Teacher was heading out to the burbs to see the luthier yesterday, and she generously offered to take my bow along. I’m so grateful – it saves me a trip out there! I needed to get the grip re-wound, as the leather has deteriorated with age and is splitting. The wire wrapping is also starting to split, and it is oxidizing with a nice green patina that I’m concerned will go through and damage the wood underneath.
Teacher called me as she left the shop – she informed me that the luthier says my violin bow is actually a viola bow. Apparently the frog on the bows is different (and mine has a violin frog). In addition, viola bows are heavier by a few grams. He called it a “composite,” meaning not the material from which the bow is constructed, but rather it’s a viola/violin bow. But the heart of the bow, the stick, is viola.
I called him up to consult as he requested. He will do the repairs and rehairing and I will continue to play with this bow just fine. The luthier had a preferred way to “fix” it, and I don’t remember what it is – I really trust him to do the right thing, whether just to go all in viola or to stick with the “composite.” Vaguely, it has to do with a choice of materials for winding around the grip of the bow – he could make it heavier or lighter in that way.
I’m a beginner, and perhaps eventually I will get to bowing techniques that have me feeling those extra few grams. But I really don’t think that will be anytime soon. I’m fascinated at how this happened. I myself compared the bow to my rental violin bow and found it identical in every way. The luthier even re-haired it last time. But he was focusing on my violin. Regardless, I’ll head out Tuesday morning to pick it up after we get back from a long weekend vacation – we’re heading to the San Francisco Bay area for a visit.
Thanks for reading.