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Question about Bows
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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 14, 2014 - 1:07 pm
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I just was curious..

With my new Gliga I had some store credit with "Guitar Center" in Orlando so I used that credit to purchase a couple of "Carbon Fiber" bows. One is a "Primier" CF bow and the other is a brand called "P&H" it's called the "London" model.

Both are good bows I guess, but the more I've been using them the less I like them. The P&H bow, it feels stiffer, but it's also really bouncy and kinda "warbles" or is sorta flimsy. The other one the "Primier" is just too light, although it feels stiffer than the other. I feel like with this bow it's lighter, so, maybe I'm pressing down to hard and I feel it gives me a gritty, scratchy tone, but at the same time it's kinda skittish I feel like I have to work a bit harder to bow with this one.

Anyways, with my original super cheap fiddle came a typical wooden bow. I'm assuming it's Mahogany or Brazilwood, it's very cheap, has a plastic frog. But you know what? I feel I can pull better tone with it, it seems to be a bit heavier and more balanced. So, I havent' been using these 2 new ones.... I rather like my old one LOL.

Do I just need to break in the other bows and be patient? I mean, the bows weren't expensive at all, about $79.99 a piece. So, I dunno.....do any of you guys prefer the feel and tone of a wood bow over the CF? I mean, I've heard alot of things about the CF bows but maybe I'm leaning more towards becoming a wood bow guy? I hate to just have these CF bows around, brand new and not use them. So, should I stick with them and just be patient or?

 

Curious, any thoughts? These are the only 3 bows I've ever owned in my life so I have literally no idea! LOL

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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happyjet
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November 14, 2014 - 2:36 pm
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Generally, carbon fiber bows are better than Mahogany or Brazilwood bows but the best bow is the one that suites the player the best.

If you like the cheap wooden bow then use that.

I prefer carbon fiber bows more.

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 14, 2014 - 2:42 pm
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happyjet said
Generally, carbon fiber bows are better than Mahogany or Brazilwood bows but the best bow is the one that suites the player the best.

If you like the cheap wooden bow then use that.

I prefer carbon fiber bows more.

What about "Permabuco" bows? I just want to make sure that maybe it's not something technique related......I mean it may be. Maybe these new CF bows are exposing a weakness in my bowing that I haven't realized yet. Then again, I've only been playing for 7 months so...

For some reason I feel like I'm able to pull better tone and smoother bowing with the cruddy wood bow that I have.....

Maybe I just need to get used to the new bows spend a little more time with them. I mean, it's not like I can't play with them, I can, but something about my wood bow floats my boat right now.

But if using the CF bows will help me to bow better and improve, I should use those.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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happyjet
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November 14, 2014 - 2:50 pm
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Pernambuco bows are made form the same tree as Brazilwood bows. Pernambuco comes from the denser, slow growing heartwood of the tree, and brazilwood comes from the less dense portion.

Have a look at this website. http://www.masterhandviolin.co.....Blog5.html

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 14, 2014 - 2:54 pm
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happyjet said
Pernambuco bows are made form the same tree as Brazilwood bows. Pernambuco comes from the denser, slow growing heartwood of the tree, and brazilwood comes from the less dense portion.

Have a look at this website. http://www.masterhandviolin.co.....Blog5.html

Very cool....I had absolutely NO idea they were actually the same tree. Thanks for posting.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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happyjet
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November 14, 2014 - 3:14 pm
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No problem. Glad it helped.

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

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Uzi
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November 14, 2014 - 4:55 pm
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Regarding the bow material, like @happyjet said, it's a personal thing. However, the bow that feels unbalanced to you, probably isn't the right bow for you, regardless of what it's constructed from. The material a bow is made from, though, does affect the amount of bounciness the bow has on the strings , the stiffness or suppleness of the bow and other characteristics. 

Interestingly (at least to me) Pernambuco was not originally used for bow making, but rather for making dye. Later, bow makers discovered that it was excellent for making bows, but by the early 19th century, the supply of pernambuco was depleted and nearly impossible to obtain.  This lead to the search for alternative materials. The renowned luthier and bow maker Vuillaume in France started producing bows from rolled steel.  Paganini tried them and began using them extensively. Controversy, of course, surrounded the use of that unconventional material.

