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Steve_W

Replacing wrapping on transitional bow?

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I have a contemporary copy of a transitional bow by Edward Dodd ca. 1750 that I really like for classical-era music; it's light, flexible and responsive. This copy has a modern leather thumb grip and tinsel wrapping, to match the original bow the maker copied. Since the balance point on these bows is shifted towards the tip, the appropriate grip for this style of bow is further up the stick above the thumb grip, and because of this, after years of playing the tinsel is now starting to fray and will need replacing soon. I'll probably have the  thumb grip removed and the wrap replaced with something more historically accurate. Does anyone know what Dodd used for wrapping on his bows? Tinsel, silk or something else? Or maybe nothing? Without going to wire wrapping, is there a choice that would be more durable than tinsel? Also, can anyone recommend a shop in the San Francisco Bay area that is familiar with historical bows and can do the work? Thanks for any suggestions. -Steve

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The University of Birmingham (the original in England) has quite a lot of Dodd Bows in its collection and happily the images are all on-line and can be viewed from here:

 

http://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire/research/hic/about-the-hic/instruments-in-the-collection/the-dodd-bow-collection

 

There are also a few Dodd and Doddish bows in the current Tarisio and Bromptons auctions which you can look at for inspiration. I suspect the Curators of the Birmingham Collection would be delighted to help you. Can't help with the second question about San Fran.

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...can anyone recommend a shop in the San Francisco Bay area that is familiar with historical bows and can do the work?...

 

I suggest that you start looking on the AFVBM website.

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I wonder if anyone here has done some serious research on the question of historic bow grips? Looking through my books, especially at images of bows drawn and painted in the 18th century, I just don't see any windings or grips of any sort until the very end of the 18th-beginning of the 19th (Spohr, Baillot). Does anyone have any references in text or images that would suggest that a ca.1750 bow would have any kind of grip/winding?

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I wonder if anyone here has done some serious research on the question of historic bow grips? Looking through my books, especially at images of bows drawn and painted in the 18th century, I just don't see any windings or grips of any sort until the very end of the 18th-beginning of the 19th (Spohr, Baillot). Does anyone have any references in text or images that would suggest that a ca.1750 bow would have any kind of grip/winding?

I think you could be right on this.  I found a couple bows on the Tarisio site that are similar to mine (but attributed to John Dodd) which look to be in original condition and have no windings at all.  Maybe I'll just ask the shop to remove the windings and grip next time it's in for rehairing and see how it works.  Thanks!

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It's only anecdotal, but the old bows I own or have owned (1750-1785) all seem to never have had a winding or a grip and the bow makers and experts I know seem to be unanimous that pre-1790's bows in general didn't have windings or grips. Of course, that doesn't prove that no one ever used one back then, and on a modern replica, why not do something comfortable? I personally like a plain lizard-skin wrap on bows on which I don't want to change the balance. I haven't put one on my pike-head or Cramer bows, but I don't play HIP in public, just for personal study and experimentation. If I were practicing on my pre-1785 bows as much as I do on my "modern Tourte" model bows, I'd be afraid of wearing into the sticks.  

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It's only anecdotal, but the old bows I own or have owned (1750-1785) all seem to never have had a winding or a grip and the bow makers and experts I know seem to be unanimous that pre-1790's bows in general didn't have windings or grips. Of course, that doesn't prove that no one ever used one back then, and on a modern replica, why not do something comfortable? I personally like a plain lizard-skin wrap on bows on which I don't want to change the balance. I haven't put one on my pike-head or Cramer bows, but I don't play HIP in public, just for personal study and experimentation. If I were practicing on my pre-1785 bows as much as I do on my "modern Tourte" model bows, I'd be afraid of wearing into the sticks.  

Thanks Michael, I like the idea of the plain lizard-skin wrap. That would deal with both my concerns about playing with a bare stick--possible lack of grip and potential wear to the stick--while being reasonably durable and easily replaceable.

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