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Re: Fingerboard but not arco friendly strings

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Posted by Bob Gollihur on April 26, 2001 at 07:18:47:

In Reply to: Fingerboard but not arco friendly strings posted by Tony Baluga on April 26, 2001 at 00:43:06:

: Hi All (attention Rich Laird, Bob Gollihur)

: From previous postings I've learned about flatwound vs roundwound strings. My Zeta upright electric appears to be be strung with flatwound strings. They're smooth and appear like solid wires, such as those used for soldering. However, although fingerboard friendly, these flatwound strings are not arco friendly, compared to the roundwound strings on my acoustic upright. Since they're smooth, the bow tends to skid. I am presently using a medium soft rosin, still have to try extra soft and see if it's any better. In the meantime, does anybody out there have any suggestions?

Some strings are simply not arco-friendly, but I would recommend you try different rosins anyway -- I use different ones depending on the weather/humidity. A stickier rosin may be in order; the less "bow-friendly" strings I've played have been scratchy and hard to start, but not so that you skid off them. Corelli and Obligato strings currently on my basses are both quite smooth but still bow-friendly, so the finish isn't a factor there.

: I've been wondering about the horsehair used for the bow. Although there may be other material (nylon?), nothing apparently can replace horsehair. I'd love to be able one of these days to put a strand under a microscope to see what is it that can cause all the sound-producing friction. I've seen guys in the Philippines improvise and use bamboo fibers to bow as there was nothing else.
: Without using a microscope how can you tell whether the bow is horsehair or something else?

That's something I can't help you with, but I will say that the artificial substitutes for horsehair, well, how shall I put it? They suck. Yeah, that's it. IME there is no substitute for real horsehair.

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