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bows for guitars

Hey Luis,

I've been bowing things for many years and currently own several bows.

A few salient things that might interest you:

1)  Suzuki makes very small bows for their graduated size violins for 
of teaching little kids.     I went into Sylvain music and bought the very 
smallest bow
that they sold for $25 and it has become my favorite of all of my bows (I 
have bass
bows, cello bows,  regular sized violin bows, tiny Suzuki bows and a bowed 
psaltery bow).
It is by far the cheapest bow you can purchase.    I just resin the hell 
of it when playing
bass,  guitar, mandolin, banjo, oud or saz

2)  Barry Cleveland, the fine guitarist and writer for Guitar Player 
magazine just told me he is
saving his money becausea guy in Los Angeles is making a curved fretboard 
a six string normally tuned guitar with a curved bridge that is designed 
expressedly for bowing.
I'll find out more from him about it.   Barry uses a lot of bow on his CDs 
and did the other
night if I"m not mistaken when we played together with Michael Manring and 
Robert Powell.
He has several fine ones out and debuted at the Y2K6 loopfestival last 
and will be playing
again this year,  thankfully     http://www.barrycleveland.com/.

3) Using a traditional guitar,   barr chords and or one of those beautiful 
rolling capos
it's really great to throw a guitar into open tunings so that you can bow 
across the entire
surface of the bow.

4) I use a bowed psaltery bow that I had customized (but which you could 
purchase through
Lark in the Morning in California) that is a bowed symmetrical bow (curved 

I customized mine by going out and finding the thinnest brass plating I 
could possibly find
and then wrapping part of the curved wooden part of the bow.   This 
ersatz slide that allows you to use three techniques in one piece of music
1)  turn it upside down and use it to 'hammer' the strings like a hammered 
    (the small curved body is excellent for bouncing off the strings)
2)  you can just bow the strings conventionally or
3)  you can turn the bow upside down and use the brass portion as a slide

By tuning a mandolin into an open tuning (I'm just in love with DADE 
of it's lydian barr harmonics
and sus2 feel)  you use both hands to play the instrument in a drone line 
fashion (it's great for creating
really intriguing loops that are, nonetheless,  open ended to play 
on top of because they aren't
dense harmonically speaking.    I use a blue plastic tiki martini skewer 
a hammer in one hand
and my psaltery bow in the other to create different kinds of rhythmic or 
pad styled textures.

Additionally, just to make it even more idiosyncratic,  I prepare the 
mandolin with alligator clips and bicycle
chains but then tune it to an open tuning once the instrument is prepared.

It's a great droning timbre with all of these different kinds of strikes.

I just wish that the wonderful Cimbalon player Michael Masley would sell 
inventions..........he has invented
hammered dulcimer hammers that have small curves bow at the very ends that 
velcro onto his fingers.

Check his amazing music out for some ethereal bowed goodness.

and one last thought,    Did you ever see the keyboardist Lyle Mays play 
with Pat Metheny back in the original days of his
quartets on ECM records?      He was fond of tuning an autoharp to open 
tunings,  putting a mic on it and then
occasionally strumming a lush chord over the top of his acoustic piano 
playing with a pic and his left hand.
It was a lovely and ethereal sound.

It occurred to me that the same thing could be done with simple children's 
zithers that are sold lots of places.
These are cheap instrument (usually from $20-$40 each) and they are 
small.................you could
easily put contact mics on a couple of them and tune them to some cool 
chords and just bow them or strike them
at different places during your sets.    Hey,  I think I'm going to do 
right now.  I"ve collected a bunch of them

Good luck with your bowing.

love, Rick