Compared with the size of the large, medium and violin, the variation of the bow of the large, medium and violin is not so much. The length of the violin bow is approximately 745 mm, and the length of the viola bow is similar or slightly shorter. The table below is for reference:
This is just a simplistic classification of adult bows, and does not list the sizes of various types of children's bows. In addition, the thickness and hardness of the bow rod, the tension of the bow hair, as well as the different wood texture and specific gravity cause various variations in length and weight; or the user's personal preference can affect the above data, and some expansion and contraction changes also are normal and acceptable. For example, different players have different requirements for the feel of the bow's balance point.
In addition, various accessories of the bow, such as ponytail library, winding wire, wrapping, etc., can affect and adjust the balance point of the bow. In terms of production, the wood is lighter in weight, so the bow head can be made heavier; otherwise, the bow head should be made slightly lighter.
Generally speaking, the middle and upper grade bows are made of silver as hardware accessories; the lower cheap bows are made of nickel. The highest grade low bows will use karat gold hardware and ebony or ivory or tortoiseshell for the ponytail. Back then, the bow masters in France and the United Kingdom liked to use this precious material to decorate their highest-quality bows, and sometimes they even put delicate floral patterns on the ponytail library, which made people love it. Bows of this type are now highly sought-after treasures by many collectors.
2. What are the types and styles of violin bows?
Formally speaking, there are not many types of violin bows. Basically, it can be divided into two types: French and German. Each violin bow has its corresponding Baroque violin bow. In addition, there are bows for children of all ages.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, in order to more faithfully interpret the sound effects of chords and harmony in Bach's violin repertoire, players have invented bows with a bow that arches upwards and approximates a semicircle. This bow has various forms, some of which are extremely simple. , the two ends of a single arc-shaped bow are tied to the ponytail; some mechanical structures are very complex, and the tension of the ponytail can be adjusted at any time. The strings are played with bows, so that the three notes (three strings) or even four notes (four strings) of the chords in the music can be played at the same time, and the chord sound can be played at the same time, so as to achieve the brilliant effect of a pipe organ. This bow has a special name: the Bach bow.
In terms of materials: there are miscellaneous wood bows, mahogany bows, Brazilian wood bows, snake wood bows, iron wood bows, and Panambuco (sum wood) bows. In addition, modern bows include carbon wire bows, carbon fiber bows and veneer carbon fiber bows. 90% of high-end bows are made with Phranambuco.
The middle and lower grade bows are made of gleaming, wenge, brazilian rosewood or other hardwoods such as rosewood, ironwood, and quince. Generally speaking, the material with the best tone in the bow must be Panambuco, but even Panambuco has a great difference in quality. There are more than 50 species of Panambuco, which can be found Top-of-the-line materials are just a tiny part of it. Therefore, there is a huge difference in sound and performance including price.
Another thing that affects the grade of the bow is the material used for its accessories. Common materials used for bow accessories are: gold, silver, white copper (nickel) ivory, ebony, tortoiseshell, horn, horn and so on. Generally speaking, makers in various countries are happy to use some precious materials to decorate their highest-grade fine bows for their proud products. Sometimes the ponytail library is inlaid with exquisite and unique fancy patterns, which makes people love it. This kind of boutique is often the treasure that collectors are looking for at a high price.
However, in terms of the practical significance of playing, gold and other accessories are not necessarily more advantageous than ordinary silver accessories. The ebony ponytail library of silver accessories is more loved by European and American players. Recently, some bow makers themselves are lacking in their own skills. To attract attention by adding valuable accessories, of course, can only deceive some laymen. The core value of a truly good bow lies in the material of the bow, reasonable design, exquisite craftsmanship and excellent performance.
3. Daily maintenance of the violin bow
What should I pay attention to when tightening and handling a violin bow?
To preserve the value and performance characteristics of a violin bow for a long time, the most important thing is: do not pull the bow too tight, and do not forget to loosen the strings after playing. As a rule of thumb, there should be a narrow finger width between the stick and the hair. It makes a lot of sense to include your violin bows in regular inspections and at least the ones that are played regularly to the violin maker or bowmaker. This way, even minor defects and wear on the stretching screw can be detected in time before damage is caused.
