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Old 05-25-08, 01:50 AM   #1
BenLi
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Calling all Violinists/other fiddlers

Hey all. Yesterday, while playing the 4th movement of Beethoven's Quartet Op. 59, I broke my bow. Cleanly. In half. It's been used for 6 years, so it's had a good run, I suppose.

So now, I need to buy a new bow. I'm a student and I have very little money to spare. I'd like to stay around the $150 price point. I know this does not leave me with a lot of options, but what can I do. After looking around.

Shar has a Pernambuco bow for around $100 : http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?t1=vb5544

And I've also considered carbon fiber bows. Now, my teacher dislikes them because she's met people who literally cannot go back to a wood bow after using carbon fiber, but it seems that a lot of people believe that the carbon fiber bows offer a lot of performance for the money,

Shar has this: http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=CPV126X44

Are either of these good choices? What other suggestions would you give?
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Old 05-25-08, 10:48 AM   #2
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Oh noes! How the heck did you break your bow? RIP.

Ummm, not familiar with carbon fiber bows at all, so don't ask me about that. Some of my old oke-mates swear by coda-bow, but those are expensive. My teacher said they don't sound as good because some overtones are lacking when you use a CF bow.

It really is best to go to a local shop to try out bows and see the quality for yourself (same advice as bikes, haha). It's really hard to judge quality over the internet. I'm not familiar with Meinel, but I've used a Mueller bow before, and it was fine. You can get them here for about $100:

http://www.swstrings.com/Store/Shopp...ategory=Violin
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Old 05-25-08, 12:04 PM   #3
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Actually, I think nekohime hit the nail on the head with her recommendation. My brother used to play violin and viola quite a bit, and got the vast majority of his equipment from SW Strings (they're in mah town!). I remember their customer service being far above par.

I'd recommend calling them, as they are the experts.

Of course, my brother played a long time ago...so their customer service might not be as good now. Who knows?
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Old 05-25-08, 12:23 PM   #4
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Wow, how on earth did it break?

I once had the neck of my violin break off the body while I was playing it, one of the worst moments I can remember. Luckily it was able to be fixed.

No first-hand experience with CF bows here either.

A big +1 on going to the shop. There is a lot of difference between bows, especially on weight distribution and balance, as well as quality. You should play with different ones and see how they feel. Some shops will let you borrow a couple of bows for a few days to try them out. If you are taking lessons, see if you can get some help from your teacher in evaluating them.
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Old 05-25-08, 12:49 PM   #5
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Actually, I think nekohime hit the nail on the head with her recommendation. My brother used to play violin and viola quite a bit, and got the vast majority of his equipment from SW Strings (they're in mah town!). I remember their customer service being far above par.

I'd recommend calling them, as they are the experts.

Of course, my brother played a long time ago...so their customer service might not be as good now. Who knows?
Yeah, SW strings is great--they helped me pick out strings for my e-violin.
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Old 05-25-08, 03:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

Realistically, I am going to the shop, but I wanted to go in with some background knowledge.

So the consensus is no on the CF?
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Old 05-25-08, 03:25 PM   #7
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No first-hand experience with CF bows here either.

A big +1 on going to the shop. There is a lot of difference between bows, especially on weight distribution and balance, as well as quality. You should play with different ones and see how they feel. Some shops will let you borrow a couple of bows for a few days to try them out. If you are taking lessons, see if you can get some help from your teacher in evaluating them.
Ditto. I've played a number of bows, and they are very different in how they respond. Try a few in your price range and see what speaks to you. I know nothing about CF bows, but I would not discount them because they're high tech. We all used to use gut strings wrapped in silver (I still play them), but the new materials are quite good.
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Old 05-25-08, 07:04 PM   #8
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Definitely try the CF, try every bow in town in your price range, and you'll find one that clicks eventually. What shop do you usually go to?
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Old 05-25-08, 07:20 PM   #9
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You still need to say how you broke your bow in half while playing. I've never seen anyone manage that before.
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Old 05-25-08, 07:46 PM   #10
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You still need to say how you broke your bow in half while playing. I've never seen anyone manage that before.
+1. Charlie Daniels would be proud. So would PDQ Bach, for that matter...
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Old 05-25-08, 08:46 PM   #11
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You still need to say how you broke your bow in half while playing. I've never seen anyone manage that before.
Actually, one of my friends has done it in a performance. It's not common, but it isn't totally rare either.

