FORUM

Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

Please participate in our “Let it Snow” Xmas 2020 Group youtube project!”

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
Anyone Ever Tweak Their Bow's Balance?
What can it hurt to try?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
September 27, 2020 - 9:24 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

Teddy Bear Handyman EmoticonsHas anyone altered the balance of their bow?

I've worked very hard this past few months to improve several aspects of my playing.  One of them is my bow grip. 

Well, I did what I set out to but, now with my newest FM CF bow, it's led to another issue.

No matter what music I choose to play, my wonderfully relaxed bow hand (I've worked so hard on) migrates 4.5cm up the stick!  I can stop, correct it and I just end up back in the same spot. 

I've seen many people play folk music this way, higher on the stick, but I thought that was always by their choice.  I don't feel I have that choice right now.

Let me say I would normally try to let something like this slide (forgive the pun), but this has been going on since I first got this bow and it's consistent.  I think at this point I should just listen to what my body is telling me, which I believe is my bow is too tip heavy. 

I don't want to damage the integrity of the bow, because I really like this bow!  I just don't see anything wrong with trying to find the best area on the frog end to add a little weight.  

I'll start with something temporary, then I have a few ideas about adding weight permanently, but I need to find the location first.

I'd really appreciate suggestions.

My experience in correcting the balance of anything has been limited to helicopter rotor blades and my home ceiling fans, but we're not talking rocket science here - so I'm really curious why I haven't seen any threads or posts related to this here?

Did I miss anything on this subject somewhere here on the forum?

 

giphy.gif

 

- Emily 

...seems this guy has the same issue (lol).

Avatar
Irv
Members

Regulars
September 27, 2020 - 1:13 pm
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 1535
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi @ELCB .  I have done it.  It helps if you already have a “satisfactory” bow for comparison.  The assumption here is that you do.

Take the satisfactory bow and balance on a knife edge (or similar), find the balance point and mark.  Take unsatisfactory bow and do similar.

You want adjust the balance point of the unsatisfactory bow to equal that of the satisfactory bow.  

I typically need to add weight to the frog end to achieve proper balance.  The trick is that less weight in needed in the frog area to achieve same balance point as more weight in the grip or wrap areas.  

If the balance is way off, I bore a hole in the underside of the frog and add a piece of tig welding tungsten electrode (which sounds expensive but is cheaply obtained).  

If only a little weight is needed, I replace the wrap with gold plated tungsten wire, since the gold plating is easily soldered in place.  

If the bow needs to be lightened in the frog area, remove some metal wrap, replace the metal wrap with silk thread, and lighten frog.  I have also added tungsten electrode to the tip but that requires skills beyond the typical diy individual.

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

Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
September 27, 2020 - 10:13 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

@Irv - THANK YOU! 

So nice to hear from you!

I really think I need to lighten the tip a couple grams otherwise I need to add close to 6 grams to the frog end!  That puts my bow weight at 66 grams & I really didn't want that. 

Don't really see any best spot to drill into the frog to add that much weight.  I only found a poor illustration of a disassembled frog & I really don't want to take mine apart (lol).

Is there a specific depth for the tip mortise I need to stay clear of?  Since this bow is CF, seems I might have 2 options for lightening the tip. 

I better stop here... can't anything be simple (lol)? 

Since I don't want to open a can of worms, I think it's back to the original plan of a trial period with temporary weight on the frog end. 

Guess I'll try to get away with wrapping wire around the stick between the frog and the screw end.  I've only got approx 1/2" to work with & probably don't have any metal wire much more than half the weight of tungsten.  So, I better check into tungsten because I'm sure not going to use my gold wire for this! 

WAIT!  I think I can just hot-glue a Fishing weight to the end of the screw!  ... oh no, then my bow won't fit in my case!  Maybe I can just tape the weight to under that area behind the frog.  I know fishing weights used to be lead, but they're tungsten now (just ck'd)! 

Thanks again, Irv!

https://madscientist.digital/wp-content/themes/madscientist/images/img4.jpg

 

- Emily 

 

...yeah, I talk to myself.

Avatar
Irv
Members

Regulars
September 27, 2020 - 11:22 pm
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 1535
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@ELCB .  In a pinch, you can use lead core trolling line.  The weight of it is the same regardless of pound test, by the way.  The lead would then be protected by woven fabric so that you would not get any on your fingers.  Drop me a personal message here and I would be happy to send you some (and/or some gold plated tungsten wire). The lead core wire would be much easier to wrap and finish the ends.

