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Laguna

bow camber question

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I am sampling a few bows and noticed that when the adjuster is completely loose, some bows are curved enough that the hair touches the wood and others come a little closer than a pencil width, but do not touch the wood. Does less curve in the bow mean poorer quality?

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I don't think less camber necessarily means less quality. There is a certain amount of displacement from the unstressed position (camber) that will tension the hair and the stick best. In general a softer stick might require more displacement to get to this tension and therefore would be better served with more camber while a stiffer stick would not need as much displacement and thus give the right displacement and standoff with less initial camber.

For example, the Arcus bows are purposely made with only a little camber so that when the hair is unstretched the standoff is about 4-5 mm. When the hair is properly stressed, the standoff does not change much.

The amount of hair on a bow will also affect these factors, and a softer stick will definitely play better with less hair, while a stiffer stick not only can use more hair but some of them may actually need more hair to give the proper tension, the proper standoff when tensioned, and the proper tension in the individual hairs that are in contact with the strings. Really, a bow does best when all three of these factors have their best "values" for that particular bow.

andy

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My straight bow works very well in legato passages.

My curvy bow works well on anything else except playing legato.(across strings etc)

I like both of my bow even though my curvy bow cost 1000% more expensive than my straight bow.

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Andy,

How do you factor "frog height" and "head height" into your above equations?

I greatly appreciate you thoughtful posts on these topics.

Marsden

[This message has been edited by Marsden (edited 03-01-2001).]

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Marsden,

I don't factor them in. However, since I play viola and cello in addtion to violin, I work with a range of frog and head heights.

The camber (bend) on a cello bow on which the relaxed hair touches the stick will be greater than with a violin bow in similar condition because of the greater head and frog heights.

I just judge a bow by the way it plays and sounds on the instrument I try it on.

For a pernambuco bow, the grain of the wood and the workmanship of frog, screw and tip are often beautiful features that I do not ignore. But the frog and tp workmanshp can also be beautiful features on the more expensive bows made of synthetic materials too.

Andy

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