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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 (7 votes) 
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ABitRusty
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December 5, 2020 - 6:21 pm
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"Anyone else consider leaving your student-type bow behind early in your playing? "

yes

 

@ELCBK have you read the description for the codabow joule?  No I havent tried one.  or know anyone that has.  but it seems like the frog design is a little different.  maybe the balance is more on that end.  orrrr completly on the other end.  idk..

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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December 5, 2020 - 9:39 pm
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"Anyone else consider leaving your student-type bow behind early in your playing?"

 

Ironically, I'm still using every bow I've ever owned! That's mainly because I switched from violin to viola so early, and after that I played violin only rarely until this year. I also didn't upgrade beyond student bows until I'd been playing for more than ten years, mostly because I simply didn't realize how much of a difference a good bow could make.

Both of my violin bows are beginner-level brazilwood bows, because even though I started off with an advanced student violin that was in the family, it didn't come with a usable bow. (It had been stored with the bow tightened for more than 20 years.) I bought the first one before I started playing, and the second when I'd been playing for about two years. Now that I'm playing violin a little more, and playing much more demanding music than when I previously left off, I'm considering shopping for a new violin bow.

My backup viola bow is also a relatively inexpensive student bow, somewhat better than the violin bows (and costing as much as both violin bows combined). I actually bought that bow when I was playing on a borrowed viola, and kept it when I returned that viola and bought my current one. Eventually I bought a good viola bow and kept the old student bow as a backup.

But, as I mentioned before, I don't find the balance of the student bows to be a huge problem (a little more tip-heavy than I prefer today but well within my acceptable range), which is most likely because I bought them in person and tried them before buying.

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ELCBK
USA
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December 6, 2020 - 3:27 am
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@ABitRusty -

Thanx!

I did look at the descriptions of all the Coda Bows.  The Joule sounded interesting, but they supposedly removed weight from that frog - which I'm afraid would put me back to playing higher on the stick (like most fiddlers of faster folk music do). 

We must be playing like that because we want our hand to be closer to the balance point. 

So, I want a balance point close to the frog and enough overall weight to help with my G & C string. 

I know you bought a Luma, did you ever try a Joule? 

 

@AndrewH -

I appreciate your insight! 

If I was in the market for a good wood bow, I would probably have to try 100 of them. 

Carbon Fiber bows are supposed to be more consistent in properties.  So, I need to be concerned only with a style within a brand. 

If I narrow down the price to approximately $500-$600, because I'm choking if I pay any closer to as much as my violin cost (lol), that won't leave me much to chose from. 

As far as how I play goes I like to use my whole bow length as much as possible (love a romantic waltz!), but I do gravitate to pieces that have me gingerly bouncing around on all my strings, with some emphasis on my G & C strings - a lot of string crossings and triplet bowing. 

 

Can't help but wonder if it's worth trying this next level of bows or will they all still have approximately the same balance point and just differences in flexibility, etc...? 

Does anyone make a CF bow with the balance point near the frog and at what price, thousands of dollars? 

giphy.gif

 

- Emily

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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December 6, 2020 - 3:44 am
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Funny that you mention it... my "good" viola bow is a hybrid, with a carbon fiber core wrapped in a wood sheath. It's a JonPaul Fusion Silver, which cost only around $500. (I actually went shopping with a $2000 budget and tried out bows up to $2500, and the least expensive bow I tested was the winner.) The violin version is available for under $400. The balance point is fairly low, which I've heard is the case for most JonPaul bows. That said, I can't confirm where the balance point for the violin bow is, because I've only tried the viola bow.

The basic JonPaul Fusion bow costs about half as much. I haven't tried it, but I understand that the manufacturing process is the same and the manufacturer selects the "best" sticks (not sure what the criteria are) for silver fittings, which means the balance point is probably similar.

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ELCBK
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December 6, 2020 - 4:29 am
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@AndrewH -

Thank you! 

I'll definitely have to look into the Jon Paul bows, then. 

giphy.gif

 

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 18, 2020 - 11:08 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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ELCB said

Well, I received my FM CF Viola bow! 

... and itlooks like it won't work for me.

It's heavier than the Violin version, but too much for me.  I'm surprised, it actually hurts my hand holding it.  Too much pressure on my pinky! 

Can't see any reason to apply any rosin to try playing with it. (sigh) 

So, looks like I'll get by with my FM CF Violin bow (and tungsten fishing weights) until I'm ready to try the $500+ ones. 

No sense in looking at expensive wooden bows either. The Carbon Fiber Viola bow is the same weight as the Pernambuco bows.
You're better off sticking to violin bows, or look at the new light weight option bows.

We offer the pro-series bows that are lighter than normal bows if that is what you are looking for: https://fiddlershop.com/collec.....-viola-bow
However, most violists want the extra weight to aide in getting the thicker longer strings vibrating without as much effort from your bow arm.

This little experiment has helped me learn more about what I want in a bow, but I'm just not sure if I should be thinking about trying more expensive bows this early into my playing. 

Anyone else consider leaving your student-type bow behind early in your playing? 

- Emily

  

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

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ELCBK
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December 18, 2020 - 4:08 pm
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@Fiddlerman -

Thank you! 

I figured maybe this next year might be a good time to look into your Pro CF violin bow. 

Appreciate your advice! 

giphy.gif

 

- Emily

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