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My "new" bow

Posted by Mandogryl on Saturday, November 7, 2009

So, I am just a beginner fiddle-player. Been taking lessons for eight months. My first violin was a cheap cheap cheap (so cheap there isn’t even a label inside) instrument probably made in Asia but frankly I have no idea where it was made. I gave it away after I acquired and repaired my old German fiddle. It was a throw-in when I bought a mandolin/violin double case, and this package even came with a bow. Back then, since I knew nothing about violins, I associated the quality of the bow with that of the instrument, and ignored it. And thusly, when I strung up the German fiddle I had a new $36 bow waiting, sufficient for my beginning efforts. And that bow served okay. Even though I gave the no-name fiddle away, I saved the bow simply because the case I purchased for the German fiddle had holders for two bows, and I thought it would look more…appropriate…to have two bows in my case.

So, last night, eight months later, I am practicing like I do every night, 2 hours, and after the first hour I had become really down about the way my E string sounded, especially on high notes, A, B, C, and even down at G. The bow just sounded scratchy. I even felt the hairs, looking for imperfections or zig-zags. Then I took that other bow from the case, and gave it a good look-see. I noticed that it had a name on it called Glasser. Nothing unusual there. They come in all price ranges, I have noticed while looking at violin websites. I have no idea how much this bow had cost.
I decided to rosin it up and take it for a test drive. Immediately I could hear a difference! Those high notes sounded great! And the bow’s overall playability was much better on all strings – all notes. But those high notes were no longer scratchy. My violin teacher had told me to use more bow pressure to help combat that scratchiness, and this worked to a degree. One of my project-tunes is MOC’s Appalachian Waltz, and the beginning double-stops with that A on the E string I just could not make sound good at all. Now I can. This bow has opened up a whole new world to me it seems.
I had been thinking seriously of bow shopping next summer, and seeing if I can find a better bow. I still plan to, but for now I am pleased with how this bow plays.

4 comments on “My "new" bow”

mudbug Says:
Saturday, November 7, 2009 @9:20:07 AM

Congrats on finding a better bow without even having to leave the house.

autumnstrings Says:
Saturday, November 7, 2009 @9:34:22 AM

In anything I've ever done well I've learned that all the tools really matter. When first looking into the fiddle I was told by many make sure your bow is at least as good in quality as your instrument and preferably even better. Good luck in your search, try out as many as possible before deciding.

BC Says:
Saturday, November 7, 2009 @10:53:27 AM

It's amazing the difference one aspect can make regarding the whole process. Does that mean the parts are greater than the whole, or vise-versa?

bj Says:
Saturday, November 7, 2009 @11:12:13 AM

Could be too that this bow is better matched to your fiddle. Could also be that the other bow has hair that is on its way out, and this one has hair that is in better shape.

Glassers do come in a huge range of quality, but even the CHEAPEST play okay. I had one and though it wasn't as good as my better bows, it was certainly a very playable bow for a cheap piece of junk fiberglass bow with a plastic frog. One fiddle I've since sold actually PREFERRED that bow, so that bow went along with that fiddle. Maybe you lucked out even more and this is one of the better glassers.

Either way, Thank The Big Kahuna for Happy Accidents! Enjoy!

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