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jim mcavoy

Bow tuning ??

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08 may 2014
This topic quickly became a subject of concern ... please read for the entertainment value (or where it may go)

 

The thread title is meaningless and replies are mostly   some what off topic...  some are constructive...the content  of this post has been removed as a mater of form

 

 

 

please accept my apologies
Jim






 

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Next we'll be tuning the violinist's fingers by scraping away material to get the tone just so. Where does it end? How about room tuning?

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Next we'll be tuning the violinist's fingers by scraping away material to get the tone just so.

Shhhhh!  [Files nail, touches up polish with secret formula, and taps microphone while watching spectrum in Audacity] :lol:

 

Pardon my skepticism, but what happens when you rehair and/or change your rosin or something?  Wouldn't that change the characteristics?

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These are all shades of gray If you choose to do the following, be careful, remember that it is arbitrary at best. .*Very little is actually scraped off

If there is a poor rendering I usually look at the bridge first, string second, and bow last, to be on the safe side

Now comes the tricky part divide the bow into four segments of varying lengths:

from inside of the tip end … Note "The closer the frog the lower the note"

E string 0" to 4" (tip end) (this may be a little less.. say 3 5/8 ")

A string 4" to 9"

D string 9" to 18"

G string 18" back towards the frog … Within the segments ~ maintain a like ratio

Using only the first position….These are the tuning areas, and that seem to work for me … (the D & A strings tend to be the problem strings, generally at the transition point to the next higher string)

If ,say the d string sounds muted, dismount the frog and scrap a little of the diameter from the bottom of the stick where it won’t show (I start at the highest note with in the segment first) and try it on the fiddle and so on.

If there is a funky note, say a metallic sound you may wish to note where on the string the poor note is, and look to a little scrape in corresponding area of that segment …

Could be all wet, but I don't think so

Jim

 

 

WTF are you talking about here? To quote you, "...remember that it is arbitrary at best..."  Sounds like amateur hour at its worst to me. Put away the sharp tools before you hurt something or somebody and practice your damn instrument instead of vandalizing it.

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These are all shades of gray If you choose to do the following, be careful, remember that it is arbitrary at best. .*Very little is actually scraped off

If there is a poor rendering I usually look at the bridge first, string second, and bow last, to be on the safe side

Now comes the tricky part divide the bow into four segments of varying lengths:

from inside of the tip end … Note "The closer the frog the lower the note"

E string 0" to 4" (tip end) (this may be a little less.. say 3 5/8 ")

A string 4" to 9"

D string 9" to 18"

G string 18" back towards the frog … Within the segments ~ maintain a like ratio

Using only the first position….These are the tuning areas, and that seem to work for me … (the D & A strings tend to be the problem strings, generally at the transition point to the next higher string)

If ,say the d string sounds muted, dismount the frog and scrap a little of the diameter from the bottom of the stick where it won’t show (I start at the highest note with in the segment first) and try it on the fiddle and so on.

If there is a funky note, say a metallic sound you may wish to note where on the string the poor note is, and look to a little scrape in corresponding area of that segment …

Could be all wet, but I don't think so

Jim

 

I have a bow collection that convinces me that a couple of old bows have more damping than others.  They lay into the string better.  Damping would mean nothing if there was not vibrational movement in the stick.  I think you should ignore your detractors as they seem prone to ridicule with no knowledge (or respect) whatsoever.  Keep looking. Perhaps extreme examples that magnified your predictions could advance your theory even though you would ruin some sticks.

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I believe that it has to do with the grab - slip cycle in the bowing process ..If the cycle is very poor then there is a squeak ...if irregular the not a clean sound Eric Janssen describes the string action as a saw tooth like motion and the bridge is acted on similarly

I had a number of crap bows ..the materials were good ..the craftsmanship wasn't the greatest ... each of them play at least half way descent now

I pose this question If a poorly made violin can be improved why not a bow? Tourte is no longer with us and neither is Dodd ...what is a body to do?