Here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pnV5BXMrAE8 at 1:00

And here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=StBe3m4gI2g&feature=related at the end

And besides, if you're familiar at all with the quartet I was playing, the end is fast, and loud, and I think I might've caught my bow on something.

My official explanation is, of course, that the sheer intensity of my playing shattered the bow.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:12 PM   #12
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Actually, one of my friends has done it in a performance. It's not common, but it isn't totally rare either.

Here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pnV5BXMrAE8 at 1:00

And here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=StBe3m4gI2g&feature=related at the end

And besides, if you're familiar at all with the quartet I was playing, the end is fast, and loud, and I think I might've caught my bow on something.

My official explanation is, of course, that the sheer intensity of my playing shattered the bow.
You must've been playing it REALLY fast and loud, coz in all my years of playing, I've never broken my bow, not even playing loud and fast rock music
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Old 05-25-08, 10:12 PM   #13
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Actually, one of my friends has done it in a performance. It's not common, but it isn't totally rare either.

Here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pnV5BXMrAE8 at 1:00

And here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=StBe3m4gI2g&feature=related at the end
Ahh... I thought you meant that you broke the stick in the middle. Having the hair let go is not so rare.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:27 PM   #14
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Ahh... I thought you meant that you broke the stick in the middle.
I did. But it looked EXACTLY like that because the wooden tip literally snapped off.

Would you like pictures for your viewing pleasure? I can try to get some soon.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:49 PM   #15
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I did. But it looked EXACTLY like that because the wooden tip literally snapped off.

Would you like pictures for your viewing pleasure? I can try to get some soon.
Yes, broken bow pics please, so we can properly mourn the loss of your bow.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:52 PM   #16
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I did. But it looked EXACTLY like that because the wooden tip literally snapped off.

Would you like pictures for your viewing pleasure? I can try to get some soon.
I'm curious. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it was a clean break with the grain that resulted when a hairline fracture let go or that your tip may have actually been a separate piece.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:32 AM   #17
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Sorry for the quality.










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Old 05-26-08, 11:38 AM   #18
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Ouch!
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Old 05-26-08, 11:39 AM   #19
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Ohhh, head break! I see. RIP Mr. Bow.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:41 AM   #20
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I have had lots of weird things break back in the day, all with student instruments though and nothing too expensive:

--I had a bridge snap in half (that was the scariest of all).
--My fingerboard came unglued and fell off (that would have been fun to have a video of).
--And my bow broke in exactly the same way as your photos, but it wasn't even wood--it was that cheap plasticy stuff that student bows are made out of.

I bought a wood bow for $100 and it has lasted me about 15 years or so and now the hair all fell off (without breaking). So, a $100 bow might get you through for a while, but don't count on it forever.

I haven't played since college, though, so I am not up on the current bow trends. I can't imagine owning anything but wood though, so carbon fiber? Err... wha'?
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Old 05-26-08, 11:45 AM   #21
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I have had lots of weird things break back in the day, all with student instruments though and nothing too expensive:

--I had a bridge snap in half (that was the scariest of all).
--My fingerboard came unglued and fell off (that would have been fun to have a video of).
--And my bow broke in exactly the same way as your photos, but it wasn't even wood--it was that cheap plasticy stuff that student bows are made out of.

I bought a wood bow for $100 and it has lasted me about 15 years or so and now the hair all fell off (without breaking). So, a $100 bow might get you through for a while, but don't count on it forever.

I haven't played since college, though, so I am not up on the current bow trends. I can't imagine owning anything but wood though, so carbon fiber? Err... wha'?
My bridge snapped in half too! It is such a scary experience.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:47 AM   #22
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Nice clean break. Since you have nothing to lose and there is a decent amount of surface area on the break, I'd attempt a repair. Just clamp and glue well -- I'll bet it holds. Get a new bow anyway. Everyone should have a spare.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:53 AM   #23
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Old 05-26-08, 11:55 AM   #24
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I have to say though, I'm grateful it was only my bow. Just a couple of months ago, I had a friend that broke her scroll. Like, HOW DO YOU BREAK YOUR SCROLL?!?!
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Old 05-26-08, 12:12 PM   #25
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Nice clean break. Since you have nothing to lose and there is a decent amount of surface area on the break, I'd attempt a repair. Just clamp and glue well -- I'll bet it holds. Get a new bow anyway. Everyone should have a spare.
The balance of the bow would totally change if you do repairs on the head. It'd be usable, but it would never be the same again...
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