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Bow Budget Blues

Posted by bj on Thursday, January 29, 2009

The last time I went to the Bluegrass Jam and met Dee there, I tried her pernambuco bow. It was AMAZING. It just wanted to stay right on the strings, yet it was nimble as could be, with no jittery or nervousness about it, it let me control things about a dozen times easier than with either of my current bows. And the tone it pulled outta my little french fiddle was just so dang sweet!

Unfortunately I'm needing a better car a lot more than I need a third bow.

But . . .

Ever since I tried that bow I've just been so unbelievably dissatisfied with the two that I have, that it's disgusting. And up until then I wasn't unhappy, though I did feel that I'd eventually be trying bows again.

I'm wishing that I hadn't tried it. But if I hadn't tried it I wouldn't know how much better a bow can be.


Time to start saving up, I guess.

20 comments on “Bow Budget Blues”

Rene Says:
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @7:31:02 PM

Could you perhaps buy a second hand bike, and use your car money for a bow?. Not only would you have cheap reliable (assuming you have good knees) transportation, it would be better on the environment (go green), great for keeping heart healthy...gee girl you'd have it all :)

FiddleJammer Says:
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @7:38:27 PM

Have you had your bow(s) rehaired?

bj Says:
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @7:38:47 PM

LOL! That would work EXCEPT almost every jam I go to is at least a 20 minute's car drive away! I'd be killing a day to get there on a bike. And since I have the scarred knees that remind me how awful I was at bikeriding when I was a kid, well, I don't know if I wanna go there . . .

bj Says:
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @7:40:19 PM

No, I haven't had them rehaired. Last Steve looked at them, about 4 or 5 months ago, he said they looked fine. The Tabary bow is less than a year old. Would rehairing them make a difference?

Thursday, January 29, 2009 @8:17:51 PM

BJ, aren't you the owner of a coda bow? or am I confused about that? Just curious because if a coda bow owner is wanting a little better bow after a little while, well, that would be interesting information...

bj Says:
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @8:26:31 PM

Nope, never had a Coda. Own a Tabary Prism and a no name old brazilian wood bow that I believe is german.

ChickenMan Says:
Thursday, January 29, 2009 @9:48:51 PM

Reminds me why I don't drive my friends' sports cars - I don't want to really know what I am missing. :-)
Was the bow the same weight your used to? i have 4 or 5 bows and only really use one as it is light and I like that. The others came with fiddles and one is a fiberglass. One is nice and light, but warped bad...I say 4 or 5 because I think one case has two in it that are both unusable to me. None are pernambuco as far as I know - so I guess I don't know what I'm missing.
Better gear: it seem like a never ending pursuit.

Swing Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @4:42:44 AM

Welcome to the world of good bows.... when I got the opportunity to try a good bow, I was convinced that the world was good. I was playing an okay fiddle, so I went on a quest to find a good bow. It took me about five years to find one and then it came as a surprise and inexpensively at that. So don't give up, just keep looking and you will find one or more in places you least expect..... old pernambuco bows are out there and some of them are great..... may require a bit of touch up work and rehairing, but worth the effort.

Play Happy

bj Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @4:58:35 AM

Both my bows are fairly light, ChickenMan, with the tabary coming in around 60 grams, and the brazilwood slightly lighter. I don't know if this bow was heavier or lighter, though next I see Dee I can figure it out. And yes, better gear is a neverending pursuit, as is keeping our fiddles fit.

Swing, I really hope it doesn't take me five years! And I'm not necessarily aiming for Pernambuco, though that's what Dee's bow is. I'd take a fiberglass bow if it played the way hers does!

Swing Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @6:08:36 AM

bj..I have yet to play a composite bow, and I have played cheap and very expensive ones, that play like a pernambuco...... not such animal

Play Happy

FiddleCat Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @5:07:59 PM I feel bad. Ya know I do have a pernambuco here I do not use. It's a newer one, not old like the one you tried, but your welcome to give this one a try to. Take it home and give it till we meet up again the next time. If you like it we can discuss price at that time. I know your on a budget. I will bring it with me to the next Jam we go to. ( what date is that anyways )

I just pulled it out and gave it some rosin, tried it out on my fiddle. Sound is very good, it is a little heavier then the one you tried, and a little stiffer,but smooth and not scratchy. Hair is rather new, the frog is fully lined, mabey 30 hours on it, It may like your fiddle it may not. You may like or may not. Give it a shot.

