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Bow Regard

Posted by bj on Friday, March 13, 2009

At the jam a couple months back, Dee let me try her good old pernambuco bow, and  . . . wow. It just stuck to the strings and didn't want to leave them, and pulled great tone. So yeah, my equipment was holding me back.Of course I teasingly (well maybe only half teasingly) asked her if she'd sell it and of course the answer was no. Which, much as I loved playing with it, was actually a relief.

Business isn't quite as robust this spring as it was last year, for obvious reasons, so I'm trying to dial back the spending and be more prudent about stuff, just in case this slight slump turns into a long slump. I knew I needed to eventually think about bow shopping since, after my experience with Dee's bow, I was getting the feeling that there might be something better out there for me. But I'd decided to put that off and hope to run into something at the flea markets or festivals over the summer, maybe a no name brazilwood that would behave well for me.

I had even bought one, taken a chance on an ebay bow, which got to me with the frog end in splinters. A sad day since it appeared to be a surprisingly decent bow for the ridiculously low amount I risked. The seller refunded, but I really would rather have had the bow.

Dee mentioned she had another Pernambuco she was going to be selling that didn't suit her as well, and asked me if I wanted to try it. I said no, better not, with the budget in mind, and she didn't bring it to the Hellertown jam, which I was very relieved about.

But she did bring it to the Phillipsburg jam. And I played with it all night and have been playing with it ever since.

The pernambuco bow I'm using has better balance than my CF bow, even though it's in almost the exact same place on the bow, which I find weird. It just feels better, I don't have to think about how to bow to pull the tone, it just  . . . happens. It's also 4 grams heavier, 62 compared to the CF bow at 58, which I think is part of why the tone is clearer, since I tend to have a light touch with the bow. I used it the whole jam the other night and didn't get tired playing with it, despite the weight. I did realize, in holding it, that I need to hold my elbow a bit higher. I'd gotten sloppy with that with the lighter bow, was sagging quite a bit. This bow is stiff but not jumpy, likes to stay on the strings. And oh my dear Lord does it ever pull the tone! It may have slowed me down just a bit though- it's very nimble but maybe just a hair less nimble than the CF. But I think I can get used to it pretty easily. :-)

And she won't tell me the price. Just told me to give it a good try out, and we'd talk at some point.

** sigh! ** You know, of course, that this is the bow. Of course it is.

It's like waving an open bottle under an alky's nose . . .



7 comments on “Bow Regard”

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Friday, March 13, 2009 @9:31:21 PM

Ask if she'll accept payment in installments.

Cyndy Says:
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @5:15:00 AM

What a joy and I can "so relate." I went to a violin shop some months ago because I wanted to know what it felt like to play with "good" bows and there was such a difference, I just couldn't turn back. Mine wouldn't be considered expensive, but it was a good step up from the one that came with my fiddle and I had just enough extra in my account to buy it. Still love it. Still glad I did it.

Maybe she WILL take installments . . .

Rene Says:
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @6:20:01 AM

Ah yeah, I remember thinking I too needed a better bow. Found a "Bow" man in the area and went out and played several different bows and came home with a Pernambuco bow. Last year I bought a cheap (50.00) fiddle from someone and it came with an even better pernambuco bow...the bow's probably worth 5 times what I paid for the fiddle which is actually a pretty decent beater fiddle. Now if the skills would step up to the level of my bows.

bj Says:
Saturday, March 14, 2009 @8:30:01 PM

She'll take installments. But she still hasn't told me the price. And I'm very much afraid that it'll cause a heart attack when I hear it.

Wow, this bow is teaching me a lot. It takes very little effort on my part to make it do things. So for the first couple days I was overplaying it by a lot. What I'm now finding out is it's actually MORE nimble than the CF, but only if I'm better and more subtle in my bow movements. I'm the clumsy one, not the bow!

Rene Says:
Sunday, March 15, 2009 @6:12:43 AM

Do you have a first born you could trade in :)
Hope it works out for you. I know you are industrious and will find a way to make it happen. In today's economy our music may be all we have left to put a smile on our faces. I'm cheering for ya girl.

Jessi Says:
Sunday, March 15, 2009 @3:41:30 PM

Oh, I do hope you can get the bow. I've been dreaming about doing the same, and have been afraid to try something new for all the same reasons. I'm still playing with the plastic bow I got in 8th grade. I do like it better than my $100 wood bow, because it's a little heavier. I like a heavier bow for drones and double-stops.

bj Says:
Sunday, March 15, 2009 @3:56:23 PM

Jessi, a luthier can, to a bit of a degree, reweight/rebalance your wood bow. Might keep you from wasting that $100 investment. If you've got someone you work with, ask him about that. They can add more silver wrap and some weight in the tip, and change the adjustment screw to one with more weight.

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