There’s no point in buying a higher-end violin unless you get a bow of superior quality to match it. Together, the two will help bring out the best in each other to produce a great sound. Plus, in most instances, a high-quality violin bow that’s well taken care of lasts longer than an inexpensive option, which can help you save over time.

If you are serious about performing, you should be equally serious about budgeting to meet your playing goals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t search for a good violin bow that’s both affordable and durable.

Bow Options to Pick From

When considering the duration of how long a quality violin bow lasts, there are two primary bow options to choose from: pernambuco wood from Brazil and carbon fiber. Bows are also available that are made from brazilwood and fiberglass, however brazilwood is considered more of a value pick compared to its pernambuco cousin, and fiberglass tends to be strong but cannot produce the quality of sound that performers get from pernambuco or carbon fiber.

Until the last couple decades, pernambuco was the runaway favorite for violinists in terms of quality and performance, but its popularity is waning due to overharvesting and its endangered status. High-quality carbon fiber bows are now capable of matching the performance level of pernambuco bows, and they are more durable and less expensive. Plus, choosing carbon fiber means not having to worry about the politics and environmental concerns surrounding pernambuco.

Quality Beyond the Bowstick

Bow quality extends beyond the bowstick one chooses. Whether choosing pernambuco or carbon fiber, the bow hair you play with is very important. Types of synthetic bow hair are available, however most violin bows have hair from horses.

Synthetic hair is cheaper, but most violinists prefer bow hair from Siberian, Mongolian, Manchurian, and other horse breeds due to their superior quality. Hair from horses hailing from northern climates is most popular, because their hair is believed to be stronger. Hair from a stallion is also preferred by luthiers and violinists, due to stallion hair generally being cleaner than that found on a mare.

high quality carbon fiber bows

Having the appropriate bow hair is beneficial, otherwise your bow will be incapable of producing its best-possible sound.

Do Violin Bows Get Better With Age?

Unlike some violins, a violin bow does not necessarily get better with age. In fact, many bows start to drop off in performance quality over time. Pernambuco and brazilwood bows are capable of maintaining their condition, but since they’re made from wood, they are not as tough as carbon fiber. Even a careful violinist may break their bow by dropping it on the floor. Meanwhile, carbon fiber is nearly indestructible and up to withstanding the elements, which is helpful for outdoor performances. Imagine the convenience of not having to worry about humidity or temperature affecting your bow.

Old bows are not necessarily inferior, but many vintage or antique bows you will find in a shop have had parts replaced over the years to keep them in good condition.

How long do violin bows typically last? Whether made of wood or carbon fiber, a violin bow that’s well cared for and made of good quality can last decades. Play style, basic maintenance, and even environmental conditions factor into the lifespan of a violin bow.

Peace of Mind with CodaBow

Each carbon fiber violin bow from CodaBow is durable and includes an extensive warranty. Featuring ethically sourced Mongolian horsehair, our award-winning violin bows have helped cultivate a generation of players who are no longer reliant on pernambuco, which has become increasingly rare and expensive.

We feature the Prodigy bow, a great value for developing musicians, plus a suite of performance bows to meet a range of playstyle preferences. No matter which CodaBow you choose, we recommend rehairing your bow every 6 to 12 months, based on playing style, so you can always give your best performance. If you don’t have a trusted local luthier, we have convenient rehairing services available.

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