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Bows, hairs and their relation


tartarane
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Jerry havent you got that the wrong way around, as i said the tension acts like one piece of stretched material fixed to a single point at either end.lf you have less hair on one side due to wear then these hairs will be stretched further and being in an higher individual tension than the other side that has more hair. The ribbon still acts under one overall tension .

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I can't say I have noticed this uneven stretching much in practice. Most bows that come in with full hair seem to have kept their shape and while the hair might have got longer the tension is usually still even.

Great. But that is the point. If the hair tension comes back even, you hair it even. If you see the hair tension come back with slightly more tension on the non playing side, you rehair with slightly more tension on the playing side to avoid the bow loosing response with wear. Different players, different playing styles. I have also noticed that playing styles change considerably depending on where the player is from.

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Florian, yes i know about that but you are not changing the tension of the hair ribbon as the tension acts as `a whole` not one hair at a time.All your doing is stretching the hair on one side to correct an uneven hair ribbon.

The ribbon is balancing the center of the stick, if one side of the ribbon is shorter it will pull the stick over

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Great. But that is the point. If the hair tension comes back even, you hair it even. If you see the hair tension come back with slightly more tension on the non playing side, you rehair with slightly more tension on the playing side to avoid the bow loosing response with wear. Different players, different playing styles. I have also noticed that playing styles change considerably depending on where the player is from.

That's interesting, and I'll look out for it in the future. Thanks,

 

Conor

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Conor, Florian, yes it will pull sideways one way or the other but simply because hair only stretches to a certain point . Im confusing myself here , i hate the physics of force and tension,etc...

regardless , because most players lean the bow to one side to varying degrees , it is not really ideal for the `bow`,neither is rehairing unevenly. It may suit players some players but its not an `ideal`. Players tend to be reluctant to adjust their bowing style to accomodate different bows. Many cant play on a early to mid 19th century French bow because they are cambered differently and generally have more flexibility.

I wasnt going to enter this thread  and dont think i`ll bother to say anything else. :)

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I can surely visualize in my minds' eye that a bow that is looser on the playing side is worse than even tension and will work poorly.  But I can't see how the reverse situation is much better than an even tensioned ribbon?

 

Shorther hair on playing side would also pull the bow (distance between playing side of tip and frog) shorter on the playing side, so probably one in reality has an even tension in the ribbon anyway, but with a sideways bent stick?

 

I can't seem to make logic out of one side having different tension that the other. 

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 @ct:

I rehaired a Richaume viola bow this afternoon, the head mortice is 7.9 mm, the ferrule 14.8 (over all, not the opening).  The bow is stiff as hell, weighs a ton (77.5 grams). Putting an amount in that suits the head mortice and the ferrule well and looks good, would give you a ribbon that is absolutely insufficent to the stress, would not sound well and play very hard. Should I tell the customer that She's got a bad bow? Fortunately she rarely breaks hair, so at least I can put in the amount that is right and it will last a while...

 

Florian

 

Bows that are made with a difficult (or impossible) mortice opening combination, still must be (in my opinion) rehaired - or not. What other options are there? Such a bow as you describe, I will say, is something that a rehairer will not be required to rehair often - if ever, as such problems are not common in bows that a have been properly made.

 

So being asked to rehair a bow, to make up for the fact that it is impossible to hair or re-hair, that cannot accept any amount of hair correctly - well, in a way thats like being asked to make something that has been made non functional, functional - simply by rehairing it.

It don't work that way. Rehairing cannot do such a thing. All anyone who accepts such a thing can, do is simply rehair it as well as it can be rehaired.

 

Rehairing is simple in this respect, and not (again in my opinion) disposed to much of what is being discussed here. Including the idea of pulllng the hair out on a finished, rehaired bow, on one side only.

It simply don't work that way. Go ahead and try it on a finished bow. In order to affect the ribbon by pulling the ribbon on one side only....irk! 