Again, the supplies of pernambuco are depleted and pernambuco is a protected species.  I believe that all true pernambuco bows are made from already existing stocks of old wood.   As a result, makers are again attempting to discover alternatives.  Carbon fiber certainly seems more suitable for the job than rolled steel (like a penny whistle), but it's not going to be the same as pernambuco. Still, I have one pernambuco and two carbon fiber bows and find that I use the CF bows most often. The Fiddlerman CF bows are well balanced, responsive and nearly indestructible.  I know that many people also love Coda CF bows, but they are a bit more spendy and I haven't tried them.   

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Fiddlerman
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November 14, 2014 - 5:24 pm
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A CF bow that costs $70 will be way better than any wood bow around the same price. Once you get into the expensive Pernambuco bows you'll find some that are better. No guarantees that you will prefer them either. I have some bows that are valued in the thousands of dollars that I used in my professional career but once I got used to my Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber bow, I'm only using that one now a days. Another reason is that it's easier to through my CF bows away and grab a new one when there is no longer any hair left on them. :) Whoever you buy a bow from should allow you to return it if you're not satisfied. There is no harm in testing one if you suspect that you will prefer it.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Uzi
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November 14, 2014 - 8:42 pm
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Fiddlerman said
A CF bow that costs $70 will be way better than any wood bow around the same price. Once you get into the expensive Pernambuco bows you'll find some that are better. No guarantees that you will prefer them either. I have some bows that are valued in the thousands of dollars that I used in my professional career but once I got used to my Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber bow, I'm only using that one now a days. Another reason is that it's easier to through my CF bows away and grab a new one when there is no longer any hair left on them. :) Whoever you buy a bow from should allow you to return it if you're not satisfied. There is no harm in testing one if you suspect that you will prefer it.

Ain't that the truth.  I took my grandson, who has been playing viola for about 7 years now, to a local string shop to test out bows.  All of them cost several hundred dollars.  He went through about a dozen, including some Codas.  When we left I asked if he was impressed by any of them.  He said, he didn't see or feel any improvement over what he's using now -- a FM carbon fiber viola bow.  He said, just get me another FM carbon fiber bow and I'll keep the one I'm using as a backup.  I gave him the new one last week. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Mark
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November 14, 2014 - 11:13 pm
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Eric, I am certainly no expert on bows but  my limited obervation and experience is that no two bows are alike, and I use to scoffed when people told me bows were different that they played and also sound different. I have a 100 year old permboco bow that came with my fiddle and a new Brazil wood bow that I paid 175 dollars for  5 to 7 years ago and they have a completely different tone that they produce. The Brazil wood is a darker sound and not as powerful where the permbuco has a more bright sound and projects better in my opinion. They even have to be tensioned very different for me to play them the Brazil wood bow I can play with the hairs about a pencil tight from the wood the permabuco has to be tighter or it bounces like jumping bean both needed rehaired so Instead I ordered a FM carbon fiber bow this morning to try. It's just about the same price as a rehair and several folk here love there FM carbonfiber bow so I figure its worth trying! If not for comparison sake and see what kind of a tone it produces

 

Mark

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 15, 2014 - 11:38 am
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Mark_1 said
Eric, I am certainly no expert on bows but  my limited obervation and experience is that no two bows are alike, and I use to scoffed when people told me bows were different that they played and also sound different. I have a 100 year old permboco bow that came with my fiddle and a new Brazil wood bow that I paid 175 dollars for  5 to 7 years ago and they have a completely different tone that they produce. The Brazil wood is a darker sound and not as powerful where the permbuco has a more bright sound and projects better in my opinion. They even have to be tensioned very different for me to play them the Brazil wood bow I can play with the hairs about a pencil tight from the wood the permabuco has to be tighter or it bounces like jumping bean both needed rehaired so Instead I ordered a FM carbon fiber bow this morning to try. It's just about the same price as a rehair and several folk here love there FM carbonfiber bow so I figure its worth trying! If not for comparison sake and see what kind of a tone it produces

 

Mark

Cool, let me know how it goes...

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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rockinglr33
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November 18, 2014 - 9:28 pm
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humm intersting topic. I've been browsing the wood bows myself. Though just online, i have to wait a few more months until i'm able to go to a brick and mortar store to just test out some wooden ones. Though i can say i have a FM CF bow and i love it! much better then the student one i bought with my violin. I'll have to keep ya'll thoughts in mind when i do some browsing :D thanks for asking such an interesting question!

