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Changing Violin Fittings


LilHobbit
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I recently purchased a Nurnberger Violin Bow - labeled Albert Nurnberger, W Germany.  I’m not a huge fan of the bow grip and would like to get it replaced.  Considering I’ve never had a bow grip replaced, much less on a decent violin bow, does it matter what I have it replaced with in order to preserve the quality/value of the bow?  Would a different bow grip change the sound or feel of the bow itself?  Should I use something that would have been traditional to a Nurnberger bow or does it really matter?  

What is your preference on material for bow grip?  Have you found that you prefer certain materials over others?  

I guess the same question applies to violin fittings in general.  Is there any rhyme or reason as to why one would choose certain types of wood for a violin?  Overall, I really prefer the look of Rosewood but does it make a difference as to what style wood is chosen, particularly for an older violin?  

Edited by LilHobbit
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  • LilHobbit changed the title to Changing Violin Fittings

By bow grip, do you mean the leather and the winding?

What is on the bow now? Why don't you like it?

And yes, it is possible that the winding, less so the leather, may affect the balance, but likely so little you wouldn't notice.

I don't think the combo of leather/winding styles matters too much, after all, they do wear out and do get replaced. That's part of their function - to absorb the wear from use and to protect the wood underneath.

Having said that though, I'd tend to stick with the original style.

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1 minute ago, Rue said:

By bow grip, do you mean the leather and the winding?

What is on the bow now? Why don't you like it?

And yes, it is possible that the winding, less so the leather, may affect the balance, but likely so little you wouldn't notice.

I don't think the combo of leather/winding styles matters too much, after all, they do wear out and do get replaced. That's part of their function - to absorb the wear from use and to protect the wood underneath.

Having said that though, I'd tend to stick with the original style.

The winding is fine and I have no need to replace that.  The leather on the other hand seems to be wearing out.  More specifically, the underside of the leather where your thumb rests seems is driving me crazy.  It’s particularly squishy at this spot and flattens completely when bowing.  

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I would guess that changing violin fittings would not affect the value unless they were original on some valuable instrument.  Or, expensive fittings in and of themselves.  However, what I do know is that fittings can change the sound.  The main concern is the density of the material they're made of.  So be aware that if you're changing from (for example) boxwood to ebony for aesthetic reasons, you should expect the sound to change a little as well.  You also have to take into account the ergonomics of different shapes, and durability of different woods for pegs.  You can never really go wrong with a Swiss style set of fittings in ebony.  But it is boring.  

31 minutes ago, LilHobbit said:

The leather on the other hand seems to be wearing out.  More specifically, the underside of the leather where your thumb rests seems is driving me crazy.  It’s particularly squishy at this spot and flattens completely when bowing.  

You should have this replaced.  Otherwise you will wear through it and begin to wear the winding and possibly the stick.  It sounds like you have some time before this becomes a concern, but if it's hurting your playing, then why postpone?  I suspect what you need is not a different kind of leather, just a fresh piece that hasn't been worn out.  It will feel different, but you'll get used to it quickly, and as you said you dislike the current feel.  Also, make sure you keep your fingernails short.  

I am not a bow expert, but I've been through this same thing as a player.  

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The thumb leather is something that needs periodic replacement. I’m pretty sure that whoever does your bow rehairs will be able to put a new one on for you. The kind you select will have no effect on the value of your bow as long as it is done nicely. I would think plain black leather would be appropriate if n this case.

DLB

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Fitting style/wood matters less as well. People change those out all the time. If you love rosewood (I do too) then plan to switch to rosewood.

The hardest thing about switching fittings is to ensure the pegs are properly fitted. Then the tailpiece must fit properly.

Chinrest style may affect sound ...minimally... depending on where it's clamped. But I doubt anyone listening would hear it.

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The bow: The type of grip is chosen based on weight and balance. If you remove whalebone/faux whalebone and replace it with silver, your bow will be very heavy and weighted to the frog, provided the wrap was chosen with thought. Tinsel and whalebone can be very light 1.5-3gms, and a silver wrap of the same length can be 5+gms, depending on the gauge of wire used. Sometimes you see bows with a long leather wrap and nothing else. Weigh them. You'll see why. Some German workshop bows have a long leather and a very short metal wire wrap. Weigh them and you will see why.

 

As for violin fittings, what ever looks pretty, but some instruments sound better with certain wood/weight fittings-pegs included. Also consider that depending on who does your pegs, you lose some wood with every change of pegs, leading you to expensive bushings if your violin person is casual with the reamer, or if the holes are the old taper and require reaming out for a different taper. Yes, you can fit pegs without losing wood from the pegbox, but only if the holes are in good condition and you are willing to modify your peg shaver to fit the slightly non-standard holes, or fit your pegs with a file, which can be done.

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21 hours ago, duane88 said:

The bow: The type of grip is chosen based on weight and balance. If you remove whalebone/faux whalebone and replace it with silver, your bow will be very heavy and weighted to the frog, provided the wrap was chosen with thought. Tinsel and whalebone can be very light 1.5-3gms, and a silver wrap of the same length can be 5+gms, depending on the gauge of wire used. Sometimes you see bows with a long leather wrap and nothing else. Weigh them. You'll see why. Some German workshop bows have a long leather and a very short metal wire wrap. Weigh them and you will see why.

 

As for violin fittings, what ever looks pretty, but some instruments sound better with certain wood/weight fittings-pegs included. Also consider that depending on who does your pegs, you lose some wood with every change of pegs, leading you to expensive bushings if your violin person is casual with the reamer, or if the holes are the old taper and require reaming out for a different taper. Yes, you can fit pegs without losing wood from the pegbox, but only if the holes are in good condition and you are willing to modify your peg shaver to fit the slightly non-standard holes, or fit your pegs with a file, which can be done.

I'm not planning on removing the silver as it's still in really good shape.  The only issue I have is with the leather which I'll swap out for the same thing.  As far as the violin fittings, I have two really good luthiers in my area that I know will fit pegs properly without destroying the pegbox.  I'm contemplating swapping the current fittings with a nice set from Bogaro & Clemente!

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7 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

Instead of spending money in new fittings, save your money for a better instruments. It will come with good fittings.

I just purchased a better instrument.  And yes, it came with good fittings but that doesn't mean I like them.  Some people have preferences as to whether they want rosewood, boxwood, ebony, etc on their violin or even fittings from a specific maker.  I really like the quality/look of Bogaro & Clemente fittings and would like to put them on this violin at some point.  

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I just took at look at the B&G fittings. They are very nice. 

If this upgrade is your "forever" instrument a splurge on new fittings helps personalize the violin.

I also agree, and find it odd, in general (not any specific example) of how we value preferences.

We all have them, so it's part of what makes up our species. Wonder how it evolved? An "offshoot" from sexual selection perhaps? 

I prefer to drive a manual/standard. I remember car shopping (years ago) at a dealership. I asked if the model I was interested in came in standard. The salesman literally looked down his nose at me and said

"No one makes standards anymore!"

:huh:

So I went down the road...and bought a Jeep. Still driving it.

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