Most entry level student bows are made of fiberglass, carbon fiber or Brazilwood. Fiberglass bows are less fragile than wooden bows but lack the feel and balance of a nice brazilwood bow. For this reason I recommend Brazilwood or carbon fiber bows for students. Pernambuco is used in the highest qualities of bows. This is a rare wood from Brazil, it is light and has the correct amount of flex and stiffness for great playing. Carbon fiber bows play more like wooden bows with the durability of a composite material.
The fine pernambuco bows are weighed and balance point tested in our shop. The desired average weight for a full sized pernambuco bow is about 60-61.5 Grams. The balance point of a bow has a lot to do with what “works” for a particular player. The balance point is between 9-10″ measured from the frog end of the stick to where the bow balances. A bow with a lower balance point measurement say 9″ will feel lighter at the tip when playing than a 10″ balance point bow. Some players like more weight at the tip for drawing out the sound of the instrument with less finger pressure. Others prefer a lighter tip to play very articlate bowing easier.
The balance point and weght of a bow can be altered to some degree by having the shop install a lighter or heavier button on the screw of the frog or adding or taking away the amount of nickel, silver or gold winding near the grip area. A different tip can also be used, bone or silver etc. Some players have multiple bows with different weights, stiffness and balance points for playing different types of songs.
We will be offering more and more choices of Pernambuco bows in the future. We are offering our fine custom built carbon fiber bows similar to the ones we have built for popular violinist Lindsey Stirling. E-mail or call for details.