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Bow Troubles
Rosin refuses to stick to my bow. Please help!!
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hottub684
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July 15, 2015 - 11:39 pm
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So recently I purchased a brand new carbon-fiber bow.  At first I loved its sound and how it played.  Since about 2 days ago all rosin refuses to stick to the bow.  I've tried 3 different brands of rosin and re-scratching each of them.  I never touch the hair or spill anything on it.  I live in a dry climate if that affects rosin.  I've tried to apply it both fast and slow with no avail.  On the surface of the rosin it forms small white beads.  I'm very frustrated as the instrument is almost unplayable now without loud squawking and squeaking. 

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OldOgre
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July 16, 2015 - 2:37 am
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Have you tried cleaning the hair with alcohol, then after about 20 mins reapplying rosin?

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

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hottub684
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July 16, 2015 - 10:54 am
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No.  I haven't tried that yet what type of alcohol do I use and how do I use it on the bow?

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OldOgre
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July 16, 2015 - 12:02 pm
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Isopropel , you can get it at drug store. Remember to not get it on the bow itself.

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

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Fiddlerman
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July 16, 2015 - 3:32 pm
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Very peculiar. Real hair or synthetic?

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

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hottub684
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July 16, 2015 - 6:51 pm
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Real hair.  It's a fairly decent bow too.

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Schaick
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July 17, 2015 - 7:42 am
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I was told early on to never tough the hairs of the bow even with clean hands. Something about the possibility of leaving an oily film on the hair from your hands.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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hottub684
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July 21, 2015 - 1:17 am
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I'll try the isopropal here and hopefully that will fix it. I have no clue how it would be dirty being as it is new and I never touch it.

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hottub684
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July 21, 2015 - 1:20 am
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Thank you all for the help by the way! This is a great community!

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hottub684
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July 23, 2015 - 11:31 pm
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how often do you apply rosin? Some people tell me daily and some weekly

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BillyG
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July 24, 2015 - 5:08 am
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Some folks may play 10, 15 minutes every second day.  Some can put in anything between 2 and 8 hours per day - so - the "smart answer" is as and when needed.  

But how do you determine that ?

Well, I can only speak for myself - ( and I play up to 2 hrs per day in 20 or 30 minute slots ).  With the bow I have ( a FiddlerMan CF bow ) and the rosin ( Kaplan Dark ) and the strings I use, and the "type" of practice I'm doing (slow gentle pieces, or hard, fast, and furious - which can shed rosin more easily off the hair ) I find the following two indicators - 

(1) I'll maybe notice a tendency for the E string - especially if it is a plain steel string I have fitted at the time to "squeak" or "squeal"

(2) Much more noticeable however for me is a very definite tendency for the hair not to grab on the G string, and start to "glide" over it rather than grab it.  

Now, I have, over time, just "fallen into" identifying the "onset" of these conditions, and generally become aware of it starting to happen before it really sets-in - and I'll re-rosin.  So, largely because of my different playing styles ( pp or hammering the strings to within an inch of their life ) - I cannot possibly give any sort of accurate "time between rosining" - if I HAD to, I *guess* it feels like after around 5 to 10 playing hours (again, with the bow, the rosin, the string types and bowing pressure all being part of the equation).  And when I do re-rosin, my own application technique (for the bow and rosin I use) is typically 5 full, both way strokes across the rosin cake, with an "intermediate pressure" ( not too light, and not so hard it pushes the hair to the stick )

There MAY just be another point worth making - I understand it is possible to "over-rosin" the bow to the point where no more can adhere - is it possible that's what's been happening - because you say "On the surface of the rosin it forms small white beads." .... just wondering....   Also, if that were the case, your strings (unless you clean them as well - a rag, or the old wine-cork with a slit in it trick ) my well be caked with rosin at the sounding point, making it even more difficult for the hair to grab....

Just some idle thoughts from my own perspective....  it can be all very much about personal choice of materials ( bow, hair, strings, rosin, bowing sped, pressure, angle and so on ) and FAR too subjective to give any one definitive answer - good luck !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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cdennyb
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July 24, 2015 - 3:07 pm
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Billy makes a lot of very good points.

