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Warped (or something) bow


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I was reading Mandy's post and noted with some alarm

that the people at the violin shop told her that one

of her bows was warped and thus was basically garbage.

This is very alarming to me because I have come to

notice a slight bend to one side in the middle of my

bow that increases when I tighten the hair. It's

almost entirely unnoticeable when the hair is loose.

I say "almost entirely" because it looks perfectly

straight to me but my teacher says otherwise. When

I tighten the hair though, then I can see the bend.

My bow is quite expensive, a good deal more $ than

just a couple hundred. It's not

enough of a bend to hinder my playing in any way, I'm

just making sure this isn't really bad. Is my bow

ruined, or will this

just be corrected at my next re-cambering?

Many thanks if anyone can help.

-Michael L.

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In my experience, side-ways bending of the stick results fom lack of hair on one side of the bow. Often this results from normal hair breakage. I had a very nice Lothar Seifert bow that could not stand more than a very few broken hairs before the curve would show up. This puzzled me because it was a very sturdy, and somewhat stiff stick - but that's how it was.

If the stick is not bent or warped when the hair is loose, you just need to have it rehaired. This will typically cost between $30 and $45, depending on where you have it done.

Also be careful not to get excess hair put on the bow (to delay the next onset of this malady), because too much hair will likely totally destroy the playing qualities of the bow. A good technician will not suggest that you install excess hair. If he/she asks if you want extra hair, take it to a different technician.

Each bow has an ideal thickness of hair - stiffer bows may take more, softer bows, less, etc.

Andy

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bows can be straightend and rechambered, it is a delicate and expensive operation, that can sometimes damage the varnish on the bow. So it is a trade-off on your desires. The varnish can always be touched up. The bow in Mandy's post may not be of sufficient value to warrant the expense of straightening.

steve g.

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Dear Michael,

Bows being wood, "straight" is a matter of degree. No bow I have ever seen is "perfectly" straight.

Now, that being said, many look relatively straight when "sighted" with no tension on the stick (hair loose).

It is generally accepted that a slight turn away from the string (playing) side of the bow is acceptable when the hair is tightened.

As Andrew mentioned in his post, if the stick travels too much to the side when the hair is tighted, you might be able to correct some or all of this problem by a simple rehairing.

If rehairing does not do the trick, the bow can be straighted by a bowmaker relatively easily. To straighten a bow, the stick is warmed over a flame, in hot sand, or over a similar heat source, then adjusted by hand. After the stick cools, the work is checked and the process repeated if required. The camber of the bow was placed in the stick in the same way when the bow was made.

This process is is relatively safe, but due to the nature of pernambuco wood, there is a very slght chance that a fault in the wood can show up during the process. Most makers I know charge by the hour for this service, and many will not attempt it unless the owner understands and accepts the risk to the bow. With a normal, uncomplicated warp correction or recambering job, figure two hours or less in labor. Not really too expensive.....

Best of luck,

Jeffrey

: I was reading Mandy's post and noted with some alarm

: that the people at the violin shop told her that one

: of her bows was warped and thus was basically garbage.

: This is very alarming to me because I have come to

: notice a slight bend to one side in the middle of my

: bow that increases when I tighten the hair. It's

: almost entirely unnoticeable when the hair is loose.

: I say "almost entirely" because it looks perfectly

: straight to me but my teacher says otherwise. When

: I tighten the hair though, then I can see the bend.

: My bow is quite expensive, a good deal more $ than

: just a couple hundred. It's not

: enough of a bend to hinder my playing in any way, I'm

: just making sure this isn't really bad. Is my bow

: ruined, or will this

: just be corrected at my next re-cambering?

: Many thanks if anyone can help.

: -Michael L.

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My bow was warped pretty badly. I didn't really notice it before, but when the people at the shop told me, i could see it very easily. In fact, now i wonder y i never noticed it in the first place, i guess i just wasn't paying much attention to it. I would say the bow curves about 15-20 degrees to the side.

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: My bow was warped pretty badly. I didn't really notice it before, but when the people at the shop told me, i could see it very easily. In fact, now i wonder y i never noticed it in the first place, i guess i just wasn't paying much attention to it. I would say the bow curves about 15-20 degrees to the side.

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