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Rich music from a hardware-store bow?

William Hayden, professor of violin at the University o! South Florida in Tampa, wanted to make a better bow -- one that beginning students could fiddle with and not break and that wouldn't cost hundreds of dollars. He took a low-tech approach to the problem.

"I went into Ace Hardware, collected parts to assemble, spent a few days creating prototypes, put them to my violin, and started playing - and 1 couldn't believe it:' says Hayden. His instrument took on a brilliant and resonant tone when he first used the new bow last October, he says.

The cost of materials totaled only $6.50, but when Hayden used the new bow at the university recital hall, his colleagues preferred it over his usual $1,300 bow, he says. "Now I play exclusively on my own hardware creation:'

A traditional bow is made of a rod of Brazilian pernambuco wood. Stretched between the ends are horsehairs, which wear out about every two months. Haydens new bow replaces the wood with metal and the hairs with synthetic monofilaments treated with a special chemical preparation.

The bow is "practically indestructible:' and schoolchildren who have tried it are already anxious to use it, he says. Two companies have expressed interest in licensing and marketing the bow. But Hayden says he first wants to try other metals and some high-tech options as he works with an industrial engineer to refine the design.
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Title Annotation:$6.50 violin bow outperforms conventional $1,300 bow
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 12, 1993
Words:235
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