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Upgrading from Finale CF bow

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by SeaMist_au, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
    Hi everyone. When I started playing the DB I was playing almost totally pizz, using arco mainly for learning tonal accuracy on scales. The last few months I find myself 'wanting' to play arco more and more and practicing to the point where my playing actually sounds at least half good lol.
    I am playing a Jay Haide parnormo with velvet animas.
    On the lower strings arco is sounding smooth and beautiful. On the upper register of the g string I have to be very careful to keep it together to avoid some pretty horrible sounds, although I improved the sound by giving my adjustable bridge a very slight tweak on the g string end. Even sounding ok, it lacks depth and complexity, unlike the E to D strings. My bass on E to D is powerful, complex and just wonderful, although not articulate. Hope I am painting the right picture.
    The question I have:
    Is this just because my technique is not yet up to scratch.
    Do I have a problem due to the Anima G string itself.
    Would I be assisted by upgrading my bow, which I am tempted to do anyway.

    If upgrading the finale, I was thinking of a Coda Infinity. Or maybe a good wooden bow. Or nothing until I can play better lol. I'm simply not sure.
    Your thoughts would be deeply appreciated.
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Almost certainly yes.

    Very unlikely a problem with the string. The answer could be had easily - have an experienced arco player play your bass and ask if they find anything funny about your G string.

    If that was the case, I'd be spending beaucoup $$$ on a bow. :)

    All kidding aside, one of the classic tests for me, throughout an entire lifetime of buying various instruments, has been whether or not I can hear a difference in my own playing. If I were you and I wanted an absolute answer to the upgrade-or-not question, I'd take my bass into a shop and ask to try some bows. In my case, I'm confident a $1500 bow isn't going to sound noticeably better than the $250 bow I now play. I wish that wasn't the case, but that's my test. My personal opinion is that you have to earn a hardware upgrade like a better bass or a better bow, even if you can afford the money.

    Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

  3. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012

    Thanks for the advice. I'll hand it over to my teacher for a checkout in the upper register. I have noticed the pizz is a bit 'tight' up there as well. Anything above say 'D' in thumb position is an issue. I did play right up to the end of the fingerboard today (arco) but I was being very carefully and like I say, it's constrained up there.
    I had other advice to take the whole thing to the local luthier for a check up. I'll do that too.
    And I'll try a couple of bows while I'm at it to see if there is any difference. I'm not sure that he has a wide choice but I'll ask.
    Thanks again.
  4. ethnotime


    Sep 24, 2006
    New York, NY
    Nice to find this thread as I just upgraded from a Finale CF bow myself in September. I've had the Finale bow for almost two years and I wanted to get a little more serious about my bowing so I decided to invest in a decent bow. I ended up buying a wood bow (Marco Raposo) and it's awesome. The sound difference is quite noticeable and bowing is generally so much easier, I'm definitely not working as hard to get a sound. I did try some other bows, including the Metropolitan Cf and some other similarly priced bows but I decided that a good wood bow was worthwhile.

    I'm not sure of your brand of bass, but if it's a good bass then you'll hear the difference in bows. When i was trying out bows I only had my Kay and all bows sounded pretty terrible to my ears (probably my own playing!). Anyway, I highly recommend going for a good wood bow. I don't how serious you are about bowing, but it makes such a difference. I can't even use the Finale CF anymore, it's my backup now.

    Good luck.
  5. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Denver, Colorado
    The anima g is wrapped in Tynex, so it's not going to bow like the all copper windings on the lower strings. You might want to try a set of blues, which have consistent windings on all four strings and and bow nice, IMO.
  6. My Garbo D looks like it has some plastic wrapping as well and it bows all right. I must say that the tone of these strings is way different from what you'd expect from regular bass strings. For more modern sound you need strings like d'addario or Pirastro IMHO
  7. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012

    Thank you for that. I am getting serious about bowing. I really want to get closer to 50/50 arco vs pizz. I have to admit that the poor sound beyond thumb position is holding me back from exploring that area of the bass completely. Plus the community ensemble I play with doesn't challenge me up there, which at the moment is really a good thing lol. Yes, the problem could be me, and I'm sure ( actually absolutely certain) that my technique needs a lot of improvement, but it's just so obvious a transition from ' bit of a squeak ' occasionally on the G to 'what the' an octave up that I'm suspecting my problems there might easily also be affected by setup ( my G is low), the anima G ( which others have commented on regarding bowing difficulty) or some combination of all of the above. Can't get hold of my teacher for a bit so I'm taking it to the luthier next week for a checkup.
    On the bow upgrade I have heard exactly what you just said from another source. I'm hoping the luthier might have a selection to compare. Locally (Australia) apparently J. E. Ellender has a good reputation. I know I would like to try one.
  8. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012

