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Vegan Bass Bows and Hair.

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by pierce, May 11, 2006.

  1. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    i am relatively new to double bass, and while i have been able to do some research, the specific answers i'm looking for continue to escape me.

    i am looking for a cheap vegan bow. by vegan i mean that nothing that the bow was constructed with was done so at the expense of an animals comfort or well being. i have approximately $150 to spend, and i am looking to buy in the next month.

    i like bob g.'s brazilwood bows, i believe they have a real leather grip, and possibly a bone tip, and therefore i am precluded from buying them. i am thinking that this leaves me with the glasser bows (i am assuming it has the leatherette grip as their website states). i am guessing the carbon fiber bow would be better than the fiberglass.

    its pretty clear about how ppl on tb feel about synthetic hair, and i would probably agree, but my conviction towards animals holds sway.
    does anyone have any positive comments about synthetic hair (like hervex).

    i would like to assume that the hair is collected humanely, and the animals are not taken advantage of just for a profit. however, i can find no evidence one way or the other. what i know so far , or at least what i have read, is that hair is mostly collected from living horses in various parts of the world, but is also taken from slaughterhouses in china. i would like to find out how the hair is taken from the living animals, AND if it is humanely done, if there is a way to discern that hair from the slaughterhouse strands.

    can anyone shed any light on all of this, possibly with a personal experience, link, book reference, etc.


    Phil Goodson likes this.
  2. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I still have a corduroy bow quiver from when I was young and idealistic....
    I have read that most quality hair comes from stallions in mongolia and siberia (the mares urinate on their tales which makes the hair too brittle) a wood or carbon bow would be fine with quality hair.
    What are you going to do about the horses hide glue holding the bass together? Lastly, where are you going to find the strength to pull the strings on a vegan diet?
    My advice is to have a nice thick steak, maybe some bacon and eggs, relax and just use what ever sounds best.
  3. Gary Peacock still eats a macrobiotic diet (= vegan to the Nth degree) and he's doing fine. :D
  4. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca

    actually, i am more of your gorilla variety vegan. as far as the glue goes, i came to terms with it. i bought an older bass that was not directly supporting a manufacturer who still IS using that glue. i know thats an end run around it, :bag: but im not even sure if i could get around the glue issue by using an eub instead. i might even have to request "white glue" on any future repairs and take the hit on the resale value. (im hoping by then we will have a better option). im also not a "tone at all costs" kind of guy.

    but alas, these vegasophical discussions could go on all day.;)

    your corduroy quiver sounds cool. i havent found a non-leather one yet i figured i would have to make it myself.

    by the way, i dig your website. i need to stop by there when i have more time and listen to the samp's.
  5. Maybe one of the cheaper glasser bows? Mostly made of some type of plastic/fiberglass.

    Leather? I doubt it.

    My only question is the horse hair. I don't think the horses are killed to get the hair, I may be wrong but . . .

    By the way Vegetarian closer to Vegan for 3 years, no steak or milk and yet I am built like a gorrila. There are more on TB as well.

    Good Luck

  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    You would rather have a piece of crap Bow than a real one where we killed an Elephant, Horse, Oyster and burned down half of Brazil and Africa for the woods not to mention the hollowing of the earth mining the silver and pollution and green house effects?

    Geezee.. Give me a Sartory already..

    By the way, Fiberglass and synthetics are made by polluting the air and earth in the manufacturing process.

    Why not just be a Singer?

    How will the Bass be made you play this 'save the whales' bow on?

    Don't forget the rosin making and all the trees cut down to make paper to print the music with chemicals to make ink!

