Whoever thought that space age technology would be something that I would apply to my life as a classical musician? But, here I am, faced with a big decision over wood v. carbon fiber.
I have discussed before that I’m always trying to find a way to make my violin sounding better and stronger without having to trade it in for a completely new instrument. Musicians tend to get attached to their instruments as people do with their pets or other sentimental pieces of their lives. So, when I wanted a richer, deeper sound from my violin, I took the first obvious step and tried a variety of strings. As with most things, I soon discovered that the more I invested that I seemed to prefer that type of string. We reach limits, though, so I’m somewhat decided on which strings I prefer… for now.
But, now, there’s a new twist to this quest for more sound. I was presented with an opportunity to try some carbon fiber bows. Normally, I’m the type of person who would have been the first to try this, so I’m not sure why it has taken me so long for the non-organic approach.
There are SO many options when it comes to carbon fiber bows from basic ones intended for students to top of the line race car professional grade bows. Given the choice, I opted for the race car — The Diamond GX bow made by Coda, since my pernