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trouble with a new bow

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Kevin Gordon, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. I just rented a bass and the bow that they gave me with it is brand new. But I cannot seem to get a good tone on it, this is not because of teqnique (I can get it with the bow at school). The sound is often raspy and dead. It gets a little better when I put some rosin on it but only lasts a few minutes. Is this the new bow, a crappy bow, the bass, or dead strings?
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    If you're globbing on lots of rosin without much results, the bow might need to be rehaired. Or, the bass may have strings on it that are not arco-friendly.

    Sorry, just noticed you said brand new...I've played new bows with synthetic hair that were pretty useless, so the rehair thing may still apply if that's the case.
  3. If you're getting some sound some times, don't blame the strings or the bass. As Marcus with the Johnson says, it sounds like you have cheap synthetic bow hair which lacks the miniscule ridges, found in horsehair, which hold the rosin.
    If you want a reference for a rehair by a top bowmaker, about $60, e-mail me.
  4. the hair might also just need some breaking in, and to build up some rosin. I find that my new bow hair plays funny for the first week or two, until it has absorbed enough rosin and soort of straightened itself out. Also, what kind of rosin are you using? I assume with a rental it's a french bow... I don't play french any more but when I did Pops rosin seemed to work well. I use carlson now on my German bows.
  5. I'm using the pops stuff and it has been only about a week since I started using it. Its very fustrating because I want to work on my bowing but I cant play with it for long periods of time anymore. I have also noticed that the bow takes a lot of force to make a decent sound.
  6. if you play every day, I'd say give it one more week and see if it gets better. If not, get the thing rehaired. ;)
  7. BassZen -- I've been there. Typically the bows they give with rentals have synthetic hair, which doesn't grip as well as real horsehair (I believe Don Higdon mentioned this earlier). But also, rental basses often come with inexpensive strings that require a lot of bow pressure.

    The cheapest thing to try is to rehair the bow (although you don't own the bow, it still may be worth it if it gets you better sound and makes practice more enjoyable).

    I had a rental with crummy strings of unknown origin and a cheap bow with synthetic hair. It gave me exactly the same problems you described. After about ten months I bought a bass and bow with real hair and decent strings on the bass (Helicore Arco strings). It made lots of difference (although presumably my daily practicing and lessons helped even more!). Good luck.
  8. its starting to get better, but the D string is bad for arco. Oh well, I am planning to buy a bass by the end of the summer so I only have to put up with it for a few more months.
  9. I still say it's the hair. For gigs in noisy clubs full of drunks, I bought the cheapest fiberglass bow I could find, and then put in good horsehair (well, as good as horsehair can be when it's colored royal blue). The bow always gets a sound. And with all my technique, it sounds like, well, a cheap fiberglass bow with blue horsehair.:) Actually, it sounds OK.
  10. what in the world... It's actually blue? is it dyed or what? Or is it from a blue horse... Thats bizzarre!! :eek:
  11. www.kellerstrings.com
    Do not expect this to perform like unadulterated siberian or mongolian. Just a little show biz for me.
  12. Wow. I must say, it's different... ;)