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Articul bow - having trouble getting a satisfactory tone

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by webmonster, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. webmonster


    May 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    Hi all,

    A year ago or so I bought a new bow - an Articul.
    Before this I was borrowing a bow (French hold, cheap student model) and I also had a cheapo German hold bow that came with my bass when I bought it new.

    I learned using a French bow years ago and after trying the German bow I am pretty sure that I want to continue with a French bow.

    With the Articul I've found it very difficult to get a satisfying tone. It is hit and miss to get a good tone at the start of each note, particularly on a down bow. I tend to produce an overtone; also the tone is pretty 'in your face' and harsh/strong.

    Yesterday I tried using the German bow again and went back and forth between the Articul and the no-name German bow; the German bow is definitely easier to get a smoother tone with *much* less tendency to get a screech or harmonic.

    More info:
    -Bass is a Christopher 403 (3-4 years old now)
    -TI strings - bass is used predominantly for pizz, and the bowed sound using the German bow is still good
    -German bow is cheap student model with white hair and seems to be quite short - perhaps 3/4 size?
    -'Nice' bow is an Articul with black hair. Bow had absolutely no grip when purchased: Articul Composite Graphite Double Bass Bow
    - Rosin - On the Articul I've mostly I've used Hidersine Double Bass rosin Grade 2 that is very old... my teacher gave it to me almost 30 years ago and it wasn't new then!
    I've also got some new Pop's rosin. I used a bit of this on the German bow yesterday. I haven't used this much on the Articul - it didn't seem to work as well for some reason.

    So... where to from here?
    Do I need to clean off the rosin from the Articul and start again? If so how I clean off the rosin and prepare the bow?
  2. If your bow has natural horsehair, it can be washed like human hair. Pick up a travel sized bottle of baby shampoo. Wash in lukewarm water, being careful not to wet anything but the hair. Rinse well, blot dry with a towel, and allow to dry thoroughly.

    Unsatisfying sound is a common complaint about CF bows. I think they don’t absorb and filter out high frequencies like wood does.
    webmonster likes this.
  3. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I would just play through the rosin. CF bows give a clean sound and the best thing about them is behave like a very nice bow, as @KUNGfuSHERIFF says, they are usually very bright. Even a cheap wood bow will have a warmer sound. I keep CF bows around as back up bows.

    Getting the overtone isn't the fault of the bow, I would work on your technique. The first thing to do is learn to produce the overtone consistently and control - then don't do that when you don't want it. You are likely not using enough arm weight as wells as pushing the bow. Let the string pull the bow, just start the note and relax, don't add any muscle or movement until the bow change.
  4. webmonster


    May 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    Narrowing things down...
    Screeching harmonics are only occurring when using CF bow on open D and G strings.
    If I rest my finger (as if i am playing a harmonic) on the D or G string just in front of the nut the tone is good.
    Is this 'cheating'?
    The cheapo German bow does not need this.

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