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Is my bow balanced wrong?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by SirFunk, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    I currently have a bow that I picked up from a small music shop somewhere on Long Island run by an older Italian man. (From what he said, i take it he grew up in Italy working in instrument shops).

    Anyway, the more I play, I'm finding this bow VERY uncomfortable to play. It feels very heavy. A fellow bass student of mine, got a Bob Gollihur german bow, that feels about 1/2 as heavy, yet it still feels sturdy (and it was much cheaper).

    Also, i think the balance point of the bow is WAY off. If i try to balance the stick over my finger, the balance point is maybe an inch and a half PAST the wrapping. That is, maybe 2 1/2 inches past where my index finger lays. I feel like as i bow the bow slips out of my hand and i have to grip with my thumb to hold on to it... this causes a fair ammount of pain.

    This bow cost me about $500, I think it was used, it's marked with Schicker (i think, it's hard to read the last 2 letters) on the side. As well as germany on the bottom of the stick. If i look around (lemur) new shicker bows seem to be VERY good/expensive bows. this bow is pernembucu, or that's what i was told atleast, and it's french grip. Mine looks a little differnet than the Shickers on lemur, there is much less inlay on the bottom other than that it looks similar.

    I'm wondering... where do other peoples bows balance? Is mine seriously wrong? Sould i invest (poor college student) in a new bow? Where i live there are not any bow shops nearby, I woould probably have to drive 2+ hours to get somewhere that might have a small selection.

    I would love a sue lipkins bow, but i don't have $4k to spend. Maybe it would be worth sending my bow to Sue to get it re-haird and i don't know if she can do anything for balance, short of cutting a new frog?

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    The balance point sounds right. It sounds like you have a more technique related issue. I can't really help you with your bow hold without seeing it in person but I will recomend a copy of Francois Rabbath's Art of the Bow DVD. It does a fantastic job of demonstrating good bow technique and a lot of basics as well.

    One way to drastically improve the comfort of your bow is to get a piece of rubber tubing to put on it. This can be bought here http://www.slavapub.net/catitems/strings.html

    Its one of the best 2$ you'll ever spend.
  3. Check this out:
    sounds like your bow is tip heavy. Did the old guy give it to you for a trial period, or did you just buy it outright without playing it on a Bass ? And if so, why?
    (BTW, I hear Susan is charging upwards of 5K now, and there is quite a wait for one.)
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    My bow's balance point is about 5 and 1/4" from the frog. It feels just right to me. If you are letting the weight of the bow sit on the string it shouldn't feel heavy. Do you know how much it weighs in grams?
  5. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE

    Well, he did give a trial period, i'm sure it's over by now. I've had the bow more than a year. I was on vacation when i bought it (since there isn't a single place that sells bows within 2-3 hours drive from me) I didn't have my bass with me, I tried the bows he had out on a bass he had in his shop. At the time i liked it more, I don't think i really knew the difference back then. But yeah, i agree it feels tip heavy, i gotta weigh this thing and figure out if it's atleast normal weight, I really should get a bow rubber too.

  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    First off, a Lipkins Bow is currently $5,500. and a 3 year wait. I spoke to Sue about a month ago and this is current info. I orderd one a year ago with a 2 year wait at $5k.

    On the Balance, it will not be easy for you to judge yet as a new player. As you get better and play more demanding Orchestra Music, the Bow that feels heavy now may be the better stick. The Bow that feel good now may be too light. I went thru this a few years ago when I started back playing again. The Bows that felt good then now feel too light and the one heavy one I have now feels great and is my Bench mark for every Bow I test.

    I think your $500. bow may be the better of the two you mentioned. If you add a rubber Grip over the the current one (tubing) this will make it feel lighter and bounce easier.
  7. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    Yeah, i have talked with my teacher many times. To him my bow grip looks fine.

    The rubber might help, since, the leather/metal grip doesn't do much, the leather is very hard, and my hand feels like on every up bow it slides farther and farther out on the stick, thus i have to squeeze with my thumb to keep it in place.

    Guess i'll be ordering a bow rubber tonight :p
  8. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    My teacher told me that the latex tubing is used as a cushion for the first finger when you pronate your arm to apply more bow pressure.