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How long's your hair?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Rob Knight, May 22, 2005.

  1. I found a similar thread to this in the archives but it didn't help me completely.

    I have been playing since Easter with a French bow that came with my bass. I have just bought a German pattern bow, mail-order off the web. Anyway, the French bow has 56cm (22") of hair whilst the new German has only 49.5cm (19.5") of hair. I read in another thread that German bows were often longer.

    So, two questions:

    1. Is the German bow unusually short?

    2. Would having a shorter bow be a big disadvantage?

    Oh, and I have e-mailed the shop to make sure they haven't sent me the wrong bow by accident.

    Many thanks,

  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    A professional Grade French Bow has about 21" of playing Hair +/- 1/2". I have seen some cheaper German made French Bows that were longer as well as Custom made Bows that might be 22" or more.

    I don't have a German Bow here to measure but I would guess it to be at least 21-22" or playing hair Length. You may have a 3/4 sized student Bow there!
  3. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    My main bow has a playable hair length of just over 24" with a gap of 1.5-2" between hair and stick. This is a frech bow by the way, it gets a huge sound.
  4. Guys,
    thanks for your replies on the size issue.

    Do either of you, or anyone else, have a view on how much of an issue this will be. My first lesson isn't until the 8th June, so I'm a bit short on advice until then.

    I hope to be able to exchange it for a proper sized one but may have to live with it.


  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I don't think it's the worst thing in the world, but I do know that it would drive me nuts. If they were out there, I'd play the longest bow that I could reasonably handle.

    IME, one of the more difficult bowing fundamentals to master is getting a good, strong sound on long tones, especially at slower tempos. The slower the bow, the harder it is. If you are cheated out of 3" of hair, you'll have to slow the bow that much more and work that much harder.

    I would make every effort to get a full-sized bow if possible. You won't regret it in the long run.
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    24" sounds VERY Long for a French Bow and even long for a German Bow. It the hair a bit stretched from age?.. A newly rehaired Bow will be just slighty tught when the Frog touches the Grip. If it goes more than 1/4" from the grip when you tighten the Bow then it needs to be rehaired. This will also throw off the 'intended' balance of the bow.

    I have one other Bow Stamped Pfretzschner (French style) and it is about 22" just befor I tighten it. This feels Long to me and is only a spare practice Bow.
  7. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    The bow is basically a modified baroque bow that I had made for me. I wanted a longer hair length primarily for experimentation and I find it works well as a concerto bow and as my main bow for free improv.
  8. My German brazilwood bow from Bob G. has 57.5 cm. of hair not counting the part that is on the tip. The fiberglass bow I had originally was about a half inch shorter. My bowing instructor actually uses a much shorter German bow than mine with a frog of somewhat reduced depth. His bow is pretty awesome so I don't think length is the most important quality in a bow. The important thing to be aware of is what the fractional size is when you buy it. The 4/4 ones are the longer ones.

    If this is your first bow, depending on how much you have invested in it, if you think you would prefer a longer bow try to find one you can pick up and just see if it feels better and then maybe trade up. It shouldn't slow you down on the fundamental stuff to play with a 3/4 size bow for a week or so more.

    I like the longer bow better myself and I think it gives you a longer sweet spot with power in the center area. One disadvantage is that it is heavier and one advantage also is that it is heavier.
  9. That sounds like an interesting bow. Do you have any photos?
  10. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    Yeah Sure, Ill sort some out in a day or so and post them!
  11. Ashley Long

    Ashley Long

    Jan 3, 2004
    Here, as requested, are some photos of my bow. The stick is made of snakewood with African Blackwood fittings. The weight is 123grams. [​IMG]
  12. It turned out to be a labelling error. I've just received a full size bow through the post with a full 22" of hair.

    Order restored! Now back to Simandl
  13. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    While I remain a traditionalist at heart, (short back and sides), I have been letting my hair grow of late. I find that head and shoulders is essential to keep my hair clean. Because I'm worth it.
  14. lownotes02


    Jan 19, 2005
    Melbourne, Fl
    As a former metalhead circa 1986, I used to keep it shoulder-length and would wash daily with Alberto VO5. I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on.....
    Now that Im turning 40, I find that my once luxurious mane is now receding at a rather alarming rate, so Ive sported a goatee (as most balding guys do) to make up for what Ive lost on top. I also find that facial hair helps to camoflauge the gruesome expressions I make while playing a difficult passage.

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