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 19, 2014 - 11:35 am
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rockinglr33 said
humm intersting topic. I've been browsing the wood bows myself. Though just online, i have to wait a few more months until i'm able to go to a brick and mortar store to just test out some wooden ones. Though i can say i have a FM CF bow and i love it! much better then the student one i bought with my violin. I'll have to keep ya'll thoughts in mind when i do some browsing :D thanks for asking such an interesting question!

I have 2 CF bows, and they are ok. I lean more towards the "P&H" CF bow...I'm sure Fiddlerman is probably familiar with it or tested it at some point. It's not too bad and I've been playing ti more to try and get used to it. Even so, I feel the weight of my wood bow seems to help me get a better tone....something about it.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Fiddlerman
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November 19, 2014 - 8:52 pm
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You are right Eric. I've tried the P&G Carbon Fiber bow but to be completely honest, I like the look but I didn't like the feel all that much. Possibly they differ from bow to bow. I know that our carbon fiber bow is hand made in China and obviously differ slightly.
When we first ordered our bows I had some tweaks but since my requests were met, I couldn't be happier with the feel. I guess, my tweaks, suit my style:) I wish we had a better stamp/print but that would require a higher investment which I don't consider worthy of the extra cost.
What's your other carbon fiber bow?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 19, 2014 - 9:18 pm
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Fiddlerman said
You are right Eric. I've tried the P&G Carbon Fiber bow but to be completely honest, I like the look but I didn't like the feel all that much. Possibly they differ from bow to bow. I know that our carbon fiber bow is hand made in China and obviously differ slightly.
When we first ordered our bows I had some tweaks but since my requests were met, I couldn't be happier with the feel. I guess, my tweaks, suit my style:) I wish we had a better stamp/print but that would require a higher investment which I don't consider worthy of the extra cost.
What's your other carbon fiber bow?

My other one is called "The Premier" and its smaller in diameter, a bit stiffer, bit lighter, really light..

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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Crazymotive
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November 20, 2014 - 6:07 pm
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Finding the right bow is tricky. At present I have both a Fiddlerman CF bow and a brazilwood bow. I like them both very much. The Fiddlerman CF bow is lighter than the brazilwood bow and it seems to have a faster response. Excellent for playing fast pieces of music piano or pianissimo. It also produces an excellent tone.  The brazillwood bow is also quite good. A bit slower response but more bow weight it sounds nice and rich on somewhat slower parts that require forte'. But I can also play such parts with the Fiddlerman CF bow just as well by applying a bit more bow pressure and get the same effect as with the FM Bow.. And vice versa.

I am thinking of treating myself to a pernambuco bow but, I want  to see if I can find a good violin shop where I can try different ones and test the "feel" and response of the bow. 

The important  thing to remember. Just because a  bow is expensive and made of pernambuco wood doesn't mean it will be a great bow or that you will like it. It could be an awesome bow or could turn out to be mediocre depending on what you are comfortable with. And like anything else, a new bow is going to take some adjustment time to get used to. Also a lot of it has to do with technique. No bow is going to substitute  for practice and development of good technique.

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EricBluegrassFiddle
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November 25, 2014 - 7:54 am
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Crazymotive said
Finding the right bow is tricky. At present I have both a Fiddlerman CF bow and a brazilwood bow. I like them both very much. The Fiddlerman CF bow is lighter than the brazilwood bow and it seems to have a faster response. Excellent for playing fast pieces of music piano or pianissimo. It also produces an excellent tone.  The brazillwood bow is also quite good. A bit slower response but more bow weight it sounds nice and rich on somewhat slower parts that require forte'. But I can also play such parts with the Fiddlerman CF bow just as well by applying a bit more bow pressure and get the same effect as with the FM Bow.. And vice versa.

I am thinking of treating myself to a pernambuco bow but, I want  to see if I can find a good violin shop where I can try different ones and test the "feel" and response of the bow. 

The important  thing to remember. Just because a  bow is expensive and made of pernambuco wood doesn't mean it will be a great bow or that you will like it. It could be an awesome bow or could turn out to be mediocre depending on what you are comfortable with. And like anything else, a new bow is going to take some adjustment time to get used to. Also a lot of it has to do with technique. No bow is going to substitute  for practice and development of good technique.

For me, I feel with my wood bow, it has a bit more weight to it and is better balanced and I feel as if I get a bit fuller tone with it. The other bows are ok, but one just seems WAY to light for me and the other is springy, like a fishing rod LOL.

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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