35 votes

Why are modern string bows concave instead of convex?

It's a fun experience to play with a convex Baroque bow, but if you've ever tried to use it for anything romantic or later, you'll quickly want to get back to the concave Tourte design that everybody ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Should I loosen the tension on the bow for a break?

As a bowmaker, I would like to temper these answers a bit. Yes, if you leave a bow under tension too long, it will lose its camber (bend) faster. So that's true: one should get in the habit of ...
Scott Wallace's user avatar
21 votes

Should I loosen the tension on the bow for a break?

I'd add to Dr. Mayhem's list: You never know when something will interrupt your plans. You might be 20 mins into a planned 1-hour break, and then the doorbell rings, you welcome a friend, ... next ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Does the horse hair in a bow all go in the same direction?

As a bowmaker, I'd like to expand upon Carl's answer. The question of the scales seems to be answered by microphotographs of bow hair, which show all the scales to be gone once the hair is played in, ...
Scott Wallace's user avatar
15 votes

Does the horse hair in a bow all go in the same direction?

Not too hard to find some strong opinions from skilled luthiers. Here's what DavidFinck wrote in a blogpost. That’s a great question. Every hank I have received is knotted at the root end. The ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
14 votes

Should I loosen the tension on the bow for a break?

I would always loosen it off for that one hour break, for two reasons: Over time, tension will eventually damage the bow. Keeping tension on when you don't need to will just shorten the lifespan of ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
  • 36.9k
10 votes

Why are string bows so hairy?

Even if you angle the bow quite strongly, the entire breadth of hair does touch the string as soon as you put some pressure on the bow (the outermost hairs will get stretched and give way, i.e. the ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Why are all my bow hairs falling out?

They probably weren't secured very well at the tip (which is where I assume they were falling from) and when you pulled a couple out it freed a bunch of others. If half the hairs are gone it's time ...
James's user avatar
  • 106
8 votes

How does one change bow hair?

First off, I would seriously consider having it done by a professional. Violin bow rehairing can cost about $50 with cello and bass bows costing a bit more. Given that it is quite a skilfull operation,...
Jackalope's user avatar
  • 556
8 votes
Accepted

How to improve jerky bowing on the violin

If you really want to work on your bowing, do it without involving the left hand. If you are fingering notes, part of your mind will always be thinking about the left hand. By eliminating it, you can ...
Karen's user avatar
  • 6,451
8 votes

Why are modern string bows concave instead of convex?

If you trace the development of the orchestra, you'll see that there has been a shift toward larger groups in larger spaces between the baroque period and now. A natural consequence of this is that ...
Christopher Wolfe's user avatar
7 votes

How to improve jerky bowing on the violin

Long-tones. All the time. Extremely slowly. Always. Meditate on your open strings with long tones until they are perfect and serene and the bow only does what you want only when you want it. Long ...
jjmusicnotes's user avatar
  • 25.6k
6 votes
Accepted

How do I keep my E string from "squeaking"?

The E string whistle may be caused by many things, usually a technique issue with the bow, but there are some strings that are more likely to whistle. I've found that the gold plated unwound E strings ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
6 votes

How was the bow invented?

There are only two possible kind of vibrations with a string fixed at both ends: Plucking; the vertical impulse leads to a transversal vibration twisting, leading to a torsional vibration To get the ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 11k
5 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to "unbend" a warped bow of a string instrument?

Yes, a bow can be re-cambered, but it requires some skill and I wouldn't recommend trying it yourself (edit: unless it is a cheap bow you want to experiment on and don't care if you wreck it). When ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
5 votes

Why are modern string bows concave instead of convex?

Late in the day, but: The concave bow allows a lighter bow to be used for the same level of tension in the hair, because it reduces the torque over the majority of the stick's length (and particularly ...
george storm's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How long does a violin bow technique last?

The first thing to note is that "Sul Tasto" means something entirely different from "sul D", "sul A", "sul G", etc. "Sul Tasto" means "over the ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
4 votes

Why are violin bows longer than viola bows, than cello bows, than double-bass bows ?

It has more to do with the physical position of the arm and the instrument. A violin perched on a shoulder allows a longer bow stroke than a cello in front of the player's sternum. A cello player ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes

How do you hold a bow without getting finger cramps?

There may be multiple problems with your grip. You didn't say whether you're taking lessons or not, so I'll just emphasize that you need a teacher or an experienced cellist to look at your grip and ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
4 votes

String Instrument Bowings

You would play this as down-up-down-up for the first measure, and so on. Unless there are more bowing markings, then you would switch to what the markings tell you. Otherwise you can refer to the lone ...
Meredith's user avatar
  • 117
4 votes
Accepted

Is it time to replace my violin bow?

It might be. They do wear out in different ways. The wood could get worn out and leave it impossible to get the bow tension right. In this case it sounds like your bow hair is worn out. If your bow is ...
xerotolerant's user avatar
  • 2,658
4 votes

Is it accurate to tune with harmonics higher than the third harmonic on the double bass?

How high the harmonic is above the open string isn’t the primary issue, it’s the natures of the partials themselves. The 2nd partial harmonic an octave higher should be a true octave above the open ...
Pat Muchmore's user avatar
  • 18.3k
4 votes
Accepted

What range of violin bow hair tension is generally accepted?

The first thing to note is that you should slacken off the tension when you finish practice before you put the bow away to avoid long term damage to the bow and stretching of the hair. Before ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
3 votes

How do I keep my E string from "squeaking"?

Basically, yes. Unless you've got a duff E string. Or you might be using too much rosin. But basically, bow straight, in the right place, with the right amount of pressure. Your teacher will ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93k
3 votes

How to apply the right amount of rosin to a bow?

Well, Rule Number One is to make sure you wipe down your strings and your instrument after every session. Don't let rosin -- or anything else-- cake up on your axe. What little observation I've done ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
3 votes

What are the possible reasons of violin bow jumping?

Pay attention to: Bow hold -- watch this: Bow angle -- If your bow leans too far forward, you might be having control issues. Possibly most importantly, Bow Arm -- ...
General Nuisance's user avatar
3 votes

Bowed single string instrument with lever?

You seem to be talking about a Brownie Bass: a wooden box with a thick neck, similar in size to an upright bass. The single string is fastened at the butt, passes over a bridge, and the other end is ...
Don Fallick's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Bowed single string instrument with lever?

Made one! It's...pretty rough. And I don't have a bow. And it's harder to control than I hoped. And you guys are right; it only has about an octave of feasible ...
Erhannis's user avatar
  • 171
3 votes

Bowed single string instrument with lever?

As pointed out, a washtub bass is what you are thinking of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washtub_bass Though the most common way to play it is to pluck the string, I have seen it played with a cello ...
Sensii Miller's user avatar
3 votes

How to improve jerky bowing on the violin

Jerky bowing comes down to a lot of things. One thing is that the balance of the bow is strikingly different at the tip and the nut. At the tip, you put pressure on the bow with your index finger ...
user27354's user avatar

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