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Testing Bows

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Shornick, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    I have tried to search a bunch of ways for things to look for on trying new bows and have read what information I could find. I am curious as to what exactly some of you are looking/listening/feeling for when auditioning new bows.
    I have played about two dozen over the last three plus weeks. Some sound great and dark, some are very full and loud and some just seem to speak easier than others. I have narrowed my choices down to two, one is dark but possibly seems to be missing some overtones, but plays and allows me to play extremly easy. The other is quite possibly the loudest bow I have played, thse sound is very full, could be a little darker but is still great sounding, but doesnt play nearly as easy as the first. With the extra effort put in, it does give back a lot more. Prices are not that different. Both of these bows are around $1000. Most of what I play is jazz/improv based music. The original projects I play with do require bowing on about 20% of the stuff.
    I did have an orchestra member play both bows for me on my instrument so that I could listen, the fuller one sounded amazing with his playing. He also feels that way. I guess I am wondering if maybe I had the bow rehaired it would work easier for me? I am not a bowing master, but have been in a number of community orchestras for years. I know the differences of sound in the wood and workmanship, but will it affect the ease of use too? Sorry for the rambling, getting ready to spend what to me is a good deal of bread and just checking for all opinions. You guys seem to have been around the block a few times. Thanks for any help.
  2. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    A problem answering you is that after writing at length about the qualities of the 2 bows, out of a clear blue sky you bring up rehairing one bow.
    The decision is yours, no one else's. You have to assign values to the qualities of each, do a column A and column B and pick what offers the most of what you want. We can't do that.
  3. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    Thanks for answering Don. I guess I was talking myself through it all as I was typing. I have made the decision on the fuller sounding bow, and was really close to that even when I wrote on here. I guess I was also curious as to what qualities everyone looks for when trying new bows.
    The rehairing idea came from the bow not gripping as easily as others. I know that changing the hair will alter the sound but I have always thought that most of the tone comes from the stick and not the hair. So since the bow sounded so good with a true professional playing it and sounded good with myself digging in a little more than I am used to, I thought that maybe some new hair might make it grip a little easier. Guess I was curious if anyone has had a bow that even haired well and rosined up, was hard to get to grip? Guess this shows my lack of knowledge on bows. Thanks again.
  4. Any bow being sold by a dealer should be freshly rehaired. The best way I've found to choose between two or three bows is to simply borrow them, and play each in every setting you play in for a week or two, while soliciting the opinions of every other bass player you meet. After that, you should have a pretty good idea which one you really want.

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