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Dark horsehair bows?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (23 votes) 
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Mouse
February 7, 2024 - 10:46 am
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Good points, @Gordon Shumway 

🐭

The Bumblebee Flies!

Please ignore any typos. My typing ability on a real typewriter did not transfer to these device key pads.

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Cajun
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February 7, 2024 - 2:48 pm
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I'm loving the twists and turns of this 11 year old thread lol.  i'm stuck at work but y'all have me itching to play hooky for the last 2 1/2 hours of my shift and go home and play.  you're bad influences but i love y'all for it lol.

 

being the el cheapo i am, i'm now browsing Wish for violin bows I can torture i mean experiment with (who was it on Page 2 that said black and red?) and while i'm not finding many full bows (2 at last count after scrolling through several dozen products) , i do see some bow hair for cheap, including 83cm of brown for a whopping $12.08 before shipping.  while i can see the caveats in quality for most of these products, i'm genuinely curious at what hair of that price point looks, feels, and plays like.  if only i had the skill to rehair a bow i'd be inclined to get it and try it out.

 

ETA: looking through the shop, i realize i'm still playing with the basest level bow from when i got my Midnight (the brazilwood one).  I have to wonder, does the sandalwood one, well, smell? Or does that come from another part of the tree?

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Sharon Begley

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ELCBK
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February 7, 2024 - 5:17 pm
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So, if you are interested in trying black bow hair at all, and live in the USA - the Fiddlershop's 'Fiddlerman Noir' bow is an excellent opportunity. 

Also, wanted to mention - if you live outside the US, I would keep an eye out for Baroque bows made with black hair to try.  These 'Baroque' bows are where I first became aware black hair was being used.  Maybe think twice about the super cheap ones, but you may also get lucky finding something 2nd hand.  I always found the idea of a shorter, lighter weight, Baroque bow very intriguing - especially for fast, lively, trad/folk music.

I too, LOVE there's SO MANY factors that effect the tones we achieve playing our violins. 

When it comes to bows (no matter what type/style of music I've played) I have felt/heard differences with; bow stick type, bow brand, hair type, stage of hair wear, rosin type, rosin brand, rosin amount, string type/brand, and maybe something not talked about enough - location humidity.  I originally bought CF instead of wood bows, because we usually have low humidity during Winter & high humidity the rest of the year, but it has turned out to be the hair in high humidity I hate. 

I don't usually consider a light rosin because of my lower strings, but I am going to see how well it works on black hair.  

I'll be having a lot of fun with this Noir bow for a while, but it's made it painfully obvious I need a rehair of some kind on my Arcus.  If I look at a general recommendation -  rehairing a bow after one year of playing an average of a couple hours pretty much every day, I'm well overdue.

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Strabo
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February 19, 2024 - 8:37 am
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I bought the Fiddlerman Noir and have been using it alongside my other bows for the last two weeks. I like it, it’s a good alternative. 

The bow is not quite as agile as my other more expensive bows, but for $99 I have no complaints. It plays well, especially for tunes that benefit from more active bowing.

This bow is a little more “grabby” than my bows with light colored hair, but that’s not a bad thing. The extra grab just means that this bow pulls tone from the strings with noticeably less pressure. I think I have a tendency to bear down too much on the bow, so this is good discipline for me: Keep a light touch and let the bow do the work!

I do not notice a grittier tone with the black hair. Sometimes a gritty tone is desirable, but that’s easily accomplished with a little extra pressure near the frog.

Anyway, I’m happy that we talked about colors of bow hair. I’ll pay greater attention when I next need a rehair. Maybe I’ll even go crazy and try salt & pepper!

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ELCBK
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February 22, 2024 - 8:44 pm
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@Strabo -

Glad to hear you are trying & liking the Noir black-hair bow! 🤗

What rosin are you using?  Light or Medium?

Yeah, I'm not getting anything 'gritty' - it's just picking up sound more easily, which I really like. 

I can notice a little different string noise because of that characteristic, but it's not something bad.  I think it's one of those things I just notice directly under ear - doesn't seem noticeable to me when recorded.  And I'm not noticing any string noise when I'm playing electric, either. 

Finally decided I want to rehair my Arcus P5 with black hair, but Fiddlershop doesn't carry 'black' for rehairs. 😞

I hesitate to consider the 'salt & pepper' hair, without 1st seeing some.  🤔

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Strabo
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February 23, 2024 - 12:21 pm
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Sorry, I forgot to respond to your question. I’m currently using Guillaume dark rosin. It works OK -- reasonable grip and fairly smooth, doesn’t wear off too quickly. And it doesn’t exacerbate my allergies!

My thoughts about rosins are mostly about the problems. I have tried numerous varieties in order to minimize my allergic reactions, which were quite bothersome. Some of the rosins that I tested had poor grip. Others didn’t do much for allergy, but were effective as Cash Transfer Products, haha. I have a large plastic bag full of rosins, too bad that nobody accepts trade-ins...

Testing rosins in an inconvenient business at best. To get a fair test of rosin B, you really should remove rosin A from the hair. There are various different recommendations about how to do that; some people suggest washing the hairs with soap and water, others say to use alcohol, etc. etc. It finally became too much, too complicated.

I finally simplified the process by thoroughly combing the hairs with a toothbrush and then wiping with a paper towel. I know it ain’t perfect, but I was not interested in being a career Rosin Tester. And I didn’t know if repeated cleanings with soap or alcohol might damage the horsehair. 

