What's the best material for bows to be made of?Instruments: Wood/carbon fibre/fibreglass?
From Aysha N
From Tobias SeybNone of the above. Still the best is pernambuco wood.
Posted on September 5, 2008 at 06:07 PM
There is nothing such as "brazil wood", this is only a label for cheap substitute woods for pernambuco.
Second choice would be a carbon bow. Seems they offer mor for the money at lower price levels.
If you need advice, it's a good idea to be more explicit. A pro has other needs than a advanced student or a beginner.
From Brian HongAysha, I have not heard of a bow made by rosewood. That's a first.
Posted on September 5, 2008 at 08:13 PM
The best quality would be wood. Pernambuco, to be exact. That's the strongest, most flexible wood. The next best thing would be brazilwood, but its not as strong nor does it pull as sweet and powerful a sound.
The next tier would be carbon fiber. No carbon fiber bow can match the sound of a pernambuco, but some can go beyond the abilities of a wood stick technique wise.
Do not use fiberglass. Lol. You may like it, but that's the lowest tier and its very weak, though durable. I would upgrade at least to a carbon fiber, specifically bows from the Jon Paul line or the Coda line.
From Andrew VictorWhile the general answer is that a really, really good ("fine") pernambuco bow is to be preferred, there are many really good bows made of other materials.
Posted on September 5, 2008 at 08:08 PM
Sometimes a particular "lesser" bow will be the best of a group of bows for a particular instrument.
Fiberglass bows are generally considered to be the least desirable bows, and are priced accordingly, yet sometimes you can find one that works really well with a particular instrument.
I have had my hands on some "Brazilwood" bows that did a decent job for me (at least on a cello).
Right now I'm using an ARCUS Concerto bow on the violin I'm currently playing (also carrying a Rolland Spiccato, a Vorin, and a Berg Delux in the case.) If I change to a different violin (for one reason or another), I will change out some of the bows in the case for others.
My answer would be try as many bows as you can over a wide price range to see what the differences are and then try to get the best you can afford.
From Dottie CaseAysha, I note from your bio that you've been playing for 11 years. Given that, I'm surprised that you are playing on a fiberglass bow, as they are typically used for early beginners. Has your teacher never suggested an upgrade before this? Just curious...
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 01:40 AM
From Roland GarrisonI had a fiberglass bow I gave to my grandson; he uses it to 'conduct' when I practice.
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 04:33 AM
I had a decent 'brazilwood' bow (there really is no species of tree that gives this type of lumber), and it was decent for me as a student.
I had rosewood bows that came free with a case, and they were worth what I paid; not much more. They tend to twist sideways after you play with them a bit.
I went to a local luthier, and he let me practice with a number of pernambuco bows in my price range. I found one that was much better than any of the bows mentioned above (price range was $100 +/-). I am very happy with that bow; it is light but strong, and I find it very easy to maintain tone from tip to frog.
So, find a good source, but try them out!
From Aysha NHello, thank you all for your responses. Ms Case, no my teacher has never suggested an upgrade, i didn't know fibreglass bows were used mainly for entry level! Are pernambuco bows expensive? I am a student you see, so i don't have a lot of money =(
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 11:26 AM
From Aysha N
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 02:45 PM
From Roland GarrisonPernambuco bows can be expensive, but they start around $100 or so. I am a student also, and when I upgraded my bow to a basic entry level pernambuco, I was really suprised at how much my playing improved.
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 03:53 PM
Comparing a pernambuco bow with a fiberglass bow is similar to comparing a truck with a sports car; the lighter bow is much more nimble, it is easier to keep a consistant tone. I notice it much more at the tip, where I do not have to really change much to keep a volume or tone by changing the pressure I am trying to put on the bow; I can be much smoother because of it.
But, that said, not very bow matches every violin or player. The local shop I used to frequent was not willing to let me try the bows before I bought, and the first one I bought blindly was not as good as the bow i was using. I changed music shops, went to somewhere they let me try the bows on my violin, and from 8 bows in my price range, I was able to pick out the one I felt was best. If my budget was $1500 for a bow, I will go back to the same place; I really appreciated how I was allowed to take my time.
From Andrew VictorIt is not weight, i.e. "lightness" or "heaviness" that makes the difference in what we feel and do with a bow, so much, it is the balance. All violin bows weigh "2 ounces give-or-take," mostly just about 1/7 ounce heavier.
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 08:48 PM
I have had my hands on some pretty bad pernambuco bows - even in the $400 range, which is why I would be very leary of $100 "pernambuco" bows. In that price range, some of the composite (ostensibly carbon-fiber/epoxy) bows are often a better bet.
I had a good adult student who had a W. Seifert bow (a pretty well-known German pernambuco workshop brand) that was an impossible bow for doing a spiccato or sautille stroke. I let her try the Glasser Composite I had at the time and she whipped out a fine spiccato right away. On the other hand I have a W. Seifert viola bow that is better for me on my viola than my Coda Classic or my Arcus Concerto (viola bows all).
In general, really good pernambuco bows provide a bonus for tone quality on some instruments - but I think you have to get above $1,000 to get this benefit by any means other than trial and error and lots-a-luck! And always be sure to take your own instrument along when you shop for bows.
From Aysha NI don't think i'll be able to afford a pernambuco then, my budget is about £40, roughly $70? Low i know, but when you've no cash...! I've seen some carbon fibre bows that have good reviews, i think it's best i go for one of those, just until i can upgrade further?
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 07:42 PM
From Marc BettisAt such a low end-a carbon fiber bow would be a better bet.
Posted on September 6, 2008 at 08:55 PM
Aysha, be aware that your budget for your entire bow is barely more than the cost to rehair it 6 months or so down the line. A rehair in the US usually costs ~$40 USD for labor and hair, for perspective.
From Andrew HollandMarc, even the cheapest violin bows (around $25) at Shar,for example, come with real horsehair.
Posted on September 7, 2008 at 08:20 PM
From Charlie CaldwellFiberglass is probably the best material if you plan on using your bow in a sword fight. Like everyone else, I suggest pernambuco. I was able to get a decent bow for the price at $350.
Posted on September 8, 2008 at 03:15 AM
From Conrad JacobyBow material depends entirely on the conditions under which you are playing. For outdoor or tropical conditions, I used a fiberglass bow for many years, (relatively) recently switching over to a medium-grade carbon fiber bow. For playing an instrument in high school or elementary school conditions, fiberglass or carbon fiber is the way to go.
Posted on September 8, 2008 at 03:54 AM
On the other hand, nothing draws out the best possible sound out of a violin like a good pernambuco wood bow. Cheap ones (e.g., "Chinese pernambuco") are much worse than a comparably priced carbon fiber bow. Good ones, on the other hand, are simply marvelous.
I'd suggest that if your budget is below $400, look for a premium-grade carbon fiber bow. Above that, you can start to find some decent to very decent wooden bows.
From Anthony ChiHas anyone ever heard of bows made from the Manilkara-kauki tree? Here is a link:
Posted on September 9, 2008 at 01:44 PM
Are they any good?
From Aysha NHmm that sounds like a bit like a "brazilwood" bow. But i could be wrong! I now have a premium grade carbon fibre bow, and i love it! Thanks to all for your advice!
Posted on September 10, 2008 at 10:35 AM
From Timothy James DimacaliThe best bows are made out of silk ribbon!
Posted on September 11, 2008 at 10:51 AM
...sorry, couldn't help myself! It was just waiting to be said LOL
From Aysha NHaha, I like that =)
Posted on September 11, 2008 at 05:03 PM
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