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Old 09-22-2013, 02:05 AM
Jamstrings Jamstrings is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Default Bow for Alto Violin after trials

Apart from other general quality features I noticed that the point of balance is as much if not more important for the Alto as/than the weight. But remember I'm new to all this.

My violin bow (66.7 g, balance at 26.5 cm) works ok.
The other not-so-good one (67 g, balance at 27 cm) works a bit less ok.

One ¾ cello bow from Heaney Violins (¾ Pernambuco cello bow 70.1 g), worked the best out of five that I selected and tried on approval for a week, its balance point was closest to the frog end. Later this felt way too stiff and short because I then tried:

a Chris English viola da gamba Baroque bow snakewood 64? g, from Bill Lazars at Early Music (or something like that) Mountain View, Palo Alto, CA, USA US$1,500 –this was the BEST for me, not just because of the weight I don’t think, it seemed to have the right combination of springiness and stiffness, but I did not want to invest so much so early. Its band of hairs was narrow though. I held it da gamba like ie underhand with one finger pushing the hairs to tension them (I played some instruments like that) but when I forgot and held the bow cellist like it was working just fine.

Then Ben Richard who I called God showed me a selection He’s a principal/professional violist and viola+violin instructor with a super fantastic viola, who enthusiastically played my Alto viola-like-on-arm, da gamba style that he was already used to, cello style which he did not favour, and then continued to be insanely helpful, like most of them at Heaney Violins including especially Patrick Heaney the owner; so please support this business, they’re great people. His choice was what I immediately went for while summarily rejecting the others. jonpaul Viola bow (sandalwood 69.5 g, balance at 26 cm from frog end) $120 Heaney Violins, Mountain View, CA, USA.

The slightly (5%, not always discernable, I was told by jonpaul who was pleased with this range) wider bowhair-band width than violins’ may be important. When bowing, I do see that the band is wider which suits the larger viola strings from what I read up from Googling. Also I don’t know this but wonder whether the makers choose a particular grade/bumpiness of horsehair especially for viola strings. Do you know?

Please see a separate thread re posture that helps with my bow hold.

I read previously about the importance of bows but never experienced it in an impactful way till now. Among other factors, for me this bow DOES make a big difference!
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alto violin, bow balance, bow weight, light viola bow

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