I’m fortunate to have two identical bows, so that facilitated A-B testing. But testing rosins was inevitably a significant distraction. So I’m reasonably happy with Guillaume dark. It might not be the most perfectest rosin ever, but it’s good enuf for me.

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ELCBK
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February 23, 2024 - 2:12 pm
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@Strabo -

Thank you! 

Yeah, I hate testing rosin, too. 🤣  I was hoping you might've tried a light rosin - just so I could get your opinion.

I've been using this bow (exclusively) for a bit longer & I'm much happier with my medium rosin NOW than at 1st (thought it might be grabbing too much).  Humidity is still pretty low in our house, so guess I don't have any reason (at the moment) to try anything different. 

I'd love to recommend my rosin, but it has a very pleasant fragrance - not sure if that means it might aggravate allergies. 

Appreciate your info on the 'Guillaume dark rosin' & will keep it in mind for possible future use. 😊

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ABitRusty
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February 27, 2024 - 10:42 am
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a thought... 

for an absolute beginner on stringed instruments.. would a dark haired bowed be helpful as an additional way to determine how much rosin to apply.   I know how much rosin to use and when to reapply is a tricky thing to learn.  So, would equating a feel or sound to a visual indication of rosin level on a dark haired bow be easier for a beginner?

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ELCBK
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February 27, 2024 - 1:03 pm
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@ABitRusty - 

Thanks again for the Fan Tao interview (post #33 - Strings... $$$... OUCH! Thread)!  I do want to mention I liked what Fan Tao had to say about rosin & bow hair in his interview, starting at approx 50:12 (Fan Tao interview).

🤔 idk... don't think I noticed where I've done anything different with rosin - but possible.  I remember trying to apply the first rosining to this black hair, thinking "wow, this new hair seems super slick", more than any of my other bows when I 1st got them. 

It's more like I just got better response when playing. 

Not sure how to look at this bow for beginners - just remembering all the sounds I DIDN'T want to make when I started.  Don't think this hair is as forgiving as regular white hair. 

I'd rather face/overcome important challenges at the beginning of learning something, because I feel it can make everything that comes afterwards easier... but this could also easily discourage some folks. 

I'm overjoyed with the Fiddlerman Noir Violin Bow with black hair, especially for fast string crossing & ease of response on lower strings, but I would still prefer my Arcus P5 bow if it had better hair - so now I want BLACK hair on it!  🤗🤗🤗

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Strabo
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February 28, 2024 - 6:58 am
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Though I rarely have the time or patience to it and listen to podcasts, I found the Fan Tao interview to be super interesting. Thank you for posting his!

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ABitRusty
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February 28, 2024 - 8:10 am
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@Strabo youre welcome.  i guess i prefer the podcast vs radio these days while on tbe road which allows time to listen to them.

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Strabo
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February 29, 2024 - 11:49 am
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@rusty

I checked out the podcasts at “Rosin the Bow with Joe McHugh”. He has all kinds of interesting podcasts about violin issues.

Great work in finding that and thanks!

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ELCBK
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March 2, 2024 - 6:46 pm
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I'm REALLY glad Gibbles did this Video demo of the 'Noir' bow!!! 

Should put a lot of folks' mind to rest, showing just how GREAT it sounds!!! 

 

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ELCBK
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March 20, 2024 - 7:03 am
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Woo Hoo! 

Sent my precious baby (my Arcus P5 Viola Bow) off to be re-haired (guess what color) at the Fiddlershop! 

🤫... jeez, I've really got some high expectations, but I'm very happy with everything, now - fiddles/viola, bows, shoulder rest, strings, rosin (sure took me long enough to get to this point). 

 

Anyone ever name a BOW?  ...got me thinkin'. 🤭

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Strabo
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March 21, 2024 - 6:50 am
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@ELCBK, thanks for telling us about your Fiddlershop re-hair. I was unaware that they offered that service, but now that you mentioned it, I see it on their website. 

In addition to the Noir bow that I recently bought, I have two no-name identical carbon fiber bows that I like very much. They have excellent tone, good balance, and are quite agile.

 So, when one of these bows needs to be re-haired, I might send it to them for dark hair. That will be a great opportunity to test the differences between light and dark!

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ELCBK
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April 3, 2024 - 10:40 pm
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5a39def59ac0dd8406c9f731ab2f00db.jpg85a1b6c95520303da5bf2546aeefe42b.jpg3dc46683ec3f6b87da2bb4b78fde993b.png

I'M SO HAPPY!!! 

Got my Arcus P5 back today... with BLACK HAIR! 

 

Wore myself out slathering it with rosin - jeez, my sinus cavities feel like they got a good coating, too (tried not to breathe much), but...  

THIS MUST BE HEAVEN!  

I NOW have my PERFECT VIOLA/VIOLIN BOW! 

 

The Fiddlerman Noir Bow IS WONDERFUL (and I have really enjoyed using it!)... but my Arcus P5 Viola bow is MUCH BETTER (for me) in several ways - just needed a little help in the 'hair department'. 😉 

Slow waltzes, 6/8 march, reel, strathspey... smooth dancing on ALL my strings! 🤗 

 

💖💖💖😍 TY Fiddlershop! 😍💖💖💖

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