No bow was ruined but then no stone hammer was used for modifications and no I have no desire to go into the bow tuning business

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Arbitrary is some consideration for bow mass and taper therefore there may be a small skew ...I don't think much though

as far as modifying ones fingers ...kind of drastic but the an old time banjo player did beak his fingers to better play frails and room acoustics is big business ..just not for me

Jim

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RE: Pardon my skepticism, but what happens when you rehair and/or change your rosin or something? Wouldn't that change the characteristics?

This has more to do with when a bow meets the violin for the first time or there has been a major modification to the instrument (Or one leaves the bow in the bathtub overnight with the shower running)

One thing is for certain, this post is not for everyone ...

therein my apologies (Old school)

Jim

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For those who wonder why this topic I saw J.J. Augagneur making a correction on a bow for a customer on U tube

at minute 9:48 and I just had to explore his modification ... Any one with an ear can hear the results He is just a good workman (with a clue) what he didn't say was the how ~~ this is my version of the how... Who knows some one may take it farther

What I found was that it worked like a charm and I can't believe it is a radical departure for a (good)bow maker

and yes I do spend more time playing than building ..Music is everything for me .. to bad I'm not a great fiddle player

Jim

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well, violin makers often have different approaches to making violins and satisfying players, so why not bow makers?

That there may well be small incremental changes or modifications to the stick, or to making the stick, that will cause it to play better, is something that I can understand from a theoretical point of view only, as I am a violin maker by nature and profession, but I do play a passably decent fiddle, and I do have a bow that I wouldn't trade off for all of the tea in my cupboard.  

"Why?" You may ask?

- because of the way it plays.

And why does it play so marvelously? I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. it just does. And I have rehaired probably, at least 2000 bows, in the last twenty-odd years, including the bow I mentioned just now, the one that plays so well. So, I will say that a bow, properly rehaired, will still only give that bow (any bow) the ability to perform as well as it can. No matter how well the original hairing was done or the re-hairing is done - it (the stick) cannot out perform itself.

 

Perhaps seammc is simply stating something that bow makers know and take advantage of?

Otherwise, I would guess, how does a well made bow satisfy advanced playing styles, when other "equally well made" bows sit idly on the shelf... waiting for a buyer. What does it take to make a bow great while the majority of bows are just mediocre at best?

 

Again, I don't know.

But I am willing to listen. And I am willing to listen to both sides of any argument given here.

I have tried to make a bow. I do have a bunch of really nice bow wood - including pernambuco (it was once available quite affordable even) and I'll tell you this - it'd a damned complex job!

 

So, this is good. have at it. I'm on board. This subject does interest me intensely. 

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Sorry Josh...

My presentation could have been worded differently.. I chose the wording to convey the subtleties of fitting a bow to an application I treat the taper as nonlinear and a little Kentucky windage for the variation in the wood

Think about it when one replaces a handle on a hammer a little fitting makes the job workmanlike. A fiddle or a bow is no different

Guess I struck a nerve ...sorry

Jim

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What went through my mind after reading (several times) your initial post is addressed in the following clip:

 

What Messer Augagneur is doing in the video between 9:45 and 11:10 is customizing the playability of one of his bows for a specific customer. Yes, the sound in the clips varies, but that is because the camera is at different angles, different heights, and different distances from the play in each clip. What the player was talking about and Augagneur is addressing is how the bow felt and responded in the hand.

 

This is not an uncommon thing for bow makers to do--but only on their own bows. When I’m making a bow for a specific client, whenever possible, I will have the player come in and play the bow just before completion—just like in the video. I do it a bit differently, however. In the video, the bow was finished, complete with the grip. I’ll have the hair in this stick, but leave the stick unfinished (no varnish), and simulate the weight of the grip with bits of lead tape. I’ll have the player play the bow for me and based on feedback, I can make adjustments to the camber and to the feel of the stick by making small changes to the stick. I can dial in the specific weight and balance of the bow with adjustments to the lead tape at the grip area, and then complete the bow with a grip that matches. I usually explain this process as a similar back-and-forth that many players go through when having a sound post adjustment on their instrument. For me, as a maker, this is one of the most rewarding moments during bow making. There is no other place in the making process where the player is so intimately involved in the making of his personal bow. It is a process that is definitely not arbitrary or random.