bj Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @5:22:22 PM

Geez, Dee, don't feel bad! It's the way of humans to want what they can't have (at least not until the car situation is resolved!)

janepaints Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @9:47:12 PM

Hang in there, BJ......Tho it's impossible to know if my exeriences are common to others, I formerly fretted far more about many aspects of fiddle gear than I do now. I'd try great-sounding fiddles, bows or strings and begin to drool about getting the same. As my skills advanced: less drooling. My take on this syndrome is that skills can trump gear. I understand that learners desire anything that helps makes playing easier and smoother. I've had all those urges, many times, regarding many instruments. Happily, nowadays none of my gear is very fancy nor do I desire or daydream about upgrades as often as I once did. Which isn't to say that I'd reject better gear if any came my way--feasibly, LOL, just that nimbleness seems to've made things easier on the purse! Dispels various forms of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. As long as any instrument is capable of adequate sound & set-up, I seem to be able to get the sounds I need from it. As you know, I do have some basic preferences, but they're mostly physical, i.e. dreadnaught guitars are uncomfortable for me to hold and play, so I prefer smaller-bodied, lighter-weight ones. There was a time when I craved a pernambucco stick and so I got one! But the K. Holtz cheapies (which i accidentally stumbled) upon 'felt' better to me, so I sold the fancier stick. Too bad I don't still own it, since you're in the market. Maybe had I played a K. Holtz at an earlier point in my fiddle-skill-learning-curve, it wouldn't have felt as good? There's least one pernambucco stick in stock right now at the Lambertville music shop--dunno the price point tho. I've played it--it's a nice stick. Want me to inquire of the price?...there is another aspect, one which I've often experienced: the grass is always greener. I've bought so much gear that I'd convinced myself would Solve Everything. The Ultimate Guitar, #35, or THE amp...or THE fiddle. etc. Yet a bit down the line, 'dream gear' in hand, there I'd sit, producing the same ol' soggy sounds as before! Nowadays I still get those urges but have learned to wait as long as possible before acting upon them. Instead I keep on trying to play as best I can with what I already got. Makes it easier to buy them cans of black beans!

janepaints Says:
Friday, January 30, 2009 @9:54:37 PM

Oops, some anecdotes. Travis Wetzel is a world-class fiddler, has lotsa bows, lotsa fiddles. Yet one of his fave bows is some generic nothing-special thing gotten at the flea for $10 and another one he found in somebody's trash, a throw-away! For about 5 years my fave bow was a junker gotten for $5 at the flea, no grip, it only had about 50 hairs left, but dang was it comfortable and an easy-player. As I've said before, I think fiddling is VERY 'alchemical', with bows being, perhaps, the most-alchemical element of the fiddling equation. Essentially mysterious and magical. Few Universal Answers, little standardization or guidelines to go by. Nike oughta get in the fiddle racket, since fiddling often seems to embody their 'just do it' motto.

bj Says:
Saturday, January 31, 2009 @5:27:32 AM

Well, the plan is to go bow shopping when, and only when I have the bucks in the bank and can do what I wish. Delayed Gratification. Should be the mantra we all preach, given what's happened on Wall Street. I'm doing the same thing re a car, but I don't need anything special there, since I work mostly at home.

Maybe once I'm ready a trip down to Lambertville with my fiddles in tow will be in order.

FiddleJammer Says:
Sunday, February 1, 2009 @5:43:52 AM

Busk once a month and put that money away towards your bow fund. I know, you didn't ask for financial planning advice, but there ya have it. :-) And, you'll get more practice in.

bj Says:
Sunday, February 1, 2009 @5:53:14 AM

LOL! The way I play people will be stealing dough outta my pockets for subjecting them to my playing!

wormbower Says:
Monday, February 2, 2009 @8:39:51 AM

Maybe you can go out on a street corner and people will pay you big bucks to pack up and go home. [:D][;)]

bj Says:
Monday, February 2, 2009 @8:44:39 AM

Gee thanks! :-P

FiddleJammer Says:
Tuesday, February 3, 2009 @10:34:46 AM

Folks have been known to put money in my case as I was tuning. :-)

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