How easily wooden bows brake? Wooden or carbon bows, which to choose?
My daughter has outgrown her 1/16 violin, which she plays with a smallish 1/8 carbon bow (her third bow in growing sizes) and out teacher has selected a 1/8 violin for her which we are going to buy next weekend. She has left it open whether we should buy a wooden or a carbon bow to go along with it. Since the shop is a long way away, we dont have a chance to take anything home and test.
So a wooden bow brakes more easily but gives a better sound Ive understood. Im sort of understanding between the lines that the teacher thinks that my girl might be at the level to take an advantage of the better playing qualities of a wooden bow. (Some might remember from my previous post that she is In Suzuki book 3 with good technique in both hands.) But it is really up to us.
But the wooden bows are more expensive The carbon bows in that particular shop are very good cardon bows.
My question is, how easily the wooden bows brake? My knowledge is very limited when it comes to bows, I play with a Carbondix bow and dont like it, I had previously a carbon bow from this particular shop and it was better, though it didnt stay straight for long enough, so I had to change ( I play very little as Ive grown up with piano and only play to help my daughter)
She has dropped her carbon bows several times, being a normally clumsy 5 year old and they have not broken. Would a wooden bow brake when you drop it? I guess I could teach her to handle the bow better but if its as fragile as the violin, we would be in trouble. But if it gives a better sound maybe it is worth the effort and money?
So our choises are:
-continue with the present bow and dont buy another one at all until her hand grows (and travel there again in a couple of months, plus we need to negotiate a price for the violin as they are sold together with carbon bows)
-buy a wooden bow that is a little bigger that the bow she uses now and switch to it in a month or so. Pay extra.
-buy a bigger carbon bow and switch to it when her hand grows
For background info, the teacher is independent from the shop (its one of the best luthiers in the country, maybe the best) and has only out of kindness chosen the violin on her own time (the violin scene here works very differently compared to the States) the shop has fixed prices for small violins as their main business is in very expensive violins and cellos and dont particularly wellcome small student violin buyers. In adition to selling expensive violins and cellos they make prize-winning cello bows themselves, the small violin bows come from China I think, but are selected well. Im pretty sure they have contacts there since many decades as they seem to get good violins and bows with relatively good prices, the violins in smaller sizes are about 500-600 euros.
Generally, a wooden bow isn't going to break just from being dropped, especially from the heights that a 5 year old can drop it from.
I'd worry more about her dropping the violin.
I was about to suggest that if bow braking is an issue, to suggest buying bows with ABS.
Erik, sorry I wrote unclearly, the wooden bows are more expensive. To tell you the truth I do not know the cost of a wooden bow, the carbons are about 70 euros and they are really good carbons and can be rehaired. The small ones stay in pretty much the same shape regardless of how much they are played, they are branded by the name of the luthier allthough they come from China.
It was just a play on words to lighten up the discussion! :-)
ABS = anti-lock brake system. Used in cars to prevent skidding. (He was joking.)
rompere = break
I always used wood bows as I was growing up (started at 4) and I didn't drop a violin until I was about 10 years old (it broke).
Eccellente analisi, Andrew F.!
The growth problem is why most people rent instead of buying for children. Small-sized instruments and bows have different properties and expectations from full-sized ones (e.g. a shorter bow will tend to be more rigid) so the standards, effort and costs put towards full-sized ones would not be expected or common.
Moneywise renting is not a good idea here.
Don't try this at home...
At the very least the man doing that demonstration should be wearing safety glasses.
I found that in general the smaller carbon fiber bows, if they are decent quality, played better on the small violins. Unless you are willing to invest in quite an expensive wood bow, you are likely to get better quality for the price with a carbon fiber. My kids used carbon fiber bows up to around book 6 -- and my older one until he got a full size. They also hold up better in weather changes, which may or may not be an issue where you live.
Ended up buying the carbon bow, the wooden bow was 100 euros more and did produce a better sound but my girl preferred the sound of the carbon bow. Maybe it was more familiar as its the same make than her current bow.
@Paul - quite! I imagine some materials are capable of exploding in a cloud when destabilised.
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