Leaned about a new instrument today. Thanks for posting.
Recommendations for a bow to play a Violin Uke
It went fairly well. As I was progressing on each string and yes, each string had to be tuned, I had to go back and re-tune the previous strings as they loosened up! I tuned them a bit sharp in case they decide to loosen up a bit. Since it hadn't been tuned in over 50 years it seems to sound pretty good for a violin uke
Here is a picture:
updated by @patty-from-virginia: 09/30/15 06:22:42PM
Oh yes! Rosin. Got to have that. In fact I received instructions inside my pack of synthetic horse hair on how to prime the hair with rosin before doing it the regular way of sliding the bow strings across the rosin bar. Yep, it's necessary for sure. I can see where waxed dental floss could be a problem...maybe not for teeth but for sure as a bowing implement.
Patty, I wasn't suggesting that a hairy Popsicle stick would be superior to an actual bow. I'm sure the Stephen Scott Ensemble used such because when you have ten people hunched inside one grand piano, each sawing away at their assigned strings, there isn't room for anything larger! IIRC the Tarahumara (indigenous peoples of Mexico's Copper Canyon region) fiddlers use cornhusk 'bows'. I am intrigued by the concept of a flat stick with horsehair (or the thin leaves of silicon-rich horsetail ferns) glued down, or other raspy natural materials, for use in bowing strings. Just curious.
k0k0peli, I looked into using a stick to flex and tie horse hair on it but I wanted to do something special for my neighbors. That's why I decided to make a psaltery bow. When I did research on bows for the violin uke and psaltery I did come across instructions for making a simple bow. (http://dennishavlena.com/psaltery.htm ) I'm not sure how well a Popsicle stick would work as it is very short and I don't think it would be that easy to put string on it without having to cut slots etc. Just my uneducated opinion. Other than the scroll saw (I already had one) I didn't spend that much money making the bow. I already had tung oil, sand paper, fine steel wool and paste wax from a previous project. I didn't spend much on the synthetic hair, rosin, glue and poplar wood. In fact, I purchased an extra piece of poplar wood just in case I messed up. It wasn't expensive at all.
updated by @patty-from-virginia: 09/26/15 12:06:10PM
A few decades ago the music professor / composer Stephen Scott developed a bowed piano technique "which involves a grand piano [played by] musicians who utilize lengths of horsehair, nylon filament, and other utensils to bow the strings of the piano, creating an orchestra-like sound." I recall that many of the original 'bows' were Popsicle sticks with horsehair glued down. Has anyone here tried such minimal bows? They should be rather inexpensive, yes?
Another alternative would be to get an inexpensive 3/4 size violin bow like those that are used for kids learning Suzuki method. Those work well for a ukelin and shouldn't cost over $20 or $30.
More information on ukelins here: http://www.studiobobo.com/ukelin/playing.html#anchor1401612
A psaltery bow yes, would be ideal! It's more more nimble and light than even a short violin bow. The bow hair should be laid out in a small round 'rope' shape rather than a violin bow flat wide 'tape' shape...which I found gets caught on the zither pins too often when jumping quickly between the pins, as in bowed psatery playing.
In a pinch, for a rustic 'disposable' bow- you can even take an arched bent green branch between 1/4"-3/8" thick, cut deep notches at both ends, and set a hank of bow hair in it. Tie a knot at one end of the hair hank and lay it into one notch. Comb the hair straight without handling it in the middle (no finger grease!)...pull it to a good tension and lay it in the other notch by tying another knot at that end. Once you have it nicely set and tensioned to your liking, you can put a dot of glue on each knot to keep it in place well. Rosin it up very well to start with, then lightly thereafter.
You can buy black stallion horsehair hanks already measured and knotted at one end on Ebay, not that expensive. You can use a whole hank for a rustic bow, or half a hank if you want a thinner hair 'rope'. Some folks make a slight twist in the hair 'rope' when setting the hair in. I found that works well when making twisted horsehair strings, and personally I like non-twisted hair for bows.
I've found that such rustic 'bent stick/hank of hair' bows work surprisingly well and are kind of fun for psalteries, rebecs, jouhikkos, etc. If you use an underhand grip to bow (as with a jouhikko/tagelharpa) you can leave the hair more slack because you tension the hair while playing, with your bow grip hand.
Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
I have a neighbor who has a Violin Uke. Yes, that is what it's called. The original bow is damaged. I would like to get him a bow so he can play the instrument. Would a Psaltery bow be acceptable? Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Also, it has zither pins. I'm guessing it may be out of tune. Would a modern zither tuning key work on it?
Here is a video of someone playing a Violin Uke:
updated by @patty-from-virginia: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM