CF bow breaking from dropping

October 27, 2018, 8:03 PM · I own a carbon fiber bow in the $100 range and in numerous times people complemented it — including my violin teacher and my conductor at school. I’ve dropped it numerous times already but no more than from the height of the hip, and its fallen from chairs. Do CF bows break easily? How can I tell if, in a way, may bow may be broken. Going to a luthier isn’t an option, I’m sorry.

Replies (11)

October 27, 2018, 8:11 PM · Well, the first thing is rather obvious. Don't drop it and don't leave it places where it could fall or get stepped/sat on.

Second, yes, carbon fiber can break. It's not invincible, but it's tougher than wood.

Look for cracks around the tip (where it curves to the straight part of the stick) and where the hair is set in the tip.

Check the frog if it falls on that end and see if it's coming off of the stick.

October 27, 2018, 9:42 PM · That kind of abuse probably won't damage real CF, but CF is not entirely invulnerable. If it's a CF-fiberglass blend, it might be more breakable, if far less so than wood.
October 28, 2018, 6:11 AM · The shaft may be carbon fiber, but the frog is still ebony which chips easily when dropped. Also the tongue that the ferrule sits on can break, having an effect on function. These are good bows to learn proper awareness, maintenance, and care on so when you get a good wood bow you don't break it. The stick will probably hold up to a several drops, but not indefinitely, you could be creating hard to detect micro fractures. One day it'll break, I've seen it happen enough times.
Edited: October 28, 2018, 2:21 PM · What makes you think it may be broken? If it was broken, surely you would see it. If you dropped it MANY times, perhaps you need to be more careful though. That being said, don't feel bad we all drop bows from time to time no matter the amount of care, and each time my heart misses a few beats! If you break your bow, it's barely the cost of a rehair to replace it; things would be a lot different however if it was worth a few thousand dollars. It always freaks me out when I see players leaving their bows on their stand, and hanging their instrument by the scroll or leaving it on a chair during orchestral breaks, but people do. (Rings a bell?)
October 28, 2018, 4:28 PM ·
October 28, 2018, 6:19 PM · I practice in a basement room with a 7-foot ceiling. Slamming my bow tip into the ceiling tile damaged the plastic tip plates on two bows. I sit to practice now. Like Lydia says, the CF part may be very strong indeed, but there are other parts that can be fragile, and the tip plate is one of the most fragile of all. It would be better if CF bows could be designed to have aluminum or nickel tip plates. There would need to be adjustment of weight elsewhere, but that should not be difficult.
October 28, 2018, 7:28 PM · Thanks for the responses! I asked because turning the screw gives some resistance and it wasn’t as smooth anymore, and I thought it might be because I dropped it a couple of times.
October 28, 2018, 8:03 PM · It may be, you can unscrew the frog completely and examine the screw for damage. While you're at it, you could rub a little hand soap on it from a soap bar to smooth things out. That's what my luthier does.
October 29, 2018, 3:59 AM · Stop dropping your damn bow.
Edited: October 29, 2018, 12:54 PM · A touch of petroleum jelly (i.e., Vaseline) or a few rubs of pencil graphite on the screw can also lube it.

Getting proper safe treatment and handling of your violin and bow into habit mode should be one of the first things you learn. That way when someone puts a Stradivarius violin or a Kittel or Tourte bow into your hands you will realize that you know exactly how to handle it without even thinking about it.

October 31, 2018, 11:49 PM · Thanks for all the responses! Adding soap to the screw did miracles and I no longer have a hard time turning the screw. However, when I saw the hidden part of the frog, it was like full of rust and other like dusty stuff on it.

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