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Chet, thanks for the kind words ... I think that you 'can' make a satisfactory bow

Go for functional with the first tries, rather than pretty , find a set of numbers that you can work with and learn from the little misjudgments (they are not all home runs)

There are a ton of bows out there that are almost right but to that special one is the challenge of the life time ...Just maybe something can be done about it (for everyday people)

I pray that I don't come off looking like VUILLAUME ..the complete rascal for all occasions

Jim

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What went through my mind after reading (several times) your initial post is addressed in the following clip:

 

 

Ahh yes, internet "politeness".

Rather than say it outright, find a video where someone does something stupidly idiotic, and simply play it...

 

Why don't you just address the initial post with wit and intelligence, and argue the points you find incorrect, giving your own "mechanical" explanation about how you make a bow that does exactly what you want it to?

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Josh,

One thing I always knew 'don't mess with someone else's work' ...poor ethics That would be a VUILLAUME caper  My view is that if there is no makers mark it's fair game (With some limitations ...  those bows don't make it to my corner of the world)

 

If that was what came through ~~ it was wholly unintended This was meant for every day folks ,not a gifted archetier

 

thanks for pointing it out

 

Jim

Edited by seammc

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Ahh yes, internet "politeness".

Rather than say it outright, find a video where someone does something stupidly idiotic, and simply play it...

 

Why don't you just address the initial post with wit and intelligence, and argue the points you find incorrect, giving your own "mechanical" explanation about how you make a bow that does exactly what you want it to?

Craig, Josh is usually the epitome of politeness and decorum, and much better than most of us here. You're preaching to the choir. ;)

 

I'm actually relieved to see that he's slightly human. :)

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Funny, I just spent an hour or more yesterday at a friend's (and one of my favourite modern bowmakers) workshop watching him adjust a practically finished bow with input from one of the Paris Opera concertmasters. "Tuning" as in trying to match frequencies is no part of this process, but cambering, and occasional planing is, while checking the reactivity of the stick, its spring, its ability to hold the string and generate sound all along its length. Personally, i find these sessions somewhat pointless, and so I don't do them. I think after each heating session a bow needs time to regain it's resistance, so doing repeated modifications with quick tests in between can give some ideas, but the bow can feel totally different a day later, not to mention a few weeks or more. The upshot of these tests is I often pick up this concertmaster's rejects, because they're usually fantastic playing bows a few months later, while he gets finicky tuning the next one... 

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Ahh yes, internet "politeness".

Rather than say it outright, find a video where someone does something stupidly idiotic, and simply play it...

 

Why don't you just address the initial post with wit and intelligence, and argue the points you find incorrect, giving your own "mechanical" explanation about how you make a bow that does exactly what you want it to?

 

Hi Craig,

 

In complete agreement with David, I second the fact that Josh typically is "the very model of modern mannered bowmaker" (sorry for the G & S reference!) Additionally, if you reread Josh's post #13, he very much addresses the OP with a very cogent and appropriate response.  While his inital response may have hit a little hard, I fully support the assertion that if you want to experiment with bow characteristics at this level, then learn the art bowmaking and what it takes to make a finished bow, and practice/experiment on your own bows rather than sacrifice the intentions of another bowmaker for a self-proclaimed "arbitrary" undertaking. 

 

Also - Anyone else notice that the player in the video doesn't use vibrato until after Messer Augagneur makes adjustments?  Vibrato improves perception of tone, y'all.  That's kinda why we do it!!

Kind regards,

Chris

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Sincere thanks to all for the most entertaining thread in recent months.  While it may...uh...disturb...an English major, at least the idea of having to also tune my bow got my attention!  ^_^

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Ahh yes, internet "politeness".

Rather than say it outright, find a video where someone does something stupidly idiotic, and simply play it...

 

Why don't you just address the initial post with wit and intelligence, and argue the points you find incorrect, giving your own "mechanical" explanation about how you make a bow that does exactly what you want it to?

 

Here's a witty and intelligent, but at the same time a "mechanical" explanation for you.

