A violin and its accompanying bow are an investment, not just in money but in your musical ability. If you go through the effort of finding the right bow which allows you to maximize your performance, it’s sensible to match that effort by protecting your investment for as long as possible, right?
The material a violin bow is made from impacts its durability and how prone it is to breaking. However, despite which type of bow you play with, by knowing how to handle the violin bow and by developing good habits, your bow will last longer.
Read this guide to learn how to not break your violin bow, and what to do should the worst occur.
How Fragile Are Violin Bows?
Violin bows made of pernambuco or brazilwoodwood are more fragile than ones made from synthetic material, such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. Wood bows are more prone to breakage. For skilled violinists looking to play with a premium-quality bow, the choice often comes down to pernambuco and carbon fiber.
Pernambuco offers superior performance to brazilwood, and playing with carbon fiber trumps fiberglass, which is suitable only for beginning players and students. Five times stronger and twice as tough as steel, carbon fiber is lightweight, unaffected by humidity or temperature, and capable of providing that rich, layered sound advanced and professional violinists yearn for.
Why Does My Violin Bow Keep Breaking?
Violin bows made of wood are sometimes prone to break due to mistakes made while not performing. For example, bows with horsehair that’s too tight can warp or even break the bow. Horsehair that’s too tight can also stretch the hair itself, negatively affecting performance and making it so that even if the bow doesn’t break, it will need rehaired sooner than usual. CodaBow recommends rehairing every 6-12 months, based on frequency and style of play.
Some players, even ones who are more intermediate or advanced in their abilities, are prone to over-tighten their bows and even stow them in their case too tight. This is especially problematic for less active players who may go days at a time between performances. It’s important to remember bow sticks are fragile, just like bowhair, and any damage leading to cracks will destroy a bow’s value, even if it can be repaired by a professional.
Another common way of breaking a violin bow is by dropping or tapping the bow on a music stand. This is because the tip of a bow is especially vulnerable to damage and cracking.
Other Factors Affecting Bow Durability
Temperature and humidity can wreak havoc on wooden bows, which is why it has become increasingly popular for violinists to perform outdoors, where temperature and humidity are most problematic, using a carbon fiber bow.
To help keep your bow functioning its best, regularly clean it. After each performance, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth to wipe the bow stick, frog, button, and tip. If rosin or dirt gets caked onto your bow stick, seek out professional help from your local music shop. A professional can clean your bow using a professional-grade solution which won’t damage your bow.
Avoid Violin Bow Breaks with CodaBow
Far more durable than either pernambuco or brazilwood violin bows, choosing carbon fiber is a great way to get a high-quality option without sacrificing performance. Pioneer of the carbon fiber bow, CodaBow features a collection of award-winning violin, viola and cello bows suitable for players of all experience levels. Confident in our workmanship and materials, we offer a robust warranty for every bow we manufacture, providing peace of mind and great value to our customers.