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Some waffle about bows and insurance
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Gordon Shumway
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July 6, 2020 - 11:47 am
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I just renewed my musical insurance policy.

The premium has gone up from £28 to £43 because I bought a Coda Diamond GX - bows are fragile and many are claimed for.

I totally love my Col Legno Standard. When I inquired about a Col Legno Deluxe, the vendor told me, don't bother - it's not worth the extra money.

When I first picked up the Coda I was amazed at the difference in feel, but it really only boils down to the fact that the balance point is an inch closer to the frog than on the Col Legno. Now that I'm used to it, it's nothing special, and there's a little bit of familiarity-breeds-contempt there already. I assume from the blurb that the Luma's balance point is even closer to the frog.

I have a shouty cellist friend who adamantly insists bow snobbery is the ultimate example of the emperor's new clothes. He is very fond of my teacher, a mutual friend, but her Hill viola bow is worth £6,000. Her backup bow is a Col Legno Standard!

vcom is full of snobs. Some of them think Codas are over-rated (they may be right), and they regard Arcus/Musing as beginners bows. My feeling is that you need to think carefully about whether you are really going to get more than 10% of such a bow's potential from it, and do you really want to pay that insurance premium?

I think a lot of them suffer from the illusion that every violin student must expect to play virtuoso concertos to paying audiences. This is pie in the sky.

My gut feeling is that my shouty cellist friend is right, unless your name is Alexander Markov, and we should be happy with our Col Legno's and our Fiddlershop carbons and stop wasting our money! Of course, if you have enough money, and spending it gives you fun, go ahead!

And when I get a better violin I may change my mind!

Andrew

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Mouse
July 6, 2020 - 2:22 pm
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I think it is an individual’s preference. One uses what is most comfortable, the balance, feel of the hold (does the Frog part bother the thumb), etc. I don’t think it is for anyone to suggest to anyone what one should spend on a bow, instrument, etc. Whether it stretches someone’s budget, or it is an easy purchase, is also that person’s preference.

What is considered “wasting money” to one person, might be bringing more enjoyment to another. 

I just tried an Arcos Gold Special Edition, along with three other makes/models: Jamie Goldie, FR Hellmer circa 1932, and the non-special edition of the Arcos Gold. There was truly a difference in each. They all felt different in my hand. They all sounded different with the same exact cello, playing the same exact song. There were pluses and minuses for each. If someone else tried these same bows on my cello this way, they would have had different choices for #1, #2, #3 and #4. 

Choosing an instrument and bow, or anything for that matter, is one’s personal decision, and not for others to judge. Just my thoughts.

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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July 6, 2020 - 2:25 pm
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I recently bought myself a col legno standard, and I think it's a fantastic bow for the money. My off string bowing has improved significantly since I got it.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
July 6, 2020 - 3:25 pm
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I have now totally given up on bow choice !!!   LOLOLOL...  they ( the various different ones I use from even the cheapo-thing that came with my $80-or-so USD Thomann EV up to my Holstein PB ) can, across ALL my instruments - (for what I need to do) pretty much do the same thing...   And yes, agreed of course, the bowing HAS to be different between the bows, even rosin type and amount makes a difference ...

But that's not the point of my post really. it's more about what @Gordon Shumway says regarding v.com - 100% in agreement on that, Andrew !!!  Been there, had enough after about 10 days of unnecessary comment and failure to engage, and left....

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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July 7, 2020 - 5:20 pm
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I don't see the same level of snobbery that's being described. I see a small handful of people saying those things, and a lot of people disagreeing vehemently. Almost half of the people there use relatively inexpensive carbon fiber bows! There is that one loud, obnoxious guy who thinks every violin made in the last 100 years is crap and all carbon fiber bows are barely fit for beginners -- but he got his comeuppance at the hands of another vcom regular when he failed to pick the carbon fiber bow out of a lineup of four bows in a blind test. As soon as you know who not to bother engaging, it's actually pretty pleasant.

(By the way, I actually have the opposite complaint about vcom: I feel many of the adult amateurs there lack ambition and are too quick to dismiss ambitious adult learners.)

As for bows: there is a point at which your bow will hold you back. I notice because I currently only have cheap student bows for my violin -- my backup viola bow cost as much as both of my violin bows combined. And the violin bows are definitely limiting in that both of them are too stiff; I can play the full range of bow strokes but it is much more difficult and less consistent than with my "good" viola bow. (And my "good" viola bow is a $500 hybrid.)

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AndrewH
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July 7, 2020 - 5:31 pm
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I find it pretty shocking that the insurance policy is going up that much for any carbon fiber bow, though. One of the main advantages of carbon fiber is that the bows are extremely durable and can stand up to a lot of abuse. I can't imagine insurance claims for CF bows being frequent.

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ELCB
USA
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July 7, 2020 - 6:43 pm
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This is all great info... now that the violin is no longer my hobby but an obsession/addiction!

Been trying to make my bow's quirks work to my advantage (for now) because even though I understand the important role of the bow, I just don't really know how to completely use it, yet.

When ("when" - Boy have I been bitten!) I do upgrade, I'm preeetty sure the sensible side of me (the small side) will still make me choose a Carbon Fiber bow for durability... maybe not one that costs more than my violindancinbunnyDoesn't mean I won't upgrade to better Carbon Composite Violin!

I had it "impressed" upon me as a kid that I must have a DEEP reverence and knowledge of what makes an item precious - which sure sets one up for a heart attack (I should have dropped dead quite a few times).

I've had precious things broken that were irreplaceable (no need for insurance there) - also lost precious things that were insured, only to find out my deductible was so high it didn't help much to have insurance.

Now, I just make sure I can get somewhat compensated if the house is destroyed with all of the valuables inside - or if the car is stolen/destroyed with valuables in it...

 

- Emily

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MrYikes
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July 8, 2020 - 4:51 pm
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My Fiddlerman Carbon Bow is all that I will ever need or want.

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Irv
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July 10, 2020 - 10:47 am
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@MrYikes and others.  I spent a couple of years surveying the lower realms of Chinese violins and bows.  I could have saved some money if I stopped at the Mendini MV650 violin and a Fiddlerman carbon bow.  

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 10, 2020 - 2:43 pm
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MrYikes said
My Fiddlerman Carbon Bow is all that I will ever need or want.

bunny_pole_dancerdancingbananacheerleadercheers

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

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Mimi Aysha
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July 19, 2020 - 11:18 am
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FM sent me some to test when I was in the market to upgrade from my free Brazil wood bow....

BLIND TEST with 6 bows: No prices known, mixture of wood and CF.

AUDIENCE AND TESTERS: Hubby, best violin buddy, teacher, and grandkids, everyone but hubby played....

RESULTS: Teacher and I picked the most expensive one, based on sound and feel of it, was CF not wood! go figure, it felt like wood, teacher was impressed. (Obviously he sounded amazing with all of them) Kids loved the FM carbon.

Hubby picked my fav, which we later found out was the most expensive. All worked out well tho, ended up being a valentines, mothers day and birthday present all wrapped into one, and I knew he'd forget by my birthday!

Bought the grands the FM carbon - friend bought the JonPaul CF 

Purely personal, a fun evening with lots of playing, swopping fiddles and bows. Amazing how when you get the feel of something comfortable you kind of forget about everything else, the playing reflected that.

Funny enough the coda came in last, I liked it, but absolutely fell in love with my Jon Paul Carrera. We all love our bows....I was warned that this will probably be the only bow I will ever own, simply love it!  

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GregW
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July 19, 2020 - 3:29 pm
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Mimi Aysha said
FM sent me some to test when I was in the market to upgrade from my free Brazil wood bow....

BLIND TEST with 6 bows: No prices known, mixture of wood and CF.

AUDIENCE AND TESTERS: Hubby, best violin buddy, teacher, and grandkids, everyone but hubby played....

RESULTS: Teacher and I picked the most expensive one, based on sound and feel of it, was CF not wood! go figure, it felt like wood, teacher was impressed. (Obviously he sounded amazing with all of them) Kids loved the FM carbon.

Hubby picked my fav, which we later found out was the most expensive. All worked out well tho, ended up being a valentines, mothers day and birthday present all wrapped into one, and I knew he'd forget by my birthday!

Bought the grands the FM carbon - friend bought the JonPaul CF 

Purely personal, a fun evening with lots of playing, swopping fiddles and bows. Amazing how when you get the feel of something comfortable you kind of forget about everything else, the playing reflected that.

Funny enough the coda came in last, I liked it, but absolutely fell in love with my Jon Paul Carrera. We all love our bows....I was warned that this will probably be the only bow I will ever own, simply love it!  

  

Now that sounds like the way to test some bows out!.  what better way to spend an evening...fiddles, family, and friends!  congrats on the new bow!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 20, 2020 - 11:25 am
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@mimi Aysha - I remember our conversations about these bows back in the day. 🙂
Glad that you still love it.

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

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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October 1, 2020 - 5:55 am
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Insurance update.

I quickly skimmed my policy and noticed that there was an upper limit of £2000 for payouts, so I phoned and asked and it was because I was on an amateur musician's policy. They transferred me to an unlimited pro policy at no extra cost! Don't ask me to explain it.

Read the small print.

Andrew

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ELCB
USA
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October 1, 2020 - 10:57 am
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@Gordon Shumway -

I think that is very valuable info. 

Seems Insurance companies don't always like to volunteer better plans if it makes them less money - important you inquired!

I am curious, though - you mentioned at the beginning of this thread that you feel bows are fragile.  I know wood bows are, but isn't your Coda Diamond GX  carbon fiber?  If so, I would think that is made very strong.  I could see you might be concerned about loss/theft since it is a good sized investment - do you have to pay a deductible? 

Been thinking at what point down the road I might consider insurance.

 

- EmilyEye Alien Walking Caterpillar Monster Emoticons

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Gordon Shumway
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October 1, 2020 - 12:23 pm
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ELCB said
you mentioned at the beginning of this thread that you feel bows are fragile.  I know wood bows are, but isn't your Coda Diamond GX  carbon fiber?  If so, I would think that is made very strong.  I could see you might be concerned about loss/theft since it is a good sized investment - do you have to pay a deductible?  

It seems that bows are simply always being claimed for, so they are wary. I said on the phone at the time, "well, my bows are carbon, but I doubt they are indestructible." Today my luthier suggested that Coda were so strong as to be near indestructible, but I wouldn't be so silly as to abuse one.

I don't think deductibles are payable, but I haven't read the policy from beginning to end yet.

P.S. My OP was very long and waffly, and I realise I should have kept it simple.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway
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October 1, 2020 - 12:41 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
[my teacher's antique] Hill viola bow is worth £6,000. Her backup bow is a Col Legno Standard! 

A while ago I decided it would be a good idea to buy a viola one day. I noticed my teacher's backup bow had become a Coda Diamond GX (or similar), so I asked if I could buy her Col Legno, as I had already made my mind up that that was the only viola bow I'd ever want to own. She denied possession of one. I suspect that when she saw my Col Legno she got confused and forgot what bow she had! Shucks! She can be a bit dizzy at times. But also she has possibly never used her backup bow.

I took a loaned violin back to my luthier today, and he had a nice 16" viola for £1,500, made by a student of his, but if it sounds good, then hey! Can't afford it until next year, though.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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October 8, 2020 - 8:55 am
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Great advice. Always call and ask. Problem is proving that someone said something if you ever have to collect. It's a very different situation to speak to an agent vs the actually Insurance company.

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

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