My personal experience over the years of playing I have found it depends on the rosin you have. Some dry out faster than others and some stay really sticky, sometimes due to the rosin sometimes due to the environmental conditions around you and it.

I always apply a few strokes of rosin before I play even if I played a few hours ago.

Just a good habit and if it's too much it will naturally fall off and not be an issue.

 

How about a nice in focus pic of your bow hair?

hats_off

"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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BillyG
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July 24, 2015 - 4:50 pm
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Interesting, @cdennyb - it (rosining when you need to) is a "finely judged thing" - and you just "get to feel/understand" it, in combination with your normal playing schedule, I get that, and indeed, at the end of the day - we're all different - and "feel" it differently, absolutely - there is no written rule about this !

I would also guess, that if you or I played/practiced the 8 or 10 hours-plus Garrett (allegedly) does or did per day - he would just stop - at a guess - every couple of hours, and do a quick re-rosin - but who knows the secrets of the gods-themselves - I ask you - who knows ????  LOL

But the whole "violin thing" for me, is a truly interesting symbiotic relationship between man and instrument ( well, between the player and the natural physics of all the items involved in playing - from micro-control of shoulder, arm and wrist muscles, to finger-control of the bow, its speed, angle and pressure, the bow hair, rosin type, bow angle and so on...

That's not to mention the strings, their specific tuning ( like a semitone lower - 415 instead of 440 on the open A ( well, no longer an "A" but you know what I mean ) which seems not to be wholly uncommon - and other aspects affecting tone production whilst playing - LISTEN TO ME - like I KNOW something...  no, not really - but I do have an "insight" into what's happening whilst playing, and "why things sound like they do" ( or not, as the case may be )

There are a huge number of effects that affect the sound production - some folks - like "engineers, rooted in the physical sciences" can kind-of-understand - if not in actual detail - what's going on, some folks who know NOTHING about the "physics" of the thing just "get it" automatically without even having to THINK about it (jeez, lucky folks) , and some folks just have to "work with it until it becomes automatic" - each and every approach is fine - it all takes time - whichever way you come to the violin....  basically, never give up is what I say.....   

Live your dream !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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cdennyb
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July 26, 2015 - 2:31 pm
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You know Billy, I asked myself the same question about the top dog players like Hillary, Garrett and so on, and when I went to Davids concert this last year, I noticed after he had played about 4 tunes at the start of the program, the backup group was having a chat among themselves for a few seconds bewteen playing and he grabbed a rosin block (I assume it was rosin) and stroked the bow hair a couple of times. So I would guess he "felt" it didn't feel right and added some more. I didn't see him add anymore during the concert but there was a 10-15 min intermission between sets during that 3 hours and I wouldn't be surprised if he didnt 'hit the rosin' a few times right before coming back on stage.

"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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Barry
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July 30, 2015 - 7:55 am
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so did you ever figure out why it wasnt sticking ??

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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hottub684
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August 6, 2015 - 4:17 pm
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Hey! Sorry for not replying I was away for a bit on vacation! Thank you for the advice! I tried just playing my instrument without rosining for about 2 weeks. After about a week of no rosin it sounded significantly better! However then after the second week it was a squeaky mess so I decided to finally put rosin on. However, this did not fix the issue. So I called the store where I purchased the bow and they recommended two kinds of rosin for my strange climate that may adhere better to the bow. So far after trying the Clarity synthetic rosin (due to temperature and humidity not affecting it) it seems to be playing well again!  I will certainly use less rosin as well! Thank you all!

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BillyG
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August 6, 2015 - 4:31 pm
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COOL !   I was kind of wondering about that ( excess rosin ) - but clearly you also have a separate issue there climate-wise and although I have never experienced it, I can believe it. 

Great news !

With YOUR rosin of-your-choice, YOUR local climatic conditions, YOUR playing hours, YOUR playing style (speed, pressure,angle etc),  I have no doubt you will now "start to be aware" of just when the bow-hair is whispering to you "rosin-me, rosin-me....   NOW"  - you have to listen VERY closely !!!!   LOL

So glad you've got a "handle-on-it" thumbs-up

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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hottub684
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August 6, 2015 - 6:38 pm
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I definately know what you mean when the bow speaks! I just need to learn its language haha!

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