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Bow weight

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Paul Warburton, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. I have a question on bow weight. I have two good bows I may be selling. Both are German.
    One is a Keith Beardon that weighs 125 grams. The other is an H.R. Phretzsner (spell) @ 135. Both have octagonal sticks.
    Both bows seem a little on the heavy side to me.
    What do you think? I just don't know anything about bow weight.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Both my German and French bows clock in at over 145 g. Your bows are very light in my book.
  3. Thanks, man! That's a pleasant surprise!
  4. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    My bow weighs 135 g. Everyone who tries it just loves it, leading me to believe that weight is less a factor than balance, feel, and performance.
  5. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I can't claim weight is less or more of a factor than balance, feel, or performance in a bow, but Don makes a good point.

    I personally think issues of balance are way overrated in German bows, but it's my bow of choice and I don't blame that bow for my weaknesses. A French bow, on the other hand, provides me with many reasons why I can't use it worth a darn without looking to myself. To each his own, I suppose.
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Don, what kind of bow do you have ?
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Made by Susan Lipkins on the Pfretzschner model. It was originally meant for the Curtis Institute. Lucky me.
    Sue's bows have appreciated phenomenally in price as her work gets known.
  8. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    She is in Philly, correct ? I think I spoke with her about taking me on as a student.
  9. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    No. She lives in Woodstock, NY. Before that, she lived in Englewood, NJ. She studied bass at Juilliard. And she's one of the good people on this planet.
  10. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I wonder who I'm confusing her with...
  11. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I just got my Sue Lipkins bow about ten days ago. It weighs in at about 141-2.

    It's utterly amazing. My bass sounds so much better when I'm playing the Lipkins bow than with any other bow I've used (and I've tried some great ones) that I would recommend that anyone -- at any skill level -- give one a try.

    Assuming that our equipment is already optimized (the right strings, the right setup, good hair, the right rosin, etc.), we have two major areas where we can improve our sound via equipment changes: bass upgrades and bow upgrades.

    Bass upgrades can be incredibly expensive. Bow upgrades are much less expensive. If you're not happy with your gear, consider upgrading to a really fine bow like the bow Sue makes. It could pay immense dividends for you.
  12. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Finally, recognition of one of the finest bowmakers in the country.
    As a moderator, I've felt obliged to remain circumspect. Now that the door has been opened, I'll say that Sue Lipkins is an extraordinary talent, and I do not understand how so few people can know about someone so gifted. Her bows just soar in value.
    My Lipkins bow has been tried by members of the Met and other major NY orchestras and schools. In every case, just before giving the bow back to me, they look at the bow and smile.

  13. Its all about balance! You could get a bow weighing 160 grams but if its almost all frog it will feel very light , get it?
  14. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Balance is definitely more important than weight. That said, unless violin bows, my understanding is that weight is a good thing for a bass bow. My bows weight 147 and 148 grams and all those bows that I have tried that I like were all about the same weight.
  15. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Sono est omnia Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 26, 2003
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Luthier and Instrument Tech at Kala Brand Music Co.
    A heavier bow can make starting a note much easier, increase volume, and help note stability. While it may fatigue you slightly at first you can eventually get used to the extra weight. I agree that balance is ultimately more important than weight. Of course every bow sounds different, as does every bass and its' player. Although I haven't tried any especially light or heavy bows I'm sure that you can find a bow that sounds good whether it's light, medium or heavy. I haven't yet weighed my bow. I started on German and switched to French years ago at the recommendation of an instructor. I understand that the German bows are generally heavier due to the increased size of the frog. Interesting thread.
  16. Kat_Mia

    Kat_Mia Guest

    May 7, 2004
    Dorset, UK
    My horse hair bow is very heavy but its's well balanced I feel and my teacher says so too. It's weighted towards the pointed end, opposite to frog (sorry-not too good at bow parts), and I really like it. My nylon bow is very light and I don't like it as much but I like it inother ways. Personally I prefer heavier bows.
  17. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I ordered a bow from Sue Lipkins a couple of weeks ago. 150g, ebony and silver ... and a two year wait.
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    My 2 main French Bows are 146g and 152g. I use the 152g Bow (which is also stiffer) on tighter Basses and Concerts that I have to dig in more. I use the 146g Bow (which is whipper and sweet sounding) on easier playing music and Basses. I have used 5 different Basses in the last 2 years so it's good to have a choice in Bows to make the music more pleasant. Both my Bows mentioned here were made by Peter Eibert,NY.
  19. Contra|Brett|


    Oct 6, 2004
    i like bows weighted more towards the tip, my bow weighs around 135g, but i wish more of that weight was in the tip.
  20. Don,
    Do you have contact information for Susan Lipkins?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 25, 2021

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