Do you have a wolf note your violin? And which note is it?
We have talked about this issue before, but I wanted to get more specific about it. A wolf note or wolf tone is a note that sounds fuzzy and unclear, no matter what you do, and it usually occurs on the G string. It's always on the same note, but the note varies from violin. Some lucky folks have no wolf tone on their fiddle (I really don't have one) but even people with very fancy fiddles (like Stradivari) report persistent wolf notes.
Do you have such a note on you violin, and what note is it, what string? Have you tried any remedies, like changing strings or tensions or attaching a gadget to your fiddle?
I still remember the first non-wood bow I used -- a fiberglass monster that belonged to my public highschool, which I simply left at school so I wouldn't have to bring my "good bow."
Indestructible, yes, but it had all the warmth of a plastic coathanger and it handled with the elegance of a fly swatter.
I promptly wrote off all bows not made of wood.
Then came the premiere of Coda Bow some 20 years ago, and I still remember receiving word of it. I could see that much thought had gone into its conception and production, and I started to re-evaluate my opposition to non-wood bows.
But my head really turned a few months ago, when I picked up a bow by Berg Bows, the Tourte-Voirin model by Michael Duff. It felt good, handled great. Extremely great, in fact. And there is artistry in the construction of it.
It seems to me that carbon fiber bows -- and bows made of other fibers -- are beginning to be a viable alternative to wood, not just for students, but also for professionals. I'm not proposing the wholesale dismissal of pernambuco bows, please don't get me wrong. But the artificial bows have made great strides.
In fact, a number of my students have bought CodaBows (one has a "Diamond"), because for the money, it handled better than wooden bows we tried in the same price range. The carbon fiber bow also had the side benefit of standing up to weather and how shall we say? The enthusiasm of a child!
Here are links to a number of makers of carbon fiber, graphite, etc., bows, besides the ones mentioned above:
They aren't all created equal, to be sure. And my list is not complete -- please feel free to add to it.
What are your thoughts? If you had a pile of cash to buy a bow tomorrow, would you get a pernambuco bow, or a carbon fiber bow? (And basically I mean wood or not-wood). And please feel free in the comment section to describe your experience with wood vs. carbon fiber bows, and add to this list of non-wood bows, or link to your favorite bowmaker.
More entries: January 2011
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