Doh! - it was the hair.

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by rablack, Oct 25, 2001.

  1. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Note to newbie's from another relative beginner.
    I've had my DB for a year and half. I have been playing with the cheap fiberglass Glasser bow that came with the bass. I'll get a decent one some day. I was having slowing increasing trouble getting the strings to speak while bowing. After reading the various posts here (I'm on temporary hiatus from lessons for time and $ reasons) I tried the suggested fixes. First I loosened the hair a bit which helped. Then I switched from Pop's to Carlson's rosin which helped. I was getting frustrated and questioned my technique, my bow, my strings, my rosin. Finally when the bow just wouldn't grab in the middle third of its length it dawned on me... Maybe it's the hair?

    Just got the bow back from the luthier with new salt & pepper hair. What a revelation! Never even touched the rosin to it and the thing just grabs like crazy. I can do things I couldn't come near to doing before. I guess it's like when your car's brakes slowly fade - you just adjust - and when you finally get a brake job you realize how bad things had gotten.

    Bottom line, don't hesitate, re-hair.
  2. Hiya Rablack,
    I am glad to hear your good news. My bow is in the shop being rehaired as I speak. I chose Black hair suggested by my teacher. I hope I get the same results as you have. I have also ordered some Carlson`s Rosin and it should be in soon. I hope and pray the combanation of both hair and rosin will stop my......."strangled cat" sound. The hair on my bow is the same that come on it so I`m looking forward to hearing good hair. The Threads here that talk of new hair all say it makes a huge differance. Good luck in your studies.

    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off;)
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I recently had my old French bow rehaired with black hair, and I like it quite a bit. That said, I also picked up a good quality but inexpensive wood bow (brazilwood/ebony) with white hair and it feels great as well. There are various grades of hair which can also make a difference.

    BTW, I was able to snag a couple more of those wood bows if anyone is interested; French only. I bought one as a reasonably priced upgrade from my Fiberglas bow, for hazardous duty use when I found out my old student bow is now worth about $500.
  4. Hello Bob,
    I`m glad to hear you had good luck with black hair. You said there is different grades of hair. I know there is higher grade white hair but I have never heard of black hair coming in different grades. Do they? My luthier and teacher stay pretty busy so I wont get my bow back till next week but he gave me his bow to use till I return. I know understand why he was so egar to give up his bow. He just rehaired it.Soooo, I get to break it in for him, and then I get to break in my bow.....:rolleyes: All well.

    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off
  5. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Smart teacher. He is insuring that you practice. If he gets it back and it isn't broke in, he will know you haven't put in the time.:D

  6. jimclark68


    Dec 16, 2000
    Morganton, NC
    I recently did the same thing with my Glasser. I had similar difficulties - it was very difficult to get the strings to speak, even with an upgrade to Carlsson roisin. I have a friend who plays a bowed psaltery, which uses little hand-made bows that are about 12" long, strung with black hair. I tried bowing with one on my bass just for kicks and could not believe how nicely it played. The strings spoke immediately, no scratchy tone, overtones, anything. It took very little effort to play. So, I took my Glasser to the closest luthier for a re-hair. His only bit of black hair was old and he didn't recommend it. He had good salt/pepper hair, which is what he used. Brought it home, gave it a test-drive, and I'm having the same problems. A disclaimer: I have no illusions about 1) the quality of my bow, 2) the quality of my bass (Englehardt EM-1, Corelli 370TX), or 3) the quality of my playing. Lessons will begin after the holidays. What tips or other information is out there about breaking in new hair?
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I don't buy in to this notion of "breaking in" a rehaired bow. I've never not felt an immediate improvement in sound after a rehair, be it black or white, cheap fiberglass or very expensie pernambuco. And for laughs, I have bows with Kelly green and royal blue hair.
  8. I'm just the opposite, Don. I hate getting re-hairs. I've even put off getting re-hairs till I had certain gigs out of the way so I wouldn't have to play them with the new hair. The hair just isn't right until it's seen about 20-30 hours of of use.