How to clean a violin bow?
The first and best way to clean and maintain a violin bow is to wipe the dust off the bow after each use. A soft cloth made of microfiber or other material, such as a simple household duster, will reliably remove fresh dust while also slightly polishing the surface of the stick. Small bits of rosin in the mulch can usually be easily combed out with an old toothbrush. One particular type of dirt on a violin bow is hand sweat and numerous fatty compounds. Especially for students with uncertain right-hand positions, the strings in the frog area can quickly become greasy and no longer accept rosin, which can severely limit the usability of the violin bow. To remove these marks and restore the bowstring to good condition, it is recommended to wash the strings. The same measurement method is also useful if a long-used rosin is replaced by a new rosin whose properties are significantly different from the previous rosin.
To wash out the thread, first unscrew the set screw completely and remove the frog from the pole. Make sure that the fur on the frog's body and the tip of the fur are not loaded in the same direction as it would normally be used, and that the loose ropes are not twisted. Now wash off the old rosin with cleaning alcohol, provided in a small suitable container, in a careful, massaging motion. Great care needs to be taken here as the alcohol cannot come into contact with the pole, otherwise permanent damage will occur. In the second operation, other dirt, especially grease, is removed with a little soap or shampoo and water. Finally, carefully dry the bow hair with a cloth, put the frog back in place, and secure it with the set screw. To speed up the drying process and restore the correct position of the hair, it is advisable to comb the bow with a fine comb or an old toothbrush. After an appropriate drying time, the beads can be covered with rosin again.
How to properly colophonize a violin bow?
The easiest and best way to do this is to stroke the rosin back and forth with a normally tensioned lid. Contrary to a common myth, the direction of the bow does not matter when the violin bow is tied. Most musicians make quick, short strokes on the bow frog and tip, and then a few strokes across the bow. When washing the yarn, the distribution of the yarn in the series should be uniform, and the amount should be appropriate, which depends on many individual circumstances. Not every guitar will respond the same to any given bow, with the exact same amount of rosin; however, an experienced musician will feel that he needs more bows for which situation Thorough rosin, and for how long. A very effective way to wash yarn is to powder the rosin with an old toothbrush and apply it to the bow hairs. However, this method is only recommended for new, completely untuned bowed strings, and in the case of used strings, a lot of rosin can negatively affect the sound.
Which rosin is suitable for a violin bow?
First up: French "Bernardel" rosin has proven its worth in everyday use on online retailer Corilon violins. But opinions about the best rosin can be even more different than opinions about the right strings – each violinist’s individual playing requirements and the structural characteristics of the bow and instrument play an important role in the choice of rosin, as well as It is related to the room conditions in which the music is played. Many musicians use different rosins in summer and winter, and also in compositions with different musical characteristics. For these reasons, some manufacturers offer several different rosin products, and it is only by trial and error on the violin bow that the ideal solution can be found. Quite a few string players even try a different mix for each occasion. Generally speaking, it pays to invest a little more money in rosin and get a high-quality product. After all, rosin is the material that has the earliest and most direct influence on the sound of the violin.
How often should the hair or strings of a violin bow be refreshed?
Therefore, there is no fixed rule for this question, and a reference material must be replaced in which interval. Professional musicians tend to trim bows two or three times a year, and for amateurs, trimming every few years is also useful. The sound making of the bow is a fairly complex process based on the attachment of colloidal hairs on the strings. The tail hair of certain breeds of horses is selected as the bow hair, which is particularly suitable for uniform and long-lasting absorption in the intestinal tract due to its surface structure. After long-term use, the microscopic scales on the bow hair can no longer fully play this role, which immediately affects the playing and sound characteristics of the violin bow.
How to deal with loose or torn bow hairs?
The strings of a violin bow usually consist of 150 to 170 bow hairs – so if an individual bow hair becomes loose or breaks, it should never be used as a reason to restring it immediately. These normal signs of wear do not in any way affect the playing characteristics of the violin bow. But it's important not to tear this hair off the tip or the frog's fixture, but to cut it as short as possible with a sharp knife or very sharp scissors. The bow hairs are tied to the ends of the rope, and when individual hairs are pulled out with force, the connection loosens.
Music is the sound of thinking.