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Splitting hairs

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by reedo35, Aug 8, 2000.

  1. Question: How do different types of bow hair affect your sound? White, bleached or unbleached, salt and pepper, or black.I've always been told that black was the strongest, but no one ever said if it sounded any different.

  2. Don't ever used bleached hair, it's only been bleached to trick you into thinking it's real white hair. The bleach weakens the hair considerably. Black hair has a little more grab but the sound is rougher than with white hair. What the white hair makes up for in a smoother sound, it loses with a little less grab. Salt and pepper is a little white and a little black, it's supposed to be a compromise. I use white hair. IMO the sound is so much better and the slightly less grab can be compensated for with technique.

    I've seen silver hair. It's supposed to be fantastic, but I have no experience with it.
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Remember to consider the rosin, which also contributes to the bow's "grab". Like David, I use white hair on my orchestra bass. As everyone knows, Spirocores and other pizz strings are scratchy under a bow. Quite by accident, I found my best response on my jazz bass came with black hair and very little rosin.
    Incidentally, International Violin Co., of Baltimore, sells what they call grey hair in addition to black and white. I don't know if this is the silver that David mentions. And, if you're sitting down, somewhere I've seen bow hair available in blue and green. Bottom line is, deal with a reputable bowmaker. You can get a rehair from one of the finest in the USA for less than $50 plus shipping.

  4. That's the stuff, grey hair. It's supposed to be from
    some Australian breed of horse. I believe generally the
    hair used for bows is from a Mongolian breed. I think the use of Australian grey hair is fairly new.

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