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New Bow: Polycorde - many strings
Check out the new bow from Charlie McCarthy
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
February 24, 2020 - 10:55 pm
Member Since: February 24, 2020
Forum Posts: 4
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Hello everyone

Please have a look at the new bow I have developed. It is very similar to a baroque bow but much more functional for the modern player. It is super fun to play!

The website is here https://www.polycordebow.com/

and there are some instructional demonstrations here feature=youtu.be

and here feature=youtu.be

This in no way replaces the modern Tourte bow. Consider how a percussionist can have many mallets for the same drum or why tradesmen have more than one tool. This bow enables a string player to apply additional harmonies to their melody or to accompany other musicians in a chordal and harmonically contributory capacity.

When I play gigs I rest it on my lap and swap from regular bow to Polycorde bow when appropriate if needed, it generally takes a beat or two to swap if you are fast and use both hands and unless you are playing something very technical you can generally do most basic melodies on the Polycorde Bow.

Bespoke innovative 17th centuary style bow made for the modern player. Handmade in Snakewood by world class Tasmanian Archetier Philip Smith with a choice of bowhairs (regular, coruss, black, salt and pepper). Viola, Cello and Double Bass models are in development and further modification is available by request.

Fort Lauderdale
February 25, 2020 - 11:00 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16063

What a great invention. Is it your own?

Normally I request that merchants speak to me first before posting any kind of advertisement but this is pretty cool and I'll allow it. Congrats on your creation. 😁

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

Gordon Shumway
London, England

February 25, 2020 - 12:13 pm
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 2099
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Somewhere on this forum is a video of people doing something almost identical with a standard bow. It features in something like Northumbrian folk music. You undo the frog and hold the stick under the fiddle with the strings above the fiddle. Your right hand holds the stick and hair both together.


February 25, 2020 - 12:38 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 4177
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I remember that, Alf. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

West Sussex, England UK

February 25, 2020 - 12:56 pm
Member Since: September 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 378
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I remember Jimmy Page using a regular violin bow on his Les Paul and being very impressed by it (I was in my late teens at the time). I just looked again on YouTube, and his col legno work was eye-wateringly aggressive.

"Dazed and Confused", solo (arco, col legno)


"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

February 27, 2020 - 3:47 pm
Member Since: February 24, 2020
Forum Posts: 4
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Thanks very much for the generous comments. No its not a new invention, this kind of bow has been around for hundreds of years, just hasn't been very popular lately. My design is just a new mechanism in the frob where you can alternate between single, double, triple and 4 string hair contact whilst playing with a great level of accuracy.


Another example here: feature=youtu.be


It cannot do any spiccatto, richocet or even pulsed accent bowing, but it can play chords. Its like how a percussionist has many mallets for the same drum, this just expands possibilities. I use both at gigs and swap between them, sometimes multiple times in the same piece. I grab my regular bow with left hand and immedietly grab the Polycorde from my lap with the right hand, drop one whilst raising the other, its really fast.


I am working on a mich cheaper carbon fibre version, just working out the weights and dimensions.


it is SUPER for playing rhythm fiddle and accompanying students whilst they play melody.


PS: Big fan of the site for years, thank you fiddlerman!

February 27, 2020 - 4:35 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 4177
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I noticed the difference in you having the mechanism at the frog. That seems like a big enhancement, actually.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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