 

Any way, with the above mentioned bow, I'd simply rehair it as normally as possibly. perhaps I'd rehair it on the slightly heavier side, but what more could anyone do, really, if the bow is made not to accept a rehair? 

 

In actuality, I or anyone I know, would simply not accept the bow for a rehair in the first place. Problem solved.

 

You'd (anyone who rehairs would) get in a thousand normal bows to rehair, before you'd run into such a thing so, why bother accepting such a problematic, impossible thing in the first place?

 

I'm finding all of the arguments about what would happen if... interesting.

A bow is simply rehaired correctly or it isn't.

 

The hair simply isn't pulled out of the frog on one side or the other, on a finished bow. Really, it cannot be done - go ahead and try it. In order to change the tension on the ribbon on a finished bow - realistically - you'd have to; a. take out the spread wedge, b. pull off the ferrule, c. pull the slide off, d. remove the frog mortice wedge holding in the knot and e. change the way the ribbon is held by that wedge by re adjusting the knot, then, f. put the frog together again, in order to have the ribbon "pull" or seat differently.

 

Go ahead - try it.

...the hair simply doesn't really just pull out on one side, on a finished bow - making the hair on that side longer. And that's the way the bow now behaves.

No, it simply does not really work like that.

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Craig, thanks for your reply.

 

 

No, it simply does not really work like that.

It would be nice to hear though in your posts, that you would accept, that there are others in the field with certainly as much experience and professionality as yourself.

I think we are speaking about subtle changes in a bows characteristics, influenced by very small changes in amount of hair, small adjustments in tension or distribution of the hair in the ribbon....

It seems to me that you are opposed to the idea that we can make any bow do anything we want. I agree with that!

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It seems to me that you are opposed to the idea that we can make any bow do anything we want. I agree with that!

 

Well, we can, in some aspects, only in regard to the construction of the bow itself - physically, we don't accomplish such things with the rehair.

Other than this, I cannot say much more. Because, what's there to say?

 

A rehair is either done correctly or not. all the rest of this is simply useless theoretical balther to me...

I'd rather not discuss it further - in this respect.

 

But - anyone that has a question about the process of rehairing, I do have a written 35 page set of notes - and a dvd showing the process, that I made many years ago and I will attempt to get some copies made now, for anyone thinking that there is something other than a rehair involved in rehairing which, really, there isn't...

 

It will take some time, but let me know - other than this, I cannot do - or say much of anything else, - nor would I care to.

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Magnus, we are usually talking about a small correction of a bent stick here, not a straight bow.

As you correctly visualize, the shorter hair on the side that needs to be corrected will pull the stick over till the hair tension is even on both sides... 

 

 

There are however some bows who are straight, but latterally not giving lots of resistance. A player who tilts his/her bow more than appropriate for that bow might be helped by a little bend to the non playing side as that gives some more stability, so a little bit shorter hair on the playing side will do that..

 

I might want to put some (not much) more hair on the playing side for players who brake lots, just to prevent early need of rehair.

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Thank you Florian.

Magnus,

You like a flat hair, let's start with that. If the hair starts out with even tension and the player plays harder on the playing side, the tension will be uneven very quickly. Not only will the tension be uneven, but it will be uneven towards the wrong side killing the response. If the player plays harder on the playing side, they are bending the center of the stick toward the playing side at the same time. A higher tension on the playing side just counter acts what the player is doing. If the player does not play with more pressure on the playing side it is a moot point, because you would hair that even because the playing style of the player requires it.

I have had soloist clients who played with flat hair and soloists who played more tension on the playing side. The bottom line is they don't play the same way so why should their set ups or rehairs be the same?

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....anyone that has a question about the process of rehairing, I do have a written 35 page set of notes - and a dvd showing the process, that I made many years ago...

 

I'm still wondering how I will "know when  fold that ribbon at the tip, if it is too thick or too thin a ribbon for that bow," as you stated in post #16.  Do your notes and/or DVD explain this?

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A rehair is either done correctly or not. all the rest of this is simply useless theoretical balther to me...

I'd rather not discuss it further - in this respect.

