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"Bow Talk" Scratchy Trouble Shooting

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by jmacdbass, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. jmacdbass

    jmacdbass jmacdbass.com, openmusiccollective.org Supporting Member

    So last night my main bow had a fail moment so it went into the shop today, I have had a Vitabow in my closet for awhile that I never used, although I really like its weight and stiffness

    anyway... here are some observations

    - It has white hair, and i'm guessing it is not the top grade

    - It is pretty scratchy sound in comparison to the other bow, but to make things worse I'm on a borrowed bass so the "control" environment is not ideal

    - I noticed a lot of fine white dust on my strings that I don't normally see with swedish rosin

    So I have 2 ideas:

    The Hair sucks and just needs to be replaced


    Its brand new hair and the fine white dust is the bow breaking in

    In general I have pretty good bow chops and don't usually have this problem, but I am also playing on older classical helicores which I think are prone to scratchy anyway

    It is also hard to play quiet...

    I'm hoping some new hair will make this a new happy bow, but don't want to spend the money if it is just crap (not the hairs fault)

  2. If this is indeed a bow with new hair, never played in before - then it is possible that that fine white rosin powder is the powdered "primer" rosin that is often applied at the shop when the rehairing is done.

    It is meant to aid the application of your regular rosin, making the bow grab more quickly (with less rosining) than would normally be the case if you had only bare new hair.
  3. jmacdbass

    jmacdbass jmacdbass.com, openmusiccollective.org Supporting Member

    hmm interesting...is that stuff extra scratchy?

    I bought the bow used on talkbass so I don't know how much it has been played in, I have maybe 3-4 hours on it at this point
  4. If you bought the bow used on TB, then it is unlikely to have just had a rehair and not yet been broken in, so my comments are irrelevant.
  5. jmacdbass

    jmacdbass jmacdbass.com, openmusiccollective.org Supporting Member

    actually, I think you were on to something, it was like new when I got it, I'm thinking the last guy didn't play it alot because of the "scratchyness"

    i know a local guy who does $35 rehairs, I'm going to take a chance, although a violin maker I know suggested just cleaning the hair really good to get the powder off

    I am pretty sure it is the extra cheap hair that vita puts on most of their bows, because the stick it self feels really nice, and it is more balanced then my ary pernambucu stick

    ahh...if I only i had a few thousand for something nice...
  6. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I always had issues with Helicores being a bit fuzzy and scratchy. Pirastro Obligatos bow very easily.

    Here are a few 'non-obvious' thoughts...
    - Try rubbing a little rosin directly on the string. Not much.
    - When you bow, be sure you are not 'attacking from the air'. Have the bow firmly planted so that you can actually wiggle the string a millimeter or 2 and then draw the bow firmly and of course perpendicular to the string.

    Hold old is the rosin? You could scrape of a bit to get at some fresher rosin... Rosin dries out long before you have used it all. I've found that the freshness of rosin matters much more than brand.
  7. jmacdbass

    jmacdbass jmacdbass.com, openmusiccollective.org Supporting Member

    Thanks Mostlybass and TonyD, like I said, it wasn't a good "control" environment, I have been in bass du jour mode for awhile, its not that I inherently "disagree" with you, i think in this case you are not on the right track

    I am pretty sure it has to do with a cheaper hair and a powder used to help the rosin stick

    I will be picking/receiving my new brescian this week with belcantos and I am most likely going to get the bow rehaired anyway, but i'll check one more time

    the white powder was the "phenomenon" that will lead me to the problem, because with the same rosin I have never got white powder on my bass like this
  8. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Yeah that powder on the hair can be terrible. I use a toothbrush to brush and clean the hair and then put on more rosin than usual.