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Advice on violin/bow purchase


Callie
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I have a cheap synthetic-haired bow made by Glasser, and my violin is an Andrew Schroetter model. I paid about $625 for both. I am an intermediate player. I know if I got a new bow it would tremendously help me improve my tone, dynamics, etc. I have about $3000 for a new set-up which must include a case. Here's my question: Do you think I should just get a new bow for now, and wait on the new violin until I become a better player, or should I get the whole package now? I am worried that I might not have enough experience to know what it is I'm looking for in a new violin. I have been looking around on the internet and came across a wealth of info. It is very hard to make a decision.

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What dissatifies me is that my sound is squeaky. It is too high pitched& loud on my E string. When I pull the bow across the strings there is a lot of additional noise (kind of a hissing sound). I have played my friends violin & liked the sound quality I produced a lot better than my set-up.

quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

What is it that causes you to be dissatisfied with your current gear/setup?

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I'm also at the point where I have to decide if my cheapo (slightly warped) Glasser is holding me back. Since a good chunk of the frog (the curved bump upon which the thumb rests) is almost detached, it wouldn't be a big loss if I screw up big times. I think I'll try to cut some bow hair, as described by Andrew some weeks ago.

Why cut bow hair? I can't seem to be able to draw fast and light bow strokes.

At first, I had problems in maintaining a correct direction; this has been remedied to a satisfactory degree.

However, the problem now is that no matter at which distance from the bridge I use the bow, the sound is harsh whenever I try long, fast strokes. I explored the pressure-distance-speed phase diagram for quite some time now.

-Mu0n

[This message has been edited by Mu0n (edited 10-28-2000).]

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There isn't a violin on earth that could sound good with that g*dawful synthetic hair! As a game plan I would suggest

1) have a luthier put real hair on the bow AND set up the violin optimally;

2) After the violin is well set up, go to a shop and try a variety of good bows on it, to see how much improvement would be available from a new bow. (Take a knowledgeable friend along to listen if at all possible; what you hear under your ear can be very different from what a listener hears).

3) If you decide to replace all of your equipment, I would suggest _first_ replacing the violin. Get used to the new instrument, learn to get the most you can out of it with the rehaired Glasser, _then_ shop for a bow. Reason: instruments differ vastly in their "preferences" for different bows; you need to "bond" with your fiddle first, then seek out the bow that can get the best sound from it. (And for basic bow strokes, and with good hair on it, the Glasser is actually not all that awful.)

But don't give up on your violin too soon! My belief is that any halfway decently constructed violin will sound halfway decent if well set up. It's only the Suzuki-type "violin-shaped objects" that are completely beyond help. On your budget, especially if you also buy a bow, you're only going to to get another student-grade instrument- it's not likely to be a quantum jump in quality.

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Yes, I agree with Mark_W.

Synthetic hair is VERY nasty. You will hear a HUGE improvement if you get your bow rehaired with real horsehair. I had the same problem about a year ago when I had my old violin and old bow and tried to play in high positions on the E string. Yuck!!!

Oh, and $3000 can buy you a lot, if you decide that you want a different instrument.

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I suggest replacing both. For $3000 you can get a very nice violin and bow for an "intermediate" player. Most shops will give you a signficant trade-in on the violin if you decide you need something better later on, but unless you buy unwisely, that day may never come. Violins in the price range you quote are still largely a commodity. If you deal with a reputable place, you'll get essentially the same thing. Yes there are differences, but I don't think they're something you should spend a huge amount of time worrying about. Get something better, and get back to practicing. I'll list the names you have probably found searching, but I think any of them will work: Scott Cao (lvstrings.com) -- I list him first only because I have one; Jay Haide (ifshinviolins.com), Sofia (sharmusic.com), StringWorks (.com). I know there are more, and of course there are the older German instruments, but I personally don't think they're worth the trouble when there are so many good new instruments to choose from. My suggestion, spend $2000 on the violin, get a good suspension case and Coda Classic bow.

Don't try to rehair the Glasser. A new one costs less.

quote:

Originally posted by Callie:

I have a cheap synthetic-haired bow made by Glasser, and my violin is an Andrew Schroetter .... Here's my question: Do you think I should just get a new bow for now, and wait on the new violin until I become a better player, or should I get the whole package now? I am worried that I might not have enough experience to know what it is I'm looking for in a new violin...

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The Glasser synthetic is not worth the price of a re-hair. You will get immidiate improvement, even with an innexpensive brazilwood stick. Check out the Coda Aspire or the Glasser carbon Fiber for a solid bow at a reasonable price. I second the reccomendation for the Cao violin. Super instriment and great price. Better hurry though the 900 model has already moved into the price range where the 1000 used to be. The 1000 model has gone up as well.

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I agree that the glasser bow isn't worth the paper it's printed on. My wife's old violin was helped immensely with a new bow (there was a $10 difference between rehairing and an inexpensive wood bow). We replaced the entire setup for under $1,300 from Stringworks.com and as my wife says, "now I can't blame the violin anymore."

Do make sure that it has been set up right, though. HKV is 1000% right, if the violin isn't set up right, it's not going to sound right.

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