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bow weight

 
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Mat Roop
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Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 839
Location: Wyoming Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:55 am    Post subject: bow weight Reply with quote

A long distance family member sent me 2 bows to rehair.. one is his favorite the other he uses as a backup but says it is too light. 

I thought I could adjust the too light one with either making the tip heavier or a heavier finger grip, but now that I have the bows in hand, I am puzzled....

The stats below are  lighter bow vs favorite...

lighter bow is actually heavier 61gm vs 60 gm

tension of the hair is 6.6 vs 5.7 kg

balance point to forward edge of frog is 187 vs 181mm

To me the "lighter" bow should in fact feel heavier???

Trying to decide what to do to make the "lighter" bow feel more like the favorite bow.... Thoughts?

Thanks for your help!... Mat
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rs
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Joined: 14 Jan 2009
Posts: 188
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When most players speak about weight, I pretty much interpret this as how the frog end feels to them. They generally aren’t talking about overall weight like we do on our end. I kind of had to learn that the hard way and undo what others had taught me in years gone by.

I watched players pick up a bow and in bow-playing position simply move their bow hand up and down in midair and assess the weight. What it appears to me is that they are comparing the frog to the tip. If the frog feels heavier compared to tip than they are used to, they tend to assess this as heavy and vice versa. That would translate on our end to balance point. Closer to frog, heavier bow, closer to tip, lighter bow.

Because I live far from most of my clients, when they ship me a bow (and the couple of times they have complained about a bow that is light, or the apparent synonym, unbalanced), heavier winding has done the trick. Keep in mind, this is only on a few bows as I mostly make violins, but I have started making and restoring bows as well as I need any work I can get.

I know that a few shops really pay attention to this balance thing and shoot for a certain balance point using almost only winding thickness and length at the grip. One shop I know of stocks 5 different gauges of silver for this very purpose. I guess they view this as one of the few things they can do to a bow without changing its design or corrupting it somehow.

I read an article, I think by Charles Espey, that this weight idea only really came into vogue about mid 20th century and was the reason silver winding replaced silver over silk and whalebone, that is, to give a player a false sense of a heavier stick. That sounds like a reasonable explanation to me.

My guess is that by jumping up the wire thickness at the grip, another half gram of silver m/l would drop the balance point closer to the frog and make the “light” bow feel like the “heavy” bow even though now it would be almost 2 grams heavier. That is what I would try doing, anyway.

By the way, a few months ago I bought some French tinsel from Lemuel violins and I like it a lot. I intend to use this silver on silk on a future bow I will make along with about 1 gram less of hair and pick up the 3 grams lost in weight between the two with a heavier stick. Silver on silk is about half of the weight of silver. I originally intended to use it on a bow I made for a client but was afraid the balance point would be too high and make the bow appear light. Maybe I over thought it, though.
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Mat Roop
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Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 839
Location: Wyoming Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks rs...
well, I was thinking about the balance point too , and I had concluded that a bow that is lighter at the tip end would feel heavier because the tip end would not be lifting the frog end over the fulcrum which would be either at the strings while playing or at the thumb grip when held off string.

In any case, the favorite bow had a balance point of 181, so to the "light" bow I added 1.4 gm of fishing sinker into the mortice of the frog which brought the balance point to 181... same as the "favorite" ... hope he likes it!

Thanks for sharing your experience! ... cheers, Mat
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