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Learned a lot about bows today
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Mouse
June 7, 2022 - 4:29 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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I brought my cello into the violin shop today to get it a check up. While I was there I tried some violins and found a bow that was really nice. It was a bit pricey, so it remained in the shop, The shop owner/violinist/violist/luthier was talking to me about bows, I have one I purchased from him a while back. Worked really nice in the shop, but is sort of bouncy for me at home.

He did get out a couple that are the same price as the one I purchased a couple years ago. After hearing what I was told about bouncing, the reason behind the problem of bouncing for some violinists, why beginner bows are made so they don't bounce, the violinist having enough bounce control to move up to the bouncier bow, etc testing the bows meant more to me. I learned why the beginner bows I used when I started were not working for me, but the bows made for violinists beyond my capabilities, are, likewise, not right. I am in the middle.

From what I gather, if you have a bouncy bow issue and try as much as you can, you just can't get it under control, you may have a bow you have not grown into yet, 

I have the one I was most comfortable with home on trial. If I continue to like it, while comparing it to the other bow I bought previously, I will exchange the bows. So far, I am liking this one better. 

There is more to the bow than just the horsehair and frog. Your problem might be you have a bow you are not ready for, or a bow you have grown out of. 

I am not talking about bows that I use when I use my violin I play music that is more like fiddle music. I use a different violin and bow for the fiddle type music. I use my Fiddlershop Concert Deluxe or my grandfather's American Fold Fiddle. They have the sound I like for that type of music. For my pop or classical playing, I like a mellower sound. The bow for that music is what has been giving me issues.

I know some people may disagree with this, but, for me, I tend to think this fits into my experiences. 

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RDP
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June 7, 2022 - 6:07 pm
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I've found that, while it's tough on the hair, adding more tension to the bow can reduce the tendency to bounce.  I have a very extreme bounce on the E string because, along with my tremors, there's almost no bow weight on the string.  I always know when I don't have enough tension on the bow because it literally skips during the entire bow stroke - chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp...  As you grow into the bow you can reduce the tension to get a more lively response.

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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June 8, 2022 - 3:17 am
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Sometimes a downbow will bounce because you are beginning the stroke too far from the frog.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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June 8, 2022 - 3:52 am
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@Mouse -

From what I just experienced with my home trial, I wouldn't give up on those other bows.

Maybe consider giving a bow that you thought was too bouncy or 'beyond your capabilities' when you tried it at that shop - more of a chance for a while at home. 

Give yourself a few days or a week trial, if you can - you might really surprise yourself!

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Mouse
June 8, 2022 - 11:00 am
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I did bring a bow home to try and I am liking it. The bow that I purchased a couple years ago, I have had issues with for quite a while. It has never gotten better and I believe it has hindered my progressing. I haven't tried bows in over 3 years, for my warm sounding violin.

I have no issue with admitting to myself a bow is beyond my capability and I have no issue with getting a bow I can handle. I am not able to control the bow I am currently using with my warmer sounding violin. The bow I brought home for trial is much better for me and my ability than the bow I purchased from this shop a few years ago. That bow is still too bouncy for me. A few years is quite long enough. 

I always do better in the studio, for some reason. When I get home and do it, my playing is more normal to what I do. Go figure. I purchased the current bow a few years ago, and it is, apparently,  beyond my ability to control. I am now trying out a bow that, so far, is in line with my capabilities. They are the same price, but different brands. This could change over the week, but right now, it is better.

It does me no good to fight with a bow and try to be consistent with my intonation at the same time.  If I am fighting a bow, I can't pay attention to the rest. When I am no longer fighting for consistency with intonation, probably in different positions, I will get a little more advanced bow, if I want to do anything with bouncing. One thing at a time, for me.

I am trying this bow for a week. When I go back to get my cello, I will either keep the one I am trying and trade my current one in, just keep my current one, or come home with another trial. 

So, I still believe the luthier, some bows are meant for beginners. As you advance, you grow out of the beginner bow, and you grow into the bows for the more advanced players, and learn advanced bowing techniques. Bows are made to bounce and they are made to progress from beginner to professional. The amount of bounce is a factor.

The balance feels different when holding it. I noticed that right away. 

I think the one I have issues with is a Horst John. The one I have on trial is an Arcos Snakewood. The balance is completely different when I hold it. That may be part of it. 

The luthier/shop owner said that he has noticed that I have progressed over the years I have visited his shop, and have outgrown the beginner level bow, but, most likely, not quite ready for that bouncier bow I currently have. Funny, none of my instructors ever paid attention to bowing, or much intonation, just wanted to move on in the book. I should go to that shop more often. It is nice that my husband and I have connected with the shop owner and his wife and their cello guy. I learned a lot from him yesterday and it makes complete sense. 

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The Bumblebee Flies!

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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June 8, 2022 - 11:12 am
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Snakewood is a curious choice - the only snakewood bow I have seen was a baroque bow.

Andrew

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Mouse
June 8, 2022 - 12:31 pm
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@Gordon Shumway The bow is pernambuco. The frog is snakewood. It is called a snakewood. 

 

Arcos Brasil Fleur de Lys bows are expertly made from select quality straight grain pernambuco wood blanksthat are naturally aged and dried to ensure the finished bow will hold its form. Their sterling silver mounted horn or snakewood frogs are inlaid with abalone Fleur de Lys designs.

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