How to Choose a Bow to Use It In a Fiddle Contest

When considering the best bow for fiddling, iit may seem that every fiddle player has a different opinion. Choosing a bow is a very personal decision. Fiddle music is very demanding and a having a responsive bow is a must. I have observed that fiddle players use everything from the most inexpensive bows to fine old French bows valued at over $ 20,000.

One option that is becoming very popular is carbon fiber bows. The advantages to carbon fiber bows are that they are very stable, difficult to break and do not warp. A favorite carbon fiber bow is the CodaBow brand. CodaBow makes several models which are designed to accommodate many different levels of players.

When playing demanding fiddle tunes, a bow with a strong stick may seem to perform best for many players. Keep in mind that the stronger the stick, the less hair tension is needed. Each bow will dictate, depending upon strength of the stick and its camber (the arch in the bow), how tight it needs to be. A common mistake is to tighten the bow so much that it becomes bouncy and hard to control. There is no rule about how tight a bow should be. Again, it depends upon the individual bow and the player's preferences.

A common mistake is to put too much rosin on the bow. Many players and teachers feel that they should rosin the bow every time they play. This is not the case. Rosin should be used to help the bow grip the string. If you find a white cloud of it coming off the bow hair when you play, then you are using too much. With rosin, generally less is more. If you feel the hair slipping on the string then apply more of it sparingly until you feel the bow grip the string.

It is important to remember to loosen the bow when you are done playing. When tension is left on the hair, it will stretch. Once the hair is too stretched out your bow will no longer tighten. If you can not tighten the bow, do not force it. Take it in to you local luthier for a rehair. Many bows have been damaged by trying to force them to tighten. The other reason for loosing the hair is to let the stick relax back into it's natural cambered shape. If a bow is left tight for too long it will lose its camber and can warp.