    How will you transport the Bass, on a Horse?
  7. suffice it to say that was insensitive.
  8. Arnold

    Arnold Supporting Member

    I don't know anything about your bow hair question, but bow wise, I think my CF carbon fibre bow is all man made, and compares to bows costing real money. Mr Smith's post, while insensitive raises interesting issues, the fact may be that it may not possible to be a vegan and a double bassist.
    Good Luck.
  9. Sure, it's possible--play a carbon-fiber or aluminum bass with a carbon-fiber bow strung with synthetic hair. Talk about an untraditional sound, though...
  10. Hey Ken he said $150 I understand your point but your presentation needs work. Crap on a plate with parsley is still crap.
  11. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    you could do with a 'without compromising a bit' caveat on that sentence. I'm a vegan and double bassist, seemingly one of several on this site. But yeah, I've compromised when it comes to the bass, and have horse hair and presumably hide glue. Got a homemade vegan quiver as well, but it doesn't work very well!
  12. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    What they all said. It's nice to have strong ethical beliefs, but you have to understand that you'll pay for them- in this case, pretty severely.

    If you have a bass repaired with something other than hide glue, you've essentially destroyed it. When the top or back moves it'll split instead of seperating, and no luthier is going to want to touch it. For that matter, no luthier proud of his or her reputation is going to reglue a bass with white glue.

    Of course, you've already compromised by buying the instrument in the first place; either you're true to your beliefs, or you're not. You can't be almost a virgin.

    Your only real alternatives are to buy a synthetic (fibeglass/carbon/aluminum) bass, and get a fiberglass haired bow (or maybe an Incredibow) and resign yourself to the fact that you're never going to get a really good organic sound.
  13. orlfl


    Jul 22, 2005
    Now THAT, my friends, is irony...
  14. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Sorry for the sarcasm Pierce, but I am from the Bay Area too. The bass is just not very P.C., It takes half a tree to make and uses more than one animal product to make it go even if you don't use gut strings.
    If you go to ifshun on univeristy in Berekely for your rehairs you can be pretty sure you are getting good hair. You will just not know where the hair on the bow comes from when you buy it.
  15. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    while all this posturing and ethical discussion has been fun, i still havent gotten a response to the actual questions.

    i will summarize for those who "cant see the meal for the tofu":
    * does anyone have any positive experience with synthetic hair?
    * does anyone know if the hair that is collected from living animals is done so humanely, and is there a way of discerning its origin (as opposed to coming from a slaughter house).
    * what is the best bow in the $150 range that doesnt have leather or bone in it, and is possibly enviro-friendly.

    we do the best we can. we continually raise our awareness, and commit to making choices that are difficult. Concession is not enjoyed, nor admired, but will become necessary to achieving our goals. We may not be able to control our compromises, but we will be able to control the degree. we strive not to be perfect, but to be better. - anon
  16. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca

  17. Arnold

    Arnold Supporting Member

    Sorry, but things in my world as this goes are black and white. Compromise really bothers me when done to accomodate oneself. I can figure out how to get hair without the animal even noticing, glue on the other hand is what it is, and for you to use the word "presumably" gives you a small back door out. Let's just say it. A horse died to make the glue that holds your bass together. Mine too. So, you can find a way to accept that there are holes in your own beliefs, or use words like "presumeably", or not bother correcting my posts when I've said something as truthful as I know how to say it. So, while I see your point and honor your opinion, for me the sentence stands as written.
  18. Arnold

    Arnold Supporting Member

    If you look at my first post, I think the CF carbon fibre are the best bows for 5 times the money they charge and fit in your budget. I've had mine all rehaired, and I don't know where you stand on cutting off old hair to get new etc, but the bows are great and I don't think there are animal parts anywhere.
  19. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    i appreciate the info.

    no worries. when i saw your location, and the personal information on your site, i realized that it was quite possible that you had vegan friends. i imagine you have had similiar discussions about veganism, and probably gave them crap about it too. :)

    as far as db goes, and the ethical issues raised here about the bass (albeit unsolicited), and ive resigned myself to being "as enviro-vegan as possible".
  20. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    actually, i did see that, and hadnt gotten around to asking you more about it (websites - etc)

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