Well. Went out today at the nursing home and couldn’t get a decent sound from my fiddle to save my life. Screeching on me A string on both my fiddles. Noticed when we finished my bow hair would not relax when loosened. Had a cold snap over the last few days and I’m sure that had a hand in what was happening. I wetted the sponge in my case shortly before I left the house. Checked it a few minutes ago and looks like the hair is starting to relax. Only way I could get a decent sound was to play closer to the bridge than usual. I use hill dark rosin and usually have little problems with this but every now and then. Guys in the band said they didn’t notice but I sure did. Anyone have the same problem or any advice?maybe me. Very frustrating
Probably a combination of things.
As you mentioned the cold/dry affecting the bow hair tension. It affects the wood. Of course needing to play closer to the bridge to grab the string. These combine emphasizing the higher frequencies, bright, harsh, screechy....
The other aspect is the rosin. Dark rosin is a bit softer, more tacky, can emphasize high frequency scritch (as does too much rosin). Might try different rosin. But besides that, my initial guess is you might have old rosin build up on strings and/or bow.
An explanation about rosin is many of tend to use too much. That it acts bit like a magnet to stick to the hair... but same aspect also picks up anything floating in the air, dust, oil droplets; as well as dirt/oil by the frog migrating up the bow. Which then creates a layer, makes the rosin seem less sticky. Adding more rosin, it doesn't want to stick as well to the old rosin layer (hard to get on, comes off easier). Old rosin build up on the string causes similar issue, not grabbing, slips more... prompting the urge to put more rosin on... or in finding need to move bow contact away from build up, ie closer to bridge; or needing to mash down harder with bow pressure (which also causes more noise)
Cleaning the string helps a lot (cork works well, can use alcohol with care); for me, makes almost immediate noticeable difference that solves the issue; gets rid of a lot of squeaks and thinness. This what I would start with. But might also consider cleaning the bow hair, removing all the old rosin. These have worked for me. When re-rosining... try not to use so much. (I still probably over rosin, old habits).
Edited by - alaskafiddler on 02/20/2020 20:19:01
I always wipe the strings after playing. Play about three hours a couple days ago with no problems. I do think I might have too much Rosin on the bow. Will be playing at a gig tomorrow night and if it acts up again I’m going to grab a different bow and see what happens. Very frustrating. I do think these weather changes have something to do with it. Maybe it’s just me. I do know that my hair would not full relax on the stick and now it’s relaxed. Thanks for the reply
Too much rosin buildup on the string or failing rosin on the bow hair are both possibilities. Low humidity in your home from the heater running may also have dried out your fiddle . That will make a fiddle screech.
Thanks for all for the feedback. Will be playing tonight and see what happens. Was going to wipe the strings with a alcohol pad which I used to do but I read somewhere that is not a good idea for synthetic strings If it does it again will try swapping bows. Frank
Just wipe with a clean dry cloth. Alcohol is unnecessary and ultimately just melts the rosin into the windings of the strings
Thanks. We’ll see what happens tonight. Frank
I've heard that touching the strings where you bow can get grease on them and can cause problems
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