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Kind of a dumb question about my bow.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Killerkhezu
Princeton, MN
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November 19, 2012 - 12:28 am
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How tight should the bow be? Is it a personal preference thing or is there a guideline for how tight it should be? I didn't seen any video on here about how taught the bow should be.

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Tyberius
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November 19, 2012 - 1:07 am
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I have found two rules to follow on this. Both are about the same effective answer.

 

The space between the bow and the hairs should be set so you can set your pinky finger between the hairs and the bow OR the space between the hair and bow should be about the same as the bows thickness.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Killerkhezu
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November 19, 2012 - 1:10 am
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Hey thanks man :) hats_off

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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November 19, 2012 - 7:37 am
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x_Tyberius_x said
I have found two rules to follow on this. Both are about the same effective answer.

 

The space between the bow and the hairs should be set so you can set your pinky finger between the hairs and the bow OR the space between the hair and bow should be about the same as the bows thickness.

Not quite sure where you found this information, but the rule of thumb is to use a #2 lead pencil as a gauge, not your pinky finger. #2 pencil's are pretty much the same diameter whereas people's pinky finger's vary in size. Some are thick some are thin. As are bow stick's, they aren't all the same diameter. Use the #2 pencil thing until you are accustomed to it, then you can just gauge it with your eye.

Another thing to concider using your pinky is the stiffness of the bow stick. I have four bow's of different rigidity in the stick's. If I used my pinky to tighten the hair's on the real stiff one's, they'd be so tight that I could actually use them as a "bow" and shoot arrow's with them. I would be tightening the hair until the bow stick was completely straight.

Another thing, if you have the bow too tight, there's a tendency to get more "bow bounce", this, you don't need.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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November 19, 2012 - 9:13 am
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We teach our elementary school kids that they should barely be able to get the tip of thier pinky inbetween the hair and stick. The kids all have their own interpretation of this, ha ha. I tighten my bow till the hairs are straight and when applying pressure to the bow the stick just clears the strings. As I play the hairs absorb the humidity in the air and need to be tightened again. Ive never tried to guage the distance, its more about playing feel. For old time and bluegrass a little looser feels better, for the classical stuff I feel it needs to be tighter to get a good staccato. As you play in your style, experiment with tighter or looser and try to get a feel for whay works best for you. I know for sure that there is no "one" way for anything on this dang thing.

You gotta find your swing- Bagger Vance

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Fiddlestix
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November 19, 2012 - 9:44 am
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Well, there ya go, Killer, you heard it from the best.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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November 19, 2012 - 9:59 am
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youre so funny stix~ the Fish has spoken. lol.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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DanielB
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November 19, 2012 - 10:26 am
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Maybe there is some way to get it exactly right every time, I don't know.  I usually just adjust it till it looks about like I usually set it and then start playing some warm up.  If it is too loose and I'm seeing the stick touching the bow hairs, then I tighten it.  If it feels too bouncy/taut, then I loosen it.  I may pause while warming up to touch it up a bit more, but by the time I'm ready to do some serious practice/playing, it's going to be pretty much good to go.  

"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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Tyberius
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November 19, 2012 - 12:07 pm
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Fiddlestix said

 

Not quite sure where you found this information, but the rule of thumb is to use a #2 lead pencil as a gauge, not your pinky finger.

 

I found this information all over the web. Do a search. I happend upon about " aprrox 129,000 results (0.23 seconds)" for it on google.

 

a #2 lead pencil has nothing to do with the diameter or circumference of a pencil. Its the hardness of the filler, carbon, graphite

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 19, 2012 - 10:40 pm
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All good answers above.

I'd like to add that if you are not playing a lot of fast spiccato you don't need to have the bow so tight.

I too like the rule of tightening the bow so that the smallest distance from the hair to the stick is about the width of a standard pencil.

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

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NoneOfTheAbove
Stockholm, Sweden
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November 21, 2012 - 2:46 am
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Not a dumb question, I actually thought about the same thing the other day and forgot about posting that question. :)

It doesn't mean anything unless it's real

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