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I am thinking about upgrading bows. I have a brazil wood one I got locally on sale for 100 bucks, and I'm pleased with what I've gotten out of it so far.
I'd like a pernambuco bow. I need either whalebone or real silver winding because my fingers attach nickel or whatever I have now, which is turning green so it's probably plated copper. I am looking to spend under $500, and under $400 would be even better.
I know carbon fiber has come a long way, so if I'm missing something in that category that is mind blowing, please let me know. I know FM has a few options, like the 2-star Holstein pernambuco, that look good (although the bow in the review video doesn't match the pictures on the sight).
Hia @dpappas - other than a bow with synthetic hair (which I have ditched) that came with a cheap EV, the only two I have ever used are the FM carbon fiber bow, and, like you, I was looking to upgrade following my first few years of playing. I chose the FM 2-star pernambuco bow. I have had it for several months now.
I know, I'm still a relative beginner, and have had little exposure to different instruments or bows, other than the ones I own. However, I can "sense" and "feel" the difference in the sound and the responsiveness and "action" of the PB bow compared to the CF bow.
In some way, to me, some of the differences are quite subtle, in other ways, quite noticeable, and I simply cannot express this in terms that knowledgeable and long-term-professional players would use, because, I'm just an amateur musician and not all that bothered about the super-fine-technical-detail. All I can say is that, as good as the CF bow is for general playing, the 2-star PB bow outranks it hugely when it comes to fine-control, and indeed, to some extent, good tone generation.
I still swap between both bows, and as I say, the difference, certainly for certain styles of playing, is quite noticeable. How much of this comes down to the fact that the PB bow is new compared to the CF bow, and probably has different hair - well - that's another story that may color the overall feel I am getting... so don;t read TOO much into what I say...
That probably doesn't help much, does it? Just my observations and my 2-pence worth ! LOL
Good luck with whatever choice you make !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
I can definitely tell the difference between the Brazilwood bow I bought and my grandfather's antique pernambuco bow, even with the old hair which is getting sparse. The pernambuco is lighter, fits my hand better, is straighter and has a better arch. Not sure if it makes my violin sound better, but it makes it easier for me to handle the bowing which I am sure improves the sound! I am trying to save enough money to get it rehaired. Once I manage that, I am going to hang the Brazilwood bow up for use only if the other bow is off getting worked on! Eventually I would like to have it receive a new leather at the frog and silver winding (something I may be able to do myself). I am tempted to try eelskin in place of leather. I know someone who tans various fish skins. The are very luxurious, and very flexible. Thinner than standard leather, it would be easier to handle. They are also dyed lovely colours. I will probably stay with a neutral colour. Probably a grey shade. Possibly a black that still shows the markings on the leather. If I go with an animal leather I will lean towards goat skin. I need to use silver winding as well due to my body attacking any base metal. Something to do with the chemistry and ph of my skin. I can't wear anything that isn't gold, silver, or stainless steel. Even gold and silver darkens eventually, and needs a thorough cleaning. I need to use a silver cleaning cloth on bow winding to prevent corrosion.
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