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Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Johnny L, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I want to try using black hair for a while, pretty much because I think it looks cool on bass bows, but I think I read somewhere that black hair was thicker than white hair. The story goes like this: one ends up getting fewer hairs on the stick to hold rosin and grab the string, thereby decreasing the bow's performance.

    Is it true that black hair is thicker than white hair, and if so, doesn't this allow the black hair to resist breaking and unravelling more than white hair? Is there really a performance issue between black and white hair on a bass bow worth discussing, considering the softer nature of bass rosin?
  2. When I had my hair replaced I asked the same question mainly because the black hair was about $20 cheaper. The woman who was going to do the work said that there is no difference that can be seen except for astetic qualities.

    Some players do think that the black hair has a harsher tone but I didn't find that to be the case when I had my bow rehaired. I like the look of black hair and I did save $20 on the rehairing. If there is a difference in tone production, it is minimal.
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Jeff Bradetich plays a bow with black hair in his instruction video without discussing the matter at all, and he sounds just fine to me.

    If black hair is less expensive, more durable, and holds rosin well then why isn't it all the rage?
  4. i had my bow rehaired this past time half and half, that is with half a hank of black on the bridge side and half a hank of siberian on the fingerboard side. this was mostly as an experiment (though it did look very cool) in that i hypothesised that this would acsentuate my dynamics. my findings were that i could tell no difference in sound or feel from side to side... (all of this was done while playing with nymahns and carlsons rosin and on correlli strings...)

  5. Maaaven


    Jun 24, 2003
    Pasadena Area
    I have been making some changes to equipment and
    technique in my attempt to come to grips with Arco
    playing. I did web research that showed that a
    minority of bass players used black, but many
    used salt and pepper. The black is described as
    "grippier". I changed out perfectly good white
    hair for black, attempting to more easily get
    even tone across the strings. I am happy with the
    change, and my teacher now compliments the bow's
    performance. I find it more predictable. As for cost,
    for me the labor was the largest portion $35, with $7
    for the hank of black hair.
    At the same time I had the internals lubricated and
    installed a pad for the thumb (french pernambuco with silver).
  6. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    In a culture where everyone in the section must keep their bows going in the same direction and work together to create the illusion of a single instrument (excepting perhaps a chorus effect), I guess I can rationalize a greater resistance to changing the color of one's bowhair from white to black.

    If I was using a hard, powerdery rosin, maybe I'd see value in thinner, more delicate bowhair - more surface area for the rosin to adhere to. For soft, sticky rosin, though, I'll take that black ropehair!
  7. contrabajisimo

    contrabajisimo Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    How long does it usually take to rehair a bow by a luthier and how much does this cost? I have a piece of crap bow for 40$ and it already lost half of its hair in a month. Is it possible to rehair cheap bows? Thanks.
  8. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I got my bow rehaired over the weekend. I ended up getting talked into staying with the white hair after elasticity got brought up and discussed. I think they used some kind of codeword like "Siberia" or something.

    I'd love to talk about price, but I can't seem to get past the market sensitivity police.
  9. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    I bet it's "Mongolia"... finest bow hair is supposed to come Mongolia.

    Rehair: 30 to 50$ ballpark

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