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What should be the next bow upgrade?
I currently use the Holstein Ipe Wood Bow, and I am looking to upgrade.
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Elwin
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April 7, 2021 - 5:15 am
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When I got my viola, I used the Carbon-Fibre bow that came with it. Eventually, I upgraded to the Holstein Ipe Wood Bow. Speaking of which, why was it discontinued?

Anyway, I'm thinking it's time to upgrade my bow. I had a friend who was a viola major try it out, and he told me, "It's playable, but doesn't have as much power as a real pernambuco bow". 

Recently, I just don't think the Ipe Wood Bow's doing what I need it to do anymore.

I'm looking at several Bows, listed from least expensive to most expensive

(1) Holstein Green Sandalwood

(2) Glasser X Series Viola Bow

(3) Holstein Yellow Sandalwood

(4) Fiddlerman Hybrid

(5) Holstein Pernambuco

I was hoping for recommendations and opinions on each of these bows. Should I just go ahead and get a pernambuco bow? By the way, I was wondering if the Holstein Pernambuco, not the 1-star bow was the category that "dead Pernambuco sticks" fall into (see the "Importance of a Great Violin Bow Video"). Fiddlershop did not clarify the difference between the Holstein Pernambuco and the Holstein 1-Star Pernambuco.

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Gordon Shumway
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Or you could contemplate the long term. Sometimes it's better to jump in at the deep end instead of wading there from the shallow end. Don't forget that often you have to double your outlay to notice an improvement. A series of bows will then cost quite a lot.

How much do you envisage spending on your most expensive viola? Divide that by 4 and think about spending that on a (carbon) bow now, in preparation.

I did that as a way of deciding how much my violin would cost - I bought a Coda GX in order to define the limit of my expenditure. (of course, as lockdown progresses and I wean myself off Amazon too, I find that maybe I can stretch to a Jon Paul Carrera now, lol!)

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Elwin -

You mentioned music teachers at the College you attend.  If you can physically attend College with the covid restrictions, have you thought of asking to try the actual bows used by your other fellow Violist's?   

What are you hoping to get from a different bow - heavier/lighter, stiffer, or a different balance from yours? 

Is it possible your bow might just need a re-hair? 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d8/5f/e1/d85fe146b2c4ae87264f7dd3813582ee.jpg 

 

...did you mention you feel your Viola is a little too big for you? 

Btw, I have only tried the Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Viola bow. 

- Emily

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Mouse
April 7, 2021 - 11:35 am
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Since all your options are Fiddlershop, why not give Fiddlershop a call. Explain the issues of your current bow, ask questions about the options, let them know what you need different in a different bow, what you are looking for. From what I know you can return, but, ask them yourself because I do not speak for them.

They are more than willing to work with you.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Elwin
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April 7, 2021 - 5:25 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
Or you could contemplate the long term. Sometimes it's better to jump in at the deep end instead of wading there from the shallow end. Don't forget that often you have to double your outlay to notice an improvement. A series of bows will then cost quite a lot.

How much do you envisage spending on your most expensive viola? Divide that by 4 and think about spending that on a (carbon) bow now, in preparation.

I did that as a way of deciding how much my violin would cost - I bought a Coda GX in order to define the limit of my expenditure. (of course, as lockdown progresses and I wean myself off Amazon too, I find that maybe I can stretch to a Jon Paul Carrera now, lol!)

  

Well, the most expensive viola I intend to get would be one of the Glasser Carbon Fibre Acoustic-Electric Instruments. I have not decided between 5 string or 4 string yet. The reason is because where I am most likely going to end up with the viola is not in a symphony, but in a tropical kind of climate where there is a tone of humidity. Bringing a nice wood viola in that kind of setting doesn't make sense. I guess in that case, it would make more sense to buy a Carbon Fibre Bow

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Irv
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April 7, 2021 - 5:45 pm
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@Elwin .  I tried your option (3) for a violin and it did not impress me.  I think that you would like the hybrid over the straight carbon fiber option (at least I do).  The trivial amount of wood involved should not be an issue in a high humidity environment.  

Regarding the ratio of bow cost to instrument cost.  My fiddles are so cheap I would need a bow comprised of match sticks if using the conventional wisdom.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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Mouse
April 7, 2021 - 6:11 pm
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I have the hybrid bow. I love it!

The Bumblebee Flies!

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ELCBK
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April 7, 2021 - 7:36 pm
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@Elwin -

giphy.gif

Okay, I'm pretty excited you're thinking of a 5-string! 

I've given serious thought to buying the Glasser 5-string AEX A/E Viola - now that I'm addicted to the Violin version! 

Bows are very personal, though. 

I enjoy the newly improved Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow because (for me) it's much lighter than the Viola version (I've tried), more flexible than the Weave version (I own) and it's well balanced.  When I tighten the hair a bit,

I can get all the power I need. 

I have not had the opportunity to try some of the more expensive Carbon Fiber Bows, yet.  I believe the ones I've been eyeing are in the price range that

Fiddlershop may let me compare several of them before purchase. 

I feel I'm just getting to really know my Mortimer,

so maybe just a little longer before I'm ready for anything new.  

Sorry I can't be of more help. 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/18/21/9d/18219d74b9516c673a11effee5a9c8e1.png

- Emily

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AndrewH
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April 7, 2021 - 8:38 pm
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I have not tried any of the listed bows, but I do use a hybrid bow on my viola and I'm a big fan of hybrid bows in general as a cost-effective option. The C.F. Iesta hybrid bow I use (now sold under license in the US as the JonPaul Fusion Silver), which cost around $500, won out over both wood and carbon fiber bows listed at up to $2500 when I last went bow shopping.

