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Carbon Fiber vs Wood
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Jerusha77
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February 12, 2015 - 10:40 am
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Hello, Like the topic says.. What do you prefer for your bow? What do you use and why? 

I am thinking of getting a carbon fiber bow, due to the fact that my cheap wooden bow is not perfectly strait and does not have the best bow curve. From my research I have found that wood bows are better in the 200$+ price range than the carbon fiber bow. But if I am looking for something around 100$ or under a carbon fiber surpasses all wooden bows at this price. 

So feel free to educate me some more. =]

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augustoad
Ponta Grossa, Paraná - Brazil
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February 12, 2015 - 11:23 am
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I've been using wooden bows since I began playing. The one I'm currently using, I got with my new violin. It's nothing special, really.

 

I've heard that Carbon Fiber bows are lighter and more durable, but I guess it's better to trust the word of another FM member that has actually used both kinds.

Skype: augustoad Email: augustoaguieiras@hotmail.com Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)

 

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DanielB
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February 12, 2015 - 11:29 am
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I started with a "free" wood bow that came with a cheap violin.  It was awful.  I upgraded to about a 20$ wood "student" bow from a local music shop. 

Much nicer, but after a dew months it developed a warp.  I tried fixing it by heating it and trying to re-bend it, but didn't feel I did a great job of it.  It was a bit more playable, but not as good as it had been new.

I got a somewhat better violin that also came with a free bow, and it wasn't too bad.  Inside of a few months it also began to warp a bit.

I got an inexpensive "Fusion" bow, which is a composite type.  That means mostly CF but with a fiberglass core to make it a little stiffer while still keeping it fairly light.  No more warps, it is a little lighter than my wood bows were and I like it quite well.  Been playing with it about 2 yrs now with no problems.

So my admittedly limited experience with bows suggest that within the more inexpensive price ranges, CF (or composite) bows may be a good option for beginners.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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February 12, 2015 - 11:30 am
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I have had a Fiddlerman CB bow for over two years.  It has held up very well during that time.  I take private lessons now and my teacher was pleased with it when I showed it to her.  A lot of her new students have cheap wooden bows that came in a kit when they start with her, and she was happy that I had something of such good quality.

I can't speak towards the difference between CB and wood because I have never used a quality wooden bow, but that is my two cents.

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Jerusha77
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February 12, 2015 - 12:02 pm
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DanielB said
I started with a "free" wood bow that came with a cheap violin.  It was awful.  I upgraded to about a 20$ wood "student" bow from a local music shop. 

Much nicer, but after a dew months it developed a warp.  I tried fixing it by heating it and trying to re-bend it, but didn't feel I did a great job of it.  It was a bit more playable, but not as good as it had been new.

I got a somewhat better violin that also came with a free bow, and it wasn't too bad.  Inside of a few months it also began to warp a bit.

I got an inexpensive "Fusion" bow, which is a composite type.  That means mostly CF but with a fiberglass core to make it a little stiffer while still keeping it fairly light.  No more warps, it is a little lighter than my wood bows were and I like it quite well.  Been playing with it about 2 yrs now with no problems.

So my admittedly limited experience with bows suggest that within the more inexpensive price ranges, CF (or composite) bows may be a good option for beginners.

Thank you for your reply Dan, what would you recommend for someone who is not a beginner?

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DanielB
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February 12, 2015 - 2:43 pm
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Hmm.. At less than 3 yrs of playing this instrument, I consider myself still a beginner. 

So how could I make a recommendation for anything beyond that?  All I can say from real personal experience is that I have yet to feel that what I am currently using has ever let me down, and it has held up well.

There are some folks on here with many years of playing experience on violin, in some cases professional.  They could tell you better what would serve the needs of someone who is not a beginner. Maybe even why and how.