 

This is what controls diameter vs. flexibility in a stick:

post-25151-0-88005400-1399476553_thumb.gif 

 

And this is how rounding the stick affects strength:

post-25151-0-74595200-1399476571_thumb.gif

 

And to hear it explained... via a polite internet video clip...

 

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Yes, I agree with all of you.

I simply get somewhat irritated with the  "I'll post a video showing you how stupid you are" mentality. I would rather someone simply not post, if that's what it comes to, rather than have to go through any of that ... ahh... other stuff.

Simply disagree if you must, and post the truth of the matter. If the true facts don't get through, then ok, it doesn't get through, either continue on or perhaps start another post. However on this particular thread, I haven't seen such decorum.

 

Other threads, well I probably haven't read them, as I usually don't read bow related threads.

 

And the fact is, that I find such a thread as this very interesting.

And if anyone has better information, well I'd like to hear it also. If not, well, that's OK too.

But thanks for all of the answers and information about the thread thus far - I'll take the information offered as an honest disagreement with the original posters ideas, as the type of disagreement that I can deal with is simply an honest statement about the supposed validity of the original claims about "tuning" a bow.

 

Because, as I have mentioned, the idea is new to me. I do not know, really, what to think of such off beat thinking as this yet.

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Here's a witty and intelligent, but at the same time a "mechanical" explanation for you.

 

This is what controls diameter vs. flexibility in a stick:

attachicon.gifformula.gif

 

And this is how rounding the stick affects strength:

attachicon.gifformula2.gif

 

And to hear it explained... via a polite internet video clip...

 

Well, there you go.

 

If you cannot give an intelligent reply, then, what can you give,to provide any answers?

 

Anything? 

 

And if this is simply your attempt at humor, or a "funny" reply, then I apologize for not "getting" it.

The fact is that I am posting, from a serious point of view. The fact is also that I cannot reply very well or very much, regarding bow making, since I have never (yet, at least) made one. But it has been on my plate that I will try to get an idea of finally using some of the bow wood I have, before anything else happens to make the task even more difficult that it already seems.

 

My only real mistake was thinking that they (bows) would probably be fairly simple to make, compared to violins. To that degree, I realize that they may be simpler, from a "parts" point of view, but from an understanding point of view, and from having a particular set of skills and a particular knowledge, well, they are not so simple.

 

What you did post as "answers" to making a bow, are so vague as to not be considered. (as above)

 

So, are you a bow maker? If so, then why the 'oblique' answers? 

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What Messer Augagneur is doing in the video between 9:45 and 11:10 is customizing the playability of one of his bows for a specific customer. Yes, the sound in the clips varies, but that is because the camera is at different angles, different heights, and different distances from the play in each clip. What the player was talking about and Augagneur is addressing is how the bow felt and responded in the hand.

 

This is not an uncommon thing for bow makers to do--but only on their own bows. When I’m making a bow for a specific client, whenever possible, I will have the player come in and play the bow just before completion—just like in the video. I do it a bit differently, however. In the video, the bow was finished, complete with the grip. I’ll have the hair in this stick, but leave the stick unfinished (no varnish), and simulate the weight of the grip with bits of lead tape. I’ll have the player play the bow for me and based on feedback, I can make adjustments to the camber and to the feel of the stick by making small changes to the stick. I can dial in the specific weight and balance of the bow with adjustments to the lead tape at the grip area, and then complete the bow with a grip that matches. I usually explain this process as a similar back-and-forth that many players go through when having a sound post adjustment on their instrument. For me, as a maker, this is one of the most rewarding moments during bow making. There is no other place in the making process where the player is so intimately involved in the making of his personal bow. It is a process that is definitely not arbitrary or random.

 

Craig,

 

Did you not read Josh's post #13?  I think his answer is pretty clear.  The humorous afterposts, I would think, are a response to demands for what he has already given (as far as I can tell).

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The danger of this thread is the inability to measure the supposed changes this scheme makes. If it is simply a perceived or imagined change, many people could be mislead into potentially damaging quality bows searching for a mirage. With good Pernambuco becoming less and less available, it would be near criminal to start reshaping good bows in an empirical experiment.

 

Edited

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