Bow Woes

Last night was the last rehearsal of the first third of the LCO season, and the first sight-reading rehearsal for Gounod‘s first symphony, which very few of us know. It’s going to be very pretty. We now have six weeks off.

And because the universe works on the principle of synchronicity and checks and balances, when I went to pack a second back-up bow in my cello case last night I decided to take my heavy viola bow that I bought a couple of years ago to use as a light cello bow, instead of the heavy off-balance cello bow. And I found that the viola bow is broken, too: the ferrule has snapped off the little plate that lines the underside of the frog, where there’s a little tab that slots into the ferrule. It can no longer be tightened.


(In case anyone else is keeping score, that’s two bows broken out of three, and one bow too wonky to use except in emergency (or in case of the Ramones or Metallica). I do have a 3/4 fibreglass bow with zero responsiveness that came with my cello when I bought it from its previous owner; I may have to drag that out to use until my main bow gets properly fixed.)

There really isn’t much point in buying a new bow right now, as I seriously want to start testing new advanced cellos late next spring (payment upon delivery of current book + HRH theoretically will have a permanent job with steady income = money that can be divided between investment and cello), and a bow that suits this cello won’t necessarily suit a more advanced one. Of course, it’s not that I’m planning to buy a cello next year, just to start researching and testing with luthiers, a process that can take ages until I find something really responsive with the tonal colour I like, all in my price range.

Except now I’m working with a main bow that has a cracked frog, one back-up bow that’s broken and unusable, and another back-up bow that has bad balance and hurts my hand as I try to control it. It looks like I’ll have to call my luthier and ask how much it is to replace a frog on a basic no-frills bow.

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