Does old bow wood change over time?
Does the pernambuco change and improve over time in the same way that violin wood does? Does this happen irrespective of playing, or does playing itself change the pernambuco?
Are great old bows so good just because they where made that way or have they got better over time?
Personally I prefer the colours that old bows draw but I do have some modern bows from the 20th century in my collection that are also fine.
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No. That's why good classic bows in very good condition due to being used very little will cost a mint.
I believe that they do change. Not necessarily with playing but because the wood becomes less green over time.
Yes they do age, not necessarily to the better, but there is no such thing as playing in for bows.
What Luis wrote is similar to what I have heard from pros. I've been told that great old bows get "soft" over time with more playing and eventually become unplayable. I believe that is also why people who use such bows in performance will not practice or teach with them. Well they don't teach with their priceless Italian antique violins usually, either, but i believe with bows it goes beyond not wanting to risk breakage or loss.
I would think that it depends on the wood...
Like violin wood I would assume pernambuco must lose its moisture over time.It would be nice to hear from a bow maker on this topic.
I have asked that question to several great bow makers in the past and their answer was NO, apart from the color change in the stick produced by oxidation, which makes them darker.
The modern bow makers would be likely to tell you there is no advantage to older bows, wouldn't they???
Upon this topic, my luthier (who is also a bow maker: i own 5 bows made by him) says that, apart moisture, a piece of wood that gets bent over many years (like it happens in bows) makes the wood harder, the same way how it happens with metals, that are bent back and forth many many times to make the material harder.
Thats exactly what I always thought to be true!
Marc. That is my experience also.
Actually I think it's just the opposite from violin makers. They don't say it will sound better with the years, they say that the sound a new bow produces will not change, that what you hear is what you will have in the future. And apparently was enough to convince players like Zukerman, Mutter or Rachlin -to name just a few- who perform only with modern bows.
So 5% of top performers prefer modern, so that proves modern is better, yeah right!!
Out of curiosity I did some online research about wooden archery bows, and looked for user experiences and opinions about whether they fatigue with time and use. I found a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that as long as they're not over stressed and are given appropriate care they can last for decades of use, and maybe more, without a diminution of their "pull weight." And archery bows are STRESSED SO MUCH MORE than violin bows. I'm doubtful that violin bows fatigue with anything like normal use.
I am not saying modern bows are better neither I am trying to make any statictics about how many players use them. My point is that if they are good enough for those soloist that may mean they can be comparable to the good old ones. And that is what in my humble experience over the years I have tested myself. The OP asked if wood in bows change with time and that is why old bows sound better. Well, the answer from some of the best bow makers -not me- was NO, they don't change, and many players -including me- think that not always an old bow pulls better sound from every violin than a modern one. Of course I am talking about the very top makers who also have the best pernambuco storaged.
I think this thread has drifted a little. This is not a new vs old debate. What I was interested in is whether top bow bows, Pecatte etc, were always superb, or have they got even better or stayed the same over time. I suspect the former.
I seem to remember reading somewhere, that older bows have stiffened with time in a good way. If I can find the source in time, I'll cite it.
I Broke a bow out of boredom once. It was baaad . Plz don't ban me.