Pierre (Fiddlerman) would be the first one that comes to mind.  He started this community and if you check his bio has a rather impressive pedigree on the instrument. 

http://fiddlerman.com/about/

You want to know about gear from beginner up to what would be good enough to play in a symphony, he'd be your guy.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Uzi
Georgia
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February 12, 2015 - 3:31 pm
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The definitive answer to almost every question is -- wait for it --- it depends. One of your initial requirements was that the bow be under 100 bucks.  I have a couple of FM carbon fiber bows and they are under $100.  In that price range, I don't think you're going to find a better bow anywhere -- and I've looked.

Are they as good as a pernambuco bow? In my opinion they are not. But again, that depends on the bowing style of the person playing it and other factors.  I find the CF bow to be a pretty lively bow with a tendency to be a bit bouncy near the frog unless you pay attention. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's just a thing, and sometimes that's what you want in a bow -- again, depending on your bowing style and the type of music you are playing it may be, and often is, perfect. 

However, I tend to like my pernambuco better for most things, but again they cost more.  Starting prices for pernambuco bows are in the $300 range and go up to many thousands of dollars.  Additionally, one has to be more careful with them, they are more susceptible to changes in humidity, they can warp, if you break it you will cry real tears, and because pernambuco is an endangered wood, it would be unwise to ever take it out of the country -- and don't ever think of taking it out in the rain.  

All things considered, and based on your price requirement, I'd say go for the FM CF bow.  It's going to be vastly superior to ANY fiberglass bow and better than any wooden bow I've ever seen that costs less than $100. There are quite a few concert violinists that are playing carbon fiber bows these days and there are new converts all the time.  It is true they probably aren't the FM version -- usually Coda Bow or Jean Paul, and a lot more expensive, but CF none the less.

Ultimately, I guess, it's kind of like shaving. Some people prefer the straight razor because it's traditional, more elegant, and there is ritual surrounding each shave.  The straight razor is something you will own for a lifetime and some care was taken in choosing the right one. It has to be properly handled and cared for before and after each use.  It may have even been passed down from an ancestor. 

On the other hand, most people prefer a disposable razor which does pretty much exactly the same job, requires no care, didn't cost much and when it's used up you toss it and get another.

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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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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February 12, 2015 - 5:16 pm
Member Since: January 28, 2012
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Uzi said
The definitive answer to almost every question is -- wait for it --- it depends. One of your initial requirements was that the bow be under 100 bucks.  I have a couple of FM carbon fiber bows and they are under $100.  In that price range, I don't think you're going to find a better bow anywhere -- and I've looked.

Are they as good as a pernambuco bow? In my opinion they are not. But again, that depends on the bowing style of the person playing it and other factors.  I find the CF bow to be a pretty lively bow with a tendency to be a bit bouncy near the frog unless you pay attention. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's just a thing, and sometimes that's what you want in a bow -- again, depending on your bowing style and the type of music you are playing it may be, and often is, perfect. 

However, I tend to like my pernambuco better for most things, but again they cost more.  Starting prices for pernambuco bows are in the $300 range and go up to many thousands of dollars.  Additionally, one has to be more careful with them, they are more susceptible to changes in humidity, they can warp, if you break it you will cry real tears, and because pernambuco is an endangered wood, it would be unwise to ever take it out of the country -- and don't ever think of taking it out in the rain.  

All things considered, and based on your price requirement, I'd say go for the FM CF bow.  It's going to be vastly superior to ANY fiberglass bow and better than any wooden bow I've ever seen that costs less than $100. There are quite a few concert violinists that are playing carbon fiber bows these days and there are new converts all the time.  It is true they probably aren't the FM version -- usually Coda Bow or Jean Paul, and a lot more expensive, but CF none the less.

Ultimately, I guess, it's kind of like shaving. Some people prefer the straight razor because it's traditional, more elegant, and there is ritual surrounding each shave.  The straight razor is something you will own for a lifetime and some care was taken in choosing the right one. It has to be properly handled and cared for before and after each use.  It may have even been passed down from an ancestor. 

On the other hand, most people prefer a disposable razor which does pretty much exactly the same job, requires no care, didn't cost much and when it's used up you toss it and get another.

Good advice, Uzi.

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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