I am looking to upgrade my violin bow, because right now I have only cheap brazilwood bows for my violin, but I'm waiting until a whiplash injury heals completely so that I can properly try out bows. Based on what I've heard from other members, candidates will include Fiddlerman Hybrid along with some more expensive bows.

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Irv
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@Elwin .  I gave you problem some thought last night.  Perhaps we have need for more input.

Few people play a full sized viola any more (an acoustically proper viola is so large that it needs an end pin and is played like a mini cello, but that is another matter).  Do you play a 16-1/2” body or something smaller such as 15-1/2”?  I would think the smaller corpus violas would be amenable to a robust violin bow (such as the Fiddlerman carbon fiber).

The Glasser carbon fiber violins are notoriously heavy.  I suspect that their viola have corresponding mass.  Getting something like that to vibrate might take more bow (and hair) effort.  You might want to try a bow with black horse hair.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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Gordon Shumway
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April 8, 2021 - 8:36 am
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If humidity is very high, a hybrid bow may be no better than a wooden bow.

Andrew

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Mouse
April 8, 2021 - 8:48 am
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I think it would be more difficult to use a violin bow on a viola. The viola bow is heavier than a violin bow. You need that extra weight to help the bigger viola strings release their beautiful sound when grabbed by the bow hairs. I have tried a violin bow on my 15” viola rescue viola, 15 1/2” Fiddlerman Concert Deluxe and 15 3/4” Sullivan Viola. the violin bow, whether the carbon, hybrid or pernambuco, does not work well on a viola. In comparing my viola and violin bows, the wood (or carbon) stick part is thicker on the viola bow. There is a reason for that. I would not recommend wasting money on a violin bow for a viola. 

Just an opinion from a student of viola, not a professional.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Irv
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Gordon (I cannot flag you to this post using methods I can devine), pray illuminate why a hybrid bow exhibits the same inhibitions as a wood bow in humid conditions.  The wood wrap on my example is paper thin and can have no structural contribution.  In the same regard, I doubt it would distort shape by expansion thereof.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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Gordon Shumway
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Irv said
Gordon (I cannot flag you to this post using methods I can devine), pray illuminate why a hybrid bow exhibits the same inhibitions as a wood bow in humid conditions.  The wood wrap on my example is paper thin and can have no structural contribution.  In the same regard, I doubt it would distort shape by expansion thereof. 

I feared that, if the wood expanded and contracted often enough, it might become detached from the carbon beneath, or from other wooden components, since the laminate is not one-piece.

Andrew

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Irv
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I did an internet search on the topic of humidity and hybrid bows.  The only reference I could find was involving a hybrid with a wood head (an unholy combination for a variety of reasons).  It suggested that head expansion would affect the hair.  Humidity will cause hair to lengthen greatly more than anything experienced by the few mm of head length.

A seasonal wipe of paste wax should protect the wood veneer from moisture intrusion. The maker likely uses a finish of polyester anyway.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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ELCBK
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So, what bow material did people who live in extremely humid environments (like Singapore) use, before carbon fiber became available?

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Mouse
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Personally, I think people know more about humidity and affects on wood now, causing them to overthink the issue. People used wood bows all over the world, in many climates for centuries. I think we overthink the issue of wood bows and create an issue that is really a non-issue in the grand scheme of things, as far as humidity goes. Maybe they replaced or repaired the bows more often, maybe not. Maybe we just overthink the issue, and make it a larger issue than it is. Just my opinion.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Elwin
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Irv said
@Elwin .  I gave you problem some thought last night.  Perhaps we have need for more input.

Few people play a full sized viola any more (an acoustically proper viola is so large that it needs an end pin and is played like a mini cello, but that is another matter).  Do you play a 16-1/2” body or something smaller such as 15-1/2”?  I would think the smaller corpus violas would be amenable to a robust violin bow (such as the Fiddlerman carbon fiber).

The Glasser carbon fiber violins are notoriously heavy.  I suspect that their viola have corresponding mass.  Getting something like that to vibrate might take more bow (and hair) effort.  You might want to try a bow with black horse hair.

  

My current viola is a 16.5" Artist Viola. I'm used to the size and all that. 

I'm thinking I should stick with a Carbon Fibre Bow if I get a Glasser Acoustic-Electric Viola. In my opinion, using a wood bow with that instrument just looks out of place. Has anyone tried the Fiddlerman Pro?

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AndrewH
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Irv said
@Elwin .  I gave you problem some thought last night.  Perhaps we have need for more input.

Few people play a full sized viola any more (an acoustically proper viola is so large that it needs an end pin and is played like a mini cello, but that is another matter).  Do you play a 16-1/2” body or something smaller such as 15-1/2”?  I would think the smaller corpus violas would be amenable to a robust violin bow (such as the Fiddlerman carbon fiber).

The Glasser carbon fiber violins are notoriously heavy.  I suspect that their viola have corresponding mass.  Getting something like that to vibrate might take more bow (and hair) effort.  You might want to try a bow with black horse hair.

  

Just have to respond to this. As you may recall, I play a 15-3/4" viola. Even though one experienced luthier said it was one of the most responsive violas she had ever worked on, there is still absolutely no way I would want to play it with a violin bow. Even with an actual viola bow, I have to change strings and get my bow rehaired on schedule or it will not respond quickly enough in fast lower-string passages.

I concur with @Mouse : a violin bow is simply not an option.

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ELCBK
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@Elwin -

The Fiddlerman CF Pro bow is on my radar for a try - especially because of it's lighter weight, but I haven't tried it yet. 

I didn't see where you mention what properties you are looking for in a bow. 

This info may be of interest to you. 

https://fiddlershop.com/pages/.....e-trials 

 

https://patriotden.com/fotki/smileys/Fiddle_Player_Smiley_Face.GIF

- Emily

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