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

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
September 28, 2020 - 3:12 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 937
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@ELCB Are you trying to avoid a 66g bow because you personally prefer something lighter, or just out of some impression that it's too heavy for a violin bow? I would guess that a heavier bow might be good for 5-string violin, because the C string needs more weight. 66g is still lighter than most viola bows.

Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
September 28, 2020 - 9:34 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

@AndrewH -

Thanx, I was wondering about that! 

This FM CF bow is 60 grams & I'm really happy with it - even on my C string.  I don't feel like I need to man-handle it for sound on the lower strings. 

If possible, I just want the natural-feeling position of my bowing hand to be "on the frog".

Think this would be a different story if I "chose" to place my hand higher up the stick for extra control, ie: while playing faster music, or with quite a lot of lifting and double stops, but this is still happening even when I play slower or simple tunes, also. 

This doesn't occur with my 2 FM CF "Weave" bows (really noticeably different).

This led me to think I might be able to alter the balance slightly so I'd have the best control ON the frog. 

If I can't easily alter this in a simple manner or if adding that much extra weight makes too much of a difference, I'll just accept/learn to be happy playing everything 4.5cm up from the frog with this bow. 

As a side note, it's kind of funny that my other 2 FM CF "Weave" bows feel more unwieldy, maybe stiffer? 

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/96/3c/98/963c98f884b61e978942e5480767994e.jpg

 

- Emily 

 

...I haven't looked in the mirror lately.

Avatar
SharonC
Members
September 28, 2020 - 10:09 am
Member Since: June 24, 2020
Forum Posts: 83
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Emily,

Is your pinky on the bow when you play?  I ask this only because I had a problem I needed to fix with my bow hold.  I focused on the pinky, but the real problem was my 2nd & 3rd finger positioning. 

My hand was relaxed, but most of the time, my pinky was not on the bow.  Not saying it has to be on the bow all the time (and I’ve seen a lot of fiddlers that have it off, mostly), but I was not getting solid control of the bow that I wanted.

I started focusing on keeping my pinky on the bow.  Once I focused on keeping my pinky on the bow, it re-positioned my hand slightly.  Before this, my 2nd and 3rd   fingers would rest above the middle of the frog.  Once I focused on my pinky, my 2nd & 3rd fingers moved lower on the frog to the bottom part of the frog.  I felt a different balance, & I had better control of the bow after a while (it took a little while to get used to the different feeling of it). 

There is a device to help bow grip called Bow Hold Buddies, Fiddlerman has it here:

 https://fiddlershop.com/produc.....gIgT_D_BwE

I did not find the “toad” useful, but I used the little fish part only for a while to help remind me to engage my pinky more.

I guess although I’m talking about engaging my pinky more, it was really a re-positioning of my hand that I needed to do—it was just the act of focusing on my pinky that got me there.  I got the balance/control I was looking for.  So, please don’t come after me about using the pinky—not arguing about people that play mostly without it.

Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
September 28, 2020 - 12:02 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

@SharonC -

Thanx for addressing that!

Yes, my pinky is relaxed and mostly on... but it wasn't always.

I was pretty mortified watching my recording for the GOT GP - stiff pinky, pointing somewhere off in the distance!  I realized my whole grip had changed to where I was mostly leaning on my index finger - obviously focusing too much on everything else while I was playing. 

All this happened using my 1st FM CF "Weave" bow.

So, I had to go back to "square 1" (thumb, 2nd/3rd fingers & pinky) - it's one of the things I have changed this past few months. 

Really appreciate the info & would consider that aid to reinforce proper grip, except I'm pretty sure mine's okay, now.  We'll see - when I added a makeshift weight behind my frog yesterday (1 of my rings worked, secured w/Grandkid's hair tie, lol) - my hand didn't migrate! 

Anyway, that's why I figure I'm on the right track.

https://rlv.zcache.com/mad_scientist_warning_sign-r1dc7092548f042569e5939f4213bad2d_wepny_8byvr_540.jpg

 

- Emily 

 

Never worry about me coming after you about anything! 

Btw, can't thank you enough for your vibrato tips!  Between those and my "Knocking on My Head" motion/imagery, I GOT IT!  More practice, more progress (lol).

Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
September 30, 2020 - 12:13 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
giphy.gif

EUREKA!   It works! 

I wrapped one (3/pkg), 1/4oz tungsten fishing weight with a strip of duct tape (unicorn pink...🤢), then I continued the wrap around both the weight and stick. 

Weight is attached just a sliver past the frog position where I would use my tightest hair. 

Huge difference!  LOVE IT!

Now, I'll just have to see if I still feel the same about this in a few days or a week... hope the extra weight doesn't end up being too much of a distraction. 

