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    Kevin DeSilva
    • Contribution Score 70

    Hi everyone,

    During practice, I am observing a few things that I feel should not be happening and am unsure how to correct.

    Apparently, I am living with a break-dancing Bow …. it bounces on the up stroke for 2/3 the length of the bow … the hair does not leave the strings but I am observing the stick bouncing as if it was on a trampoline.

    The second curious thing is an awful “scratching” sound … hmmm … how would I describe this …

    It usually happens on the D String … not a clear note at all … like grating fingernails on a chalkboard …

    My Bow grip is loose … thumb is bent, pinky is bent, all fingers are loosely holding the bow as if it were a Faberge Egg

    I am not contacting two strings – although, sometimes, it sounds like it … really is a horrendous sound … like a fantasy Ogre chewing up the bones of some unfortunate adventurer.

    The Violin and Bow I am using have been in storage for over 10 years … the bow was not loosened before putting away for 10 years … it does not appear warped and still has moderate flexibility (is is a wooden bow) …. the horse hair is 95% intact although it is a creamy white in colour.

    Ah! … it will make a similar sound if I am bowing too slowly … if that helps.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Dianne Adkins
    • Contribution Score 325

    Hi Kevin

    I think the weird sound you are experiencing is a ‘wolf tone’. The following video gives an example of the sound, which with a little experimentation, you will find happens on one note on your violin. Depending upon who you ask, you’ll get different suggestions about how to solve the problem of a wolf tone on your instrument. In general, it is a permanent flaw. If you are playing this instrument professionally, you’ll probably want to make plans to replace it. The end of this video (if your ears can tolerate listening to the end) has a list of suggested solutions for fixing a wolf tone. Before you spend a lot of money on solutions that might not work, I suggest showing the instrument to a luthier and get a pro opinion on whether it can be remedied and whether the cost of fixing it would be more expensive than the value of the violin itself.

    As to the bouncing bow, this is more difficult to assess. Even knowing the bow is literally made to bounce, it seems unusual that it would spontaneously begin bouncing from the tip, during an up bow. Generally, assuming it’s not something with the bow itself, I would suggest really experimenting with this problem too. See if you can isolate when it happens. At a certain point in the music? A particular bow speed? is there something happening in the bow arm (weight, speed) when you begin the bow stroke that initiates the bounce? Do you see the bow bouncing or do you hear it bouncing? Does it happen on all strings?

    You mentioned the bow was not stored properly for several years. Is the bow begin over tightened now to make up for the loose bow hair? Does the bow maintain a curve (inward, toward the bow hair) when the bow hair is tightened? Try bowing with the first finger lifted off the stick. Does the bouncing still happen?

    Here’s the wolf tone video:

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