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Carbon Fiber Bows
Just how consistent can their properties be?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (9 votes) 
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ELCB
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July 29, 2020 - 12:25 am
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From what I've learned 2 wood bows can appear exactly the same but feel/react slightly different.  

My question is just how similar are 2 of the "same" Carbon Fiber bows?  Can there be noticeable differences?

About a month ago I started using my 2nd FM Carbon Fiber Weave Bow.  It doesn't help that I noticed (I should have asked ?'s back when it was 1st delivered) that the hair didn't seem as nice as my 1st one, but after a month it still just doesn't feel/react as nice as I perceive my 1st one did.  I'm not sure how much difference the hair can make (they can't ALL be perfect) or maybe the bow... or just me.

If these bows are handmade I can understand variances.  Noticeable variances - enough to make me want to buy another bow?  I've already learned I can have this kind of difference in 2 strings that are the same.

I try to step back so I don't get caught up in minor details - specially because we are talking about a VERY inexpensive bow.  Just not positive if I'm imagining things or am I just being too picky?

Topsy Turvy Smiley Emoticons- Emily
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 30, 2020 - 8:23 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Tell me about the hair.
The bows are hand made but they use a mold. The result is that the bows themselves are almost identical.
They are haired by hand and that is more difficult to do exactly the same on every bow. Climate affects bow hair length tremendously but that is most likely not the issue.
Have you used enough rosin? New bows (hair) need an amazing amount of rosin to get started.
If you like, you can send me a message and we can figure out what to do about your bow.

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

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ELCB
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July 31, 2020 - 3:24 am
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Fiddlerman - Thanx for reaching out to me - sent you a PM.

 

I

- Emily

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ELCB
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August 1, 2020 - 12:12 am
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Rolling Eyes Emotion EmoticonsFor anyone interested in a comparison of my 2 otherwise same FM CF "Weave" bows -

There is only approx 1 gram dif in weight (newer bow is lighter), a little dif in shape of the frog where the thumb rests, a dif in the quality/quantity of hair, and a dif in the quality of sound (maybe my handling of, too).  There doesn't appear to really be any dif in balance point.

I'm surprised I can feel/sound a dif at all!  I'm kinda scared to think of what I might find in trying other, more expensive bows.  Not so sure I should be thinking along these lines at this early stage of my learning, yet.

 

Just Rolling Along Smiley- Emily

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AndrewH
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August 1, 2020 - 1:41 am
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Hmm. If you're currently at the very low end of the price range, you'll likely find that more expensive bows are more flexible and bounce on the string more. Beginner-level student bows are often relatively stiff and tip-heavy by design so that it is easier for a beginner to keep the bow on the string and maintain a steady tone, but those characteristics also make it more difficult to control off-string bow strokes.

Once you get out of the beginner range, it's much more of a mixed bag, because different people prefer different playing characteristics. But I would expect that virtually all are more flexible and weighted more toward the frog than the typical beginner bow.

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ELCB
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August 1, 2020 - 9:20 am
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AndrewH - thanks_much_smiley_gifAppreciate the info - will keep that in mind!

It's been rolling around in my head that I'm very aware my bows need "a little extra work" to play lighter for livelier passages and a lighter bow might help me.  I hope I'll have a chance to try some different bows out after all this Covid-19 stuff is over.

Becoming aware of the differences in my 2 bows has been an eye-opening experience.  I know it may sound corny but feels like another step closer to becoming "one" with my "Mortimer"...

 

The Smiley Puppet Smiley- Emily

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MrYikes
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August 1, 2020 - 12:57 pm
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What do your bows weigh?

My regular FM carbon fiber bows weigh between 61 and 63 gram.  I like each of them, but pay no attention to the weights.  There are just so very many other things to think about that focusing on the bow itself is counter productive for me.  I do though, have some lesser quality cf bows that do require the focus.  It was the $3 (free shipping) ebay wood bows that caused me to buy Fiddlerman's cf bows and be done with worrying about the bow itself.

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ELCB
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August 1, 2020 - 2:32 pm
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MrYikes - Thank you!  Let me know if you are having trouble seeing the previous posts - I will help however I can. 

My bows are both the FM CF "Weave" - 61 & 62 grams.

Are yours both FM CF?  If they are both the same, do you notice differences in playing each of them?

I'm thinking differences I notice between my 2 might just be the hair.  I definitely prefer one over the other.

- Emily

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AndrewH
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August 1, 2020 - 4:40 pm
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I would not worry too much about the overall weight. More expensive bows do not necessarily weigh less than student bows; 61 and 62 grams are close to the middle of the weight range for violin bows. The "weight" you feel in your hand is mostly the balance point. The main qualities of the stick that affect how the bow handles are flexibility and balance.

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ELCB
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August 1, 2020 - 8:51 pm
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AndrewH  - I understand what you're saying. 

I see many bows in the $600 range the same weight as mine, but a few are quite a bit lighter.  Wouldn't you notice a 6 or 7 gram difference in weight, or just how it's balanced? 

I almost forgot that I have to take into consideration how different I have to play the "C" string to make sure it responds right.  Most people talking about their violin bows lately don't have 5-strings.  I'm sure your viola reacts differently, too. 

Letting Off Steam Smiley

 

More for me to think about...

 

- Emily Owner And Pet Smiley

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AndrewH
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August 1, 2020 - 10:10 pm
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6 or 7 grams, yes. That's a pretty substantial weight difference. But it's still possible for the heavier bow to feel lighter if it has a low balance point.

I'm used to playing with a 70 gram viola bow. That's a big enough difference that, even with a low balance point, it feels heavier than my tip-heavy student violin bows.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 10, 2020 - 9:05 am
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As Andrew wrote, the balance point is more noticeable. I for one would not notice a 1 or 2 gram difference.

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

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ELCB
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September 4, 2020 - 9:36 am
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Here's an eye-opening update!

Sad To Say Bye SmileyMy 1st FM CF "Weave" bow is basically retired.  Wondering if there's any use in trying to donate it locally (or something) because I can't seem to make myself throw it in the trash. (lol)

Scratching Forehead EmoticonsMy 2nd FM CF "Weave" bow still doesn't excite me even though it's better now.  I filed down the frog where it was bothering my thumb and selectively cut out any "mutant" hairs I found, so it works much better for me.

Wizard Doing Gold Magic EmoticonsNow for the surprise... on a whim (this past FM sale), I purchased the "Regular" (less $) FM CF bow for backup.  It arrived yesterday and like with my other bows, I rosined it up very well - 1st with some "Premium Holstein Rosin" (stickier), then with my favorite "Andrea Solo". 

Omg! Glittery Emoticons

I LOVE THIS BOW!  I'm not going to pretend to understand how there can be such I difference, but it's a pretty obvious one.  Feels great, responds great and makes ALL my strings sound great - had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! 

... now what are my chances the next one will make me this happy?

 

The Dancing Girl Smiley- Emily

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JohnBAngel
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September 4, 2020 - 11:28 am
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Emily,

I just received my FM carbon bow and I am ecstatic!

It feels well balanced and I am hearing better responsiveness from varying pressure.

My E string has come alive, along with the other ones.

I weighed it and it came in at 58 grams, 2 grams less that my Glasser bow.

The center of balance is different.

Way more responsive- so glad I made the purchase!

JohnBAngel banana

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 4, 2020 - 1:57 pm
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Thank you guys so much. We have developed the already popular Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber bow and made it even better. I love that bow as well.

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

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