Until the past decade, fiberglass bows and traditional wood bows were the only options available to string musicians. Fiberglass bows are good for beginning students, but they can be heavy for a young child. Wood is a more traditional choice, and a bit lighter. But there are things to consider.
Pernambuco wood, or Brazilwood, in particular, was favored in bow making. After first being discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1500, Pernambuco became highly coveted and traded. Over time, these trees became endangered and therefore could not be cut. As a result, instrument manufacturers had to look for new materials such as carbon fiber.
Let’s take a look at the rise of carbon fiber violin bows and how they can influence your sound when playing a stringed instrument.
Each bow is unique
Wood or fiberglass bows are not inherently better or worse than their carbon fiber counterparts. Each material lends itself to different sounds, and every musician has their own preference. While wood violin bows tend to be more susceptible to changes in temperature and environment, carbon fiber bows offer greater durability and flexibility at a typically lower price point.
However, not all carbon fiber bows are created equal, so make sure to check your bows before buying. Quality carbon fiber bows will contain about 60% carbon, while others have a carbon content as low as 25% and a fill of 75% epoxy and other materials.
Your new bow
The benefits of a carbon fiber violin bow lie mainly in its weight and strength. Compared to wooden options, carbon fiber bows are lighter and stiffer which produces better resonance. They are also significantly less likely to warp or expand in storage.
If you’re wondering where you can shop carbon fiber bows for reasonable prices, look no further than Johnson String Instrument. We are among the premier instrument and instrument accessory retailers. View our catalog to browse our rental and purchase selections.
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