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Bows & Rosin
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Hermes
Athens, Greece
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July 9, 2016 - 8:56 pm
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@Demoiselle . Oh..Obligatos are great. Unfortunately, in one particular instrument of mine they had some response issues (not every string suits every instrument or player right?) and I had to leave them...And I was sad because I consider them being a great string, with a great sound and unparalleled feel in the left hand for a synthetic (ok they are expensive, but...) ...The funny thing is that at first they were ok but after some playing they got like wak wak wak. Now I know that there are two Obligato Ds (and two As) but I found it hard to find both sets and compare (like I did with the Dominants for example, and did I mention they are expensive? haha). It seems as if my violin is a little picky I guess...

It's great that you don't blame your equipment, but sometimes a small experiment could make our lives easier. If you got the chance to try another string (maybe a backup, or one from a kind fellow violinist) do it just to make sure... 🙂

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Demoiselle
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July 10, 2016 - 2:57 am
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I had the same response issues before May, when I had Dominants on (finally not the hardcore screechy E string anymore for that one gave me a headache). Sadly I hadn't invented my Handel-Groove warming up method yet and a very sad first half hour until they decently responded daily. It kinda gave me the sleepiness, although I'm used to wake myself up by making music with other instruments I've been playing for decades. So your Obligatos decayed? Which maybe is a normal thing, for I've heard, high quality strings would go away sooner than cheaper ones. Fiddlerman is putting on new strings every 6 weeks, which I'm certainly not gonna do.

I'm also sort of ancient 'dancing maistress' (said with an ironical eye twitch) and the maitres de danse taught their students while playing their violin. And their violins were extraordinary small, which was the reason why I fell in love with a 3/4 violin when I started. The seller was like, "But you're supposed to play a full violin...." But I was sure, this cute violin would be my violin and I bought it. Crazy me - LOL! So you see, very much indeed I have a "small experiment" as you said. For what I didn't know that day is the fact that all the strings I buy are almost half the price, which goes for Obligatos as well. (;

I have decided to work with a set of strings for 6 months, which is when I change the bow hair anyway, which I do myself. I just looked up the day when I bought my Obligatos and it was April 19. Two days later I bought Oblibato rosin, because Jade didn't work well with Obligato, but after changing the rosin I really liked it.

This year will probably be a little different, for in early December I will have my first concert, which is going to be a full evening. Which will be sort of a highly insane action, but the sound is supposed to be great. Maybe I will try some experiments with different strings and rosin, because it's gonna be longer than 6 months anyhow.

I really did some small experiments since I started on the violin in May last year. First they sold me Pirastro Gold which was horrible with Dominants, because that stuff built up little bulges on the strings which were hard to remove. So then I bought Jade and used a lot of it--much rosin worked okay with Dominants and Jade. Obligatos obviously do not forgive using too much rosin, which I don't do anymore and which improved my sound. Right yesterday I've seen the results of my little act in our late May open stage and I'm very happy with my progress and the expression I involved. Those were Obligatos already, which make my violin much louder and fuller ring out.

It seems, they don't warn beginners enough, how tricky it is with fresh bow hair on. At first you really have to rosin again and again, I'm fully happy maybe after a week. I do remember, I was very disappointed last December and said to myself, "What, these are new Mongolian bow hairs and they respond worse than the old junk?" This time I changed bow hair in early June, so I didn't dare it before the open stage. There should be a list on the net, with points beginners are supposed to know and the fresh hair struggle should be pretty much on top as I feel. That it's normal if they don't respond well on the first day, so no headaches involved.

It really looks like, violin is the instrument which gives people the most headaches of all instruments, except for voice issues.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Hermes
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July 11, 2016 - 8:53 pm
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@Demoiselle

 I did not have to change the Obligatos because they decayed, I just took them off because they did not suit this particular violin. Their response issues would appear a few minutes after warming up, every day.

Usually when I have no planned performances I can withstand a string set for a few months...maybe four to six. It's not perfect in terms of sound, but I clean them regularly and try to keep them in a good shape. However when an unexpected performance has to happen I have to run to the store, and usually turn to a Thomastik model due to my short budget (PI, Visio Titanium Solo or Dominants with Eudoxa E)...don't get me wrong TI make some great strings, but you know if strings were free (heaven!!!) I would pick evah pirazzi for this very violin...or gut...

 

So, you are still playing a 3/4 as your main instrument? Or I got it all wrong?

And yes...it's usually a headache. Wood, hair, rosin. It's all "alive" and have multiple personalities lol. My luthier would say that we can get to the ultimate set up and to the perfect sound of an instrument today, here. And tomorrow it could all be lost...

My funniest story, is watching my bow when I travel in different cities...I store it loose, and ta daa it emerges tight...Humidity...Temperature...and headache as you said...

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Demoiselle
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July 12, 2016 - 4:43 am
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@Hermes

Yes, I play 3/4 and I love it. It is meant for right-handed people, but I play it left-handed. So I'm all about developing a personal technique. My right hand usually leans on my pelvic and I just decided to tolerate this habit, for I like the look in a video they shot in May. So, I have a very unconventional approach to the violin in many ways.

I will renew everything—hair, rosin, strings—in November, for in early December will be my first long concert on a whole evening. But I won't wait until November 30, to not experience bad surprises. Everything must work perfectly in December! But now I'm not ready to change anything until late August, for then I will have another 10 minutes act in our open stage program and it's gonna be a test for the crazy ideas I have for my December concert. Presently I work on technical issues and there are a couple things I want to be firm and safe until late August, like ring finger trills—means more options to trill than just with middle and ring finger. Trying out strings or rosin would hold me off, it's just not the right time for it.