Once again ct, if you try it or at least try to understand it, no longer would it seem useless, theoretical or balther (blather).

C'mon, try some magical, useless , theorhetical, blathering, dabbling!

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Jerry and Florian I think I am getting the picture now. But how do you go about to make one side slightly shorter than the other, by cutting a slanted "floor" in the tip block? (I don't do rehairs, I just like to discuss them).

Magnus,

Thanks for asking, this is really the meat of things. The best way to do this is to actually tie off the hairs with the tension distribution you want, this sounds complicated, but not so much. You do this at the step in the rehair where you turn the hair to compensate for the final block, whether the final block is in the head or the frog.

Let me explain for those that do not rehair. To do a great rehair you have to compensate for the difference in hair length as the hair travels around the final block before you tie the knot. Hairs that turn around the block close have to be a tad shorter than hairs that are on the outside of the knot that have to be a little longer. Bow persons will do this in various ways. Some will turn around a comb, some will turn using a turning stick, etc. This is where the relative tension is done. By slightly angling the turning stick or the comb you can not only get the tension distribution you want, but a nice even increase in tension. The amount we are talking about is less than 1/4 mm to 1/2 mm and only in the most extreme cases close to 3/4 mm for those bows used by say rock and roll cellists. The advantage of graduating tension this way is the player feels a solidity to the hair that I have not seen with other methods.

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I'm still wondering how I will "know when  fold that ribbon at the tip, if it is too thick or too thin a ribbon for that bow," as you stated in post #16.  Do your notes and/or DVD explain this?

 

I guess I assume that you will have to look at the amount of hair you are using for the rehair, and the bow you're rehairing, and decide, right then, if the amount is right. You, as the rehairer, will simply have to make certain decisions in the (in every) rehair step, such as this one, in order to rehair.

 

As far as I know, there is no gauge for this, no formula to compute the size and shape of the bow and the mortice volume, in order to give you a specific amount of hair to use for a specific bow - (based on hair weight? metric volume? circumfrence of the tube of hair? ) there's no anything at this specific point except your own decision - about how much hair to use.

 

Really, I don't know what else to add. You simply have to make a decision.

 

My written notes, and my DVD, simply show the process as I have done it for many years - you'll see me walk over to the hair hanging and grab enough from the bundle to rehair that bow - or, a still photo showing me cut off enough for the bow I'm rehairing.

 

If anyone knows how to answer this question with a more exact answer, please, now is the time to speak up.

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The size of the head mortice is not used to determine the amount of hair used. A longer or shorter wedge can easily accommodate too much or too little hair. Likewise the frog, except in a Tubbs bow which doesn't have a spread wedge. If a Tubbs is very soft, as some are, the practice is to glue a slip of soft paper on the tongue of the frog to reduce the gap a little, and to give the hair a soft bed in the frog.

 

The decision on how much hair to use is made, and then wedges are cut to match.

 

The hair should lie flat on the face of the head, and shouldn't bunch out, in other words the ribbon that starts at the frog should remain flat and fold neatly around the wedge and in to the tipface of the bow.

 

I think that weighing the hair is pretty safe, taking 5g as the correct amount for a violin bow, but I used to just judge it with my fingers. You won't go too far wrong with 5g, and experience will soon tell you whether to use a whisper more or less on a particular bow. I'm sure a slot gauge would work too. I don't count hairs, as I use several sorts, some thicker than others, and I can't imagine that it would be useful. 

 

I start with a hank of about 6g, tie a thread around the end, and go through it, taking out all the bad hairs. I usually end up with about 5g. If you're lucky you may have to throw away less, but sometimes you'll lose a lot more.

 

The great mistake is to use too much hair, which may damage a bow. Too little, and the player will complain, or perhaps send their bow in the post to Jerry next time.

 

I rehaired two baroque violin bows this week, and they took just 2.5g and 3g!   

