Bow structure

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said: Oct 20, 2006
 103 posts

recently have been looking at some rental violins for a student who is moving up to the next size.

Anyway, we were also comparing the bows to see which was better. They were both a different types of fiberglass (one looking like fake wood, the other looking more like dark brown plastic). I happened to notice that both of these bows had a slight crack on the top of the stick at the tip end.

I knew a girl once whos bow cracked at the thin end near the tip. So I was just wondering. Do any of you know if fiberglass bows are made in parts? Would this be the reasons for the cracks? Or do you think these bows are just on the verge of breaking?

I also bought a used 1/4 size bow that seems to have the same crack. Should I return it?

Thanks for your help!

said: Oct 21, 2006
 32 posts

Yes, the fiberglass bows all have a section up at the tip, which very frequently separates. I have never seen one actually break there, so I don’t see it as a problem in a rental (but I would never buy one like that).

Very frequently, though, the fiberglass bows break at the frog (the frog itself breaks, right behind the ferrule). This is because the frogs are plastic, unlike a quality bow. Look those over carefully in a used fiberglass.

said: Oct 21, 2006
 122 posts

I would return all the fiberglass bows!

I always make sure my students have wood bows-the sound is better, the bow is better balanced, and the quality is better. You can get a cheap wood bow for under $50.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

said: Oct 21, 2006
 103 posts

Thanks Perky & junebug! I’ll try to return the bow that I purchased.

Do either of you know if either fiberglass or wood warps easier than the other? Or are they about the same in this regard?

I also would choose a wood bow over a fiberglass one as I have observed that it is harder to get a fiberglass one to do what I want it to. However when it comes to student bows I guess I haven’t played around with them enough. So thanks again for your thoughts on the subject!

said: Oct 21, 2006
 122 posts

I think wood warps more than fiberglass. I also think fiberglass bows are encouraged for student use since they tend to be virtually indistructable!

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 22, 2006
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

while fiberglass bows may be more indestructible than wooden bows, shouldn’t lessons be (in part) teaching a child to be gentle and take care of their instrument? I would try out both fiberglass and wood bows for that size instrument in your price range, and go with the one that makes it easiest to play the instrument well.

A good wooden bow will not warp if the hair is not tightened too much for playing, and if it is properly loosened before packing it in the case each time it is put away.

said: Oct 22, 2006
 122 posts

RaineJen

while fiberglass bows may be more indestructible than wooden bows, shouldn’t lessons be (in part) teaching a child to be gentle and take care of their instrument?

A good wooden bow will not warp if the hair is not tightened too much for playing, and if it is properly loosened before packing it in the case each time it is put away.

I agree about the fiberglass bows-I teach instrument respect right from the start.

All woods bows have the capability of warping though, whether they are $50 or $5,000.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Karra said: Oct 30, 2006
 Cello
Stockholm 113 43, Sweden
51 posts

I used to think that wooden bows were always the way to go until I discovered how much better they are making the fiberglass bows now.
I actually like fiberglass bows for my students- not the old brown ones with the plastic frog and grip, but with an ebony frog and leather grip, similar to the one you’ll find at the following link:

http://www.sharmusic.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=F403W+BRN+110+N&Cat=

If you’re looking for a bow in the $50 price range, I’d suggest going with fiberglass instead of wood because the sticks of those wooden bows in that range are usually extremely weak.
As for warping- yes, wooden bows are more likely to warp than fiberglass. Whether or not a wooden bow will warp depends on several factors- the type of wood it’s made of (I think most everyone would agree that pernambuco is best), the environment, and of course how well it is taken care of.

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

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