off?  Probably anyone with pierced ears has a set of earrings where you don't just want to throw them out because of sentimental value, but the metal of the posts isn't so good for ears.

I don't have pierced ears, don't wear any earrings, don't own any earrings:) My daughter wants to have her ear pierced, so maybe I will wait to use hers and hear some screaming LOL

 

Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online:
44 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today Ginnysg
Upcoming HeadCheese, lakelivr, harvestman, fiddlinmama

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3755

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3552

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6439

Posts: 80299

Newest Members:

dbsimon, stirlingite771, mdedmon, coreshanethi, wisco kid, Yael

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11694, KindaScratchy: 1650