Here's a photo (gif) - you can see the shape and relative size of one of the tungsten weights and where I attached it.

 

   https://fiddlerman.com/wp-content/forum-image-uploads/elcb/2020/09/20200929_233947.gif

 

- Emily 

 

...still experimenting with ways to import photos from my phone here. 😁

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments
Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
September 30, 2020 - 12:26 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1248
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

My hand slides up the bow, but I blame me, not the bow (that's not meant to be a dig at you).

Balance is subtler than you might think. When I first picked up a Coda Diamond GX, it felt amazingly different from a Col Legno Standard, but when I marked the balance points with a pencil, there was only an inch in it.

I suspect that when the balance point is nearer the frog, getting tip pressure is what makes our hands travel towards the tip, and we just need to put more work into getting that index finger to do its job properly.

Andrew

Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
September 30, 2020 - 12:45 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

@Gordon Shumway -

Confused Head Scratching EmoticonsI don't see how I was looking at this wrong. 

By my hand migrating to that point, it appeared (to me) I needed the balance point closer to the frog - or more weight in the frog to move that balance point. 

If I am wrong, my hand would migrate even further up the stick... it's not doing that. 

My hand is staying on the frog where it belongs - with no effort on my part.

AND, I'm not forcing any pressure to play on my G & C strings... so the bow tip is not too light, either.

I'm HAPPY!  It WORKED! 

giphy.gif- Emily

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
September 30, 2020 - 12:52 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1248
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

Of course, weight successfully applied to the frog implies weight wasn't needed on the tip. I've been awake since 2.30AM, so maybe I just don't understand anything today.

Andrew

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 12, 2020 - 9:27 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15213
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I've never thought about adjust the weight or balance of the bow. I guess I've been fortunate enough to have great equipment my whole life. 😁

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

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
October 12, 2020 - 11:56 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 937
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Fiddlerman said
I've never thought about adjust the weight or balance of the bow. I guess I've been fortunate enough to have great equipment my whole life. 😁

  

Or is it a result of buying in a different era when there weren't a lot of people selling student violin outfits online sight unseen? Both of my violin bows are inexpensive student bows, as is my backup viola bow, and they all have decent balance for me because I bought them all in person. Except when I bought my first bow and didn't know enough to evaluate it, any bow whose balance I didn't like would never have left the shop, so there would never have been any reason to adjust later.

(Which is why it's a good idea to take home trials when they're offered by online vendors like Fiddlershop!)

Avatar
ELCB
USA
Members

Regulars
October 13, 2020 - 10:24 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 704
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online

giphy.gif

 

Mwah-hahaha!

It's close to Halloween and it's "International Skeptics Day" - how befitting! 

 

My "Mad Scientist" persona doesn't hide the fact I've been on my own, exploring what I really want/need from my violin and a bow.  I'm pretty sure there will come a time I understand what all this encompasses, then I'll be in a better position to make equipment choices.   

So far, so good with my temporary modification.  But, being the "skeptic" that I am, I'll need to go back to playing without it, after a while - just to rule out the possibility I could've modified my grip because of adding the weight!  I think I should also try my CF Weave bows again, after this & make mental notes.

I'm surprised Irv seems to be the only other person with a bowed string instrument that's thought about trying any modification.  

Also surprising, no one stresses trying a "Viola" bow for a 5-string Violin!  Thank you AndrewH for hinting at it. 

I don't know if I've missed a previous discussion here on the forum but I have run across some food for thought elsewhere, online - enough to consider trying Viola and Violin bows, when it's time. 

Thanks, everyone! 

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VzCxcGdO_5w/W9nLnrr-xyI/AAAAAAAACho/Uy5e3fuaJIg7J5L726qIhKRrvgSjC356ACLcBGAs/s640/cats.gif

 

- Emily

 

skepticism - "It is only with this attitude that human society and its understanding of the world around it has been able to evolve and develop."

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 13, 2020 - 2:49 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15213
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

You're probably right Andrew. 😁

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

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online: BillyG, arkmaverick, ELCB
Guest(s) 40
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today Mouse
Upcoming oceanwiser, dcjdavis, Viking Violinist, ptrckmcconn, Octopus.Violinus, xTIDx, FiddleDog, 1 Whiz Kid
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2679
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
damfino: 1971
Kevin M.: 1971
cdennyb: 1815
TerryT: 1728
Ferret: 1575
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27336
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 58
Topics: 8659
Posts: 107556
Newest Members:
Claire_xx, nate, Deb7, harcherjr, abcd
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 15213, KindaScratchy: 1756, coolpinkone: 4176, BillyG: 3516, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, Mouse: 2239