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regardless , because most players lean the bow to one side to varying degrees , it is not really ideal for the `bow`,neither is rehairing unevenly. It may suit players some players but its not an `ideal`. Players tend to be reluctant to adjust their bowing style to accomodate different bows. Many cant play on a early to mid 19th century French bow because they are cambered differently and generally have more flexibility.

 

 

I agree that some players are reluctant to alter their playing style - but on the matter of bow tilt, this is not an individual quirk of a few players, but a crucial element of violin technique, which combines with pressure, speed and distance from the bridge to control the tone quality. Of course, you may have to alter the *degree* of tilt required in any given situation for different bows, but playing with the bow completely upright all the time would be impossible - or rather, extremely undesirable.

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The size of the head mortice is not used to determine the amount of hair used. A longer or shorter wedge can easily accommodate too much or too little hair. Likewise the frog, except in a Tubbs bow which doesn't have a spread wedge. If a Tubbs is very soft, as some are, the practice is to glue a slip of soft paper on the tongue of the frog to reduce the gap a little, and to give the hair a soft bed in the frog.

 

The decision on how much hair to use is made, and then wedges are cut to match.

 

The hair should lie flat on the face of the head, and shouldn't bunch out, in other words the ribbon that starts at the frog should remain flat and fold neatly around the wedge and in to the tipface of the bow.

 

I think that weighing the hair is pretty safe, taking 5g as the correct amount for a violin bow, but I used to just judge it with my fingers. You won't go too far wrong with 5g, and experience will soon tell you whether to use a whisper more or less on a particular bow. I'm sure a slot gauge would work too. I don't count hairs, as I use several sorts, some thicker than others, and I can't imagine that it would be useful. 

 

I start with a hank of about 6g, tie a thread around the end, and go through it, taking out all the bad hairs. I usually end up with about 5g. If you're lucky you may have to throw away less, but sometimes you'll lose a lot more.

 

The great mistake is to use too much hair, which may damage a bow. Too little, and the player will complain, or perhaps send their bow in the post to Jerry next time.

 

I rehaired two baroque violin bows this week, and they took just 2.5g and 3g!   

 

 

Can you tell me roughly how many hairs this translates to for a baroque bow? Some historical sources speak of the amount of hair, but they always mention the number of hairs, not the weight. For example, Marin Mersenne indicates that 80-100 hairs is the normal range, and I mentioned in an earlier post that Tourte bows in the 1830s were haired with 100-110 hairs. I believe this is considerably less than generally in use today, but it would be interesting to be able to compare figures directly.

 

Incidentally, in my experience as a player, baroque bows are often given too much hair - it may indeed damage the bow, but before it reaches that stage it has other negative effects, such as dampening the sound and making characteristic baroque articulations harder to achieve. 

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Can you tell me roughly how many hairs this translates to for a baroque bow? Some historical sources speak of the amount of hair, but they always mention the number of hairs, not the weight. For example, Marin Mersenne indicates that 80-100 hairs is the normal range, and I mentioned in an earlier post that Tourte bows in the 1830s were haired with 100-110 hairs. I believe this is considerably less than generally in use today, but it would be interesting to be able to compare figures directly.

 

Incidentally, in my experience as a player, baroque bows are often given too much hair - it may indeed damage the bow, but before it reaches that stage it has other negative effects, such as dampening the sound and making characteristic baroque articulations harder to achieve. 

I just counted a viola hank that I had tied off. This is fairly fine hair. With thicker hair the count would be less.

 

6g  =  226 hairs

 

1g =  38

 

3g =  114

 

2.5g = 95

 

5g =  190.  (violin)

 

That's a first, but what else would I be doing on a Sunday afternoon!

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Brilliant, thank you Conor - incredibly useful! It does indeed seem like just the thing for a Sunday afternoon...(rather like browsing Maestronet when I should be practising)

So your 2.5-3g for a baroque bow would seem to correspond fairly closely to those early sources. Of course, we don't know how fine or course the hair was, and with only one source from the 17th century and one from the 19th we are not exactly overloaded with evidence :)

Thanks again!

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