I don't have much money to spend either, just profit from the fact, the 3/4 strings are much cheaper. Bow issues were a big headache last summer. I was looking for baroque bows, which are shockingly expensive. That's why I tinkered my own clip-in style bow. Having a bow rehaired by a luthier every 6-months is really a financial challenge, but I do it myself anyhow.

Clarinetists for example have similar headaches with their reeds. If you use a fresh reed, it takes weeks until it sounds best. Any clarinetist will tell you stories about once having owned the dream reed, but they all will go away one day. And the reeds they get after that will likely be not so nice. Most clarinetists are oil-phobists and they're probably right, for too much oil will drown sound. On the other hand clarinets inside are exposed to humidity and can bust on day—especially if they play outdoors in winter. Looks like art usually involves headaches. My guitar player doesn't except it. I keep sharing my latest experiences with all things how to handle string, bow and rosin issues. But it looks like, she has given up playing the violin and doesn't wanna hear it. She's like, "Guitar is easy. I take it outta the case, tune it and can play." When we first met, we were also thinking about jamming with two violins, but that probably won't happen. I guess she's just not a violin type who is ready to go through the fire with her instrument. She's not pondering much and it seems she feels like I'm thinking to much, which makes things complicated also for her. I think you have to think a lot to be happy with a violin. 😉

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Hermes
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July 12, 2016 - 5:42 am
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Oh I remember my last attempt to repair my bow myself...It was a nightmare.

I mean, I managed to do it, but of course it was not even close to a professional repair. I don't need to stress the quality of the hair I used...Anyway I watched a couple of tutorials, I was forced to "reinvent" some tools. I did it twice, the first time was a disaster. The second was a "rehair completed" but, the bow was not at it's best, plus every day it got worse, with hairgradually sliding out of the frog, leading to a bow that could not be tightened properly...Needless to say, I visited my luthier asap. At least I had some backups. 

The only positive thing of the rehair, is that during this mess I listened to a complete Bach cello suites recording. Twice. Or more. I don't remember...

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BillyG
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July 12, 2016 - 12:19 pm
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Demoiselle said
....... I think you have to think a lot to be happy with a violin. 😉  

  Now - there is truth in that !  hats_off

EDIT: @Hermes - LOL- I feel your pain !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

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

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Hermes
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July 12, 2016 - 11:00 pm
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@BillyG Oh...it was mind blowing...and destructively educational haha

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Demoiselle
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July 16, 2016 - 2:46 am
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@Hermes

I killed my conventional bow, which was a cheap and too heavy STAGG bow, to get out the hair for my self-made clip-in bow. Means, I was even too stupid  to do it without destroying the frog, so rehairing a modern bow would probably end in a horrible calamity. LOL!

My self-made bow is a concept for luthiers who are idiots. LOL, LOL!! It has two eyes on both sides, like a needle. Behind the clip-in frog is a knot in the hair, at the tip it's wound around after coming out of the eye and fixed with thin steel wire. It is difficult enough and I'm cursing all the time while doing it. You comb the hair, but then you somehow have to fix it without having three hands. That is very difficult!

Well, changing hair is like going to the dentist. You just have to do it every six months.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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Hermes
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July 19, 2016 - 9:30 pm
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Demoiselle said

Well, changing hair is like going to the dentist. You just have to do it every six months.  

 

Whoops. This time I am late. In both occasions. lol.

The toothbrush is a brilliant tool capable of day to day maintenance. It seems as if there is no counterpart for our bows whatsoever

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Demoiselle
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July 20, 2016 - 2:40 am
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@Hermes No! You are not rehairing your toothbrushes? 😉

By the way, my first hair came from my cheap STAGG bow (I still have the rod and will make another 1600s style bow out of it someday), but in the meantime I rehaired twice with GEWA Mongolian hair (which is the hair the luthier at JustMusic Berlin uses). After the first rehairing I was disappointed, for the response was not as great as I had hoped. The second rehair I did in June and this time I understood: Fresh bow hair needs time to accept rosin. There are enough voices on the www how state that. After that insight I was able to control the response, without using too much rosin, and I learned to play with as few as possible.

A raw zwetschgen twig, with high quality bow hair on, should be just fine to make a decent bow. I guess the twig would need time to dry out to work as a really good bow. I say zwetschgen since I found a source which lists the preferred kinds of wood for bow makers in the 1600s and 1700s and the zwetschge was among them. What still wonders me is their focusing on certain kinds of woods for frogs—I chose oak and don't regret it, for it's a solid little tool. The huge advantage is, there is not metal involved which I really enjoy while playing the final note of a tune. I don't have to stop the bow where the hair ends, I gently move the bow on, until the string ends up behind the frog, which makes the dying of a final note a very smooth and subtle experience. Like Marais finally instructs in the movie "Tous les Matins du Monde" in French, who wants a note to sound like dying.

It obviously looks like the importance of choosing a certain rosin brand is overrated. While struggling through the first months of playing the violin, I easily suspected the rosin of my own disability. If you find no other solution, you will try several brands, hoping response and sound will get better. Since I use Obligato strings I just trust the string makers to sell the right rosin for their much-praised strings. So, no more pondering on that side.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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