    Thank you. I just knew there was some kind of difference. You can feel it. I was thinking of replacing the G with an Oliv G, or maybe changing strings altogether. I'm sure the luthier will be able to suggest something. Even if it's get 1000 more lessons lol.
  9. I would be glad, because it means you save $1,250. :smug:

    I've been away from DB for awhile but agree--technique is key. And different strings are going to sound different in different registers--you may have to train your ears to accept that what they are hearing is actually OK after all.
  10. I'd say you need to get your instrument set up in a more arco-friendly way before you start worrying about the bow... Finales are pretty decent, whereas Animas are not very good arco strings, and mismatched strings is far more obvious with the bow anyway. Pizz strings also tend to sound awful above the octave arco. Also, arco shows up any little deficiencies in the setup far more than pizz does.

    I'd suggest a) getting your setup bang on for arco and b) getting some better strings... spirocore solos, evah pirazzi, even Corellis, and seeing how that changes things.

    Bows actually don't make a gigantic difference, in my experience. Certainly, it's not worth spending much more than $1000, and may not even be worth $350, until you have everything else sorted out first. Strings and setup will get you far more for your money, as if you upgrade your bow you're just going to find that you still need to do the strings and setup anyway. Bear in mind, I played 13 years in a professional orchestra on the same bow that cost me the equivalent of about $200 in the mid-80s (which would be about $1000 now), and I didn't upgrade until a crack in the stick forced me to. I did spend quite a bit on setup and TLC in that time (but not on strings, as the spiros I had on there were perfectly fine to start with).
  11. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I agree that you should get your bass checked out by a luthier. I'm not very familiar with Animas. I have heard of Olivs and Eudoxas as Anima alternatives, and they are more bow friendly. Evahs are pretty well known as a crossover string, and wouldn't be the farthest departure sound wise. Spiros would be, especially if you get a brand new set. I play Velvet Compas 180's on my top two strings and love them under the bow. They are pretty good pizz too, with less twang than a lot of steel strings, but they don't have as much THUMP as some other options. I would try something like the Evahs, because if you're planning on a 50/50 bow/pizz split, you don't want to go with full out orchestra strings.

    For bowing beyond the D in thumb position, even those of us very comfortable with arco and a bass set up for it can sometimes struggle to get the sound we want up there. The bass is not forgiving in that range and although "arco" strings, a proper setup, and a good bow can definitely be factors, your technique is really dictates your sound. Relax. It can be challenging to do so as you likely are significantly altering your posture to reach that part of the bass. Even if you are stretching, you should not be excessively tense. A lot of the unfortunate sounds that happen up there are because of being tense/locked joints/over extending etc. to reach, and then the bad technique that happens as a result. If you do have access to a teacher who is comfortable with that part of the bass, then have some lessons up there. If not, focus on playing scales, long tones etc. to really get a feel for how different it is from the rest of the instrument.

    Upgrading bows? Andrew pointed out that a bow isn't going to be a miracle cure. I disagree that "bows actually don't make a gigantic difference" because I have played some pretty fantastic bows and heard/felt some pretty huge differences. I play a lot of classical music with the bow, and have studied it extensively. When you are coming to it as mostly a jazz player hoping to get to 50/50 bow/pizz, you likely won't experience night and day changes between bows. There will be some differences especially if you are switching from CF to wood, but a Sartory doesn't make technique issues disappear. An upgrade right now likely isn't the best idea.

    How recently was your bow rehaired? If it has been longer than a year, or you are using the hair that was on it when you bought it (often bows have old/bad hair on them right from the start) then I would suggest a rehair. The Finale bow will serve you well to build arco technique, and after your technique develops, you will be in a better position to take advantage of the improvements an upgrade will provide.
  12. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    The amount of difference an upgraded bow makes is crazy man. I thought i was going to be terrible forever, then i got my new bow. Wow what a difference.
  13. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
    Perhaps now is a good time to rephrase. I'm definitely getting setup etc looked at. I will at some stage check out some bows to see if there is a difference at all and yes, a rehair is probably due first anyway.

    So I'll rephrase the question. If you *were* going to upgrade a finale what would you upgrade it too.
  14. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    French or German? Everything below works for either, but might change the responses of others.

    There was a French Prochownik in the Classifieds that is in Australia going for a complete bargain. If it is still available, it would be a crime not to try it. He makes wonderful bows at a great price, even if you're shopping new. Tom Owens used to get a lot of praise around here as well, but lately seems difficult to contact? He makes pretty nice bows for a great price.

    Other than the two guys above (I'm probably missing a one or two others) the handmade market tends to take off around $2500+ CAD/USD (sorry) which might be outside of your budget. Your other options are higher end shop/factory bows like Marco Raposo, Dolling, Knoll, Pfretzschner, etc. The availability of the above, or other similar options will be entirely dependent on the shops you have access to and what they carry. To upgrade instead of "side-grade" from the Finale, you are looking at wood bows around $600+

    I think a great bow is always a great idea. With good technique, it can make a big difference to your sound, but also open up possibilities that your previous bow might not have. I am sorry I used "miracle cure", but we do get a lot of people who are looking for just that. I would still recommend a rehair for your Finale as it will make it a much better bow for you to use now, and make it easier to sell if you don't plan on keeping it as a backup.

    Best of luck on your hunt!
  15. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
    German for me. I tried both French and german holds when I was looking for my first bow. The German hold seemed to be more arthritis friendly. As an aside I was told the other day that Melbourne ( where I live) tends toward German, while Sydney tends towards French. The Climate? Conservative Melbourne vs Lively Sydney? Who knows. My budget is up to $2000. In Australia there are three shops known for specialising in Basses. The bass shop in Sydney, with a wide range advertised, Atelier Puglisi in Melbourne advertises a few although the selection seems small, and the bass works in Adelaide. That's it really here.
    All conveniently at least a long days drive apart. For some reason I didn't think of the classifieds. I don't think they are bristling with bass bows or even worthwhile basses but your right, I should be checking them.
  16. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I would definitely look into Prochownik. I own one of his German bows, and have several colleagues that have both German and French bows by him. One of the German players liked both bows that he sent to him on trial so much he bought both of them. A French player I know is trying to sell his Sartory, because he likes the Prochownik that much. I am sure there are others here that would have great things to say about him, and he really does dominate that price range.

    Otherwise, see what the shops have to offer. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't, but try as many as you can. Don't settle until something really grabs you. It can be tough when you want to upgrade NOW, but you will be much happier down the road taking a little longer to hunt for "the one".
  17. I also suggest that you consider getting your Finale bow rehaired. I have this bow and I do not think it is lacking.

    You also should be able to "audition" bows. I know that Lemur Music does this by sending out several bows for audition. Probably other shops do this as well. By spending a week or more with a new bow, I would think many of your questions would be answered.
  18. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
    Luthier (Ben Puglisi) tells me fingerboard is slightly warped, which explains at least part of the issue. Also getting the Animas replaced with Evah Pirazzi's. When I collect it I'll check out the bow.
  19. SeaMist_au


    Aug 28, 2012
    Final update. Fingerboard planed again........hopefully settling down soon. It's the damnable Melbourne (Australia) weather. Anything from a month of freezing and rain to a month of heat wave and fire.
    Love the Evah Pirazzi's , Bowing complex and articulate vs growly with the Animas.
    With the new setup I trialled an Ary vs a Dorfler vs a Man D Eugen vs a Roth. Roth and Eugen were about the same price ( 1500 AUD) The Ary and Dorfler were about the same price ( 1000 AUD). All against the finale. Compared to all of the above the finale was loud but a bit.......I'm looking for the words and failing lol......maybe a bit crude?.....compared to the others.
    The Ary had too 'light' a sound for my taste. The Dorfler sounded nicely complex. I tried the Eugen, it was similar to the Dorfler but at the same time more complex, and slightly more articulate. The Roth just didn't work for me, very articulate but in my hands lacking complexity.
    So I bought the Man D Eugen, continuing a long (well not that long) tradition of buying instruments etc that no one has ever heard of lol. The Jay Haide really is a nice bass BTW.......just wish that ebony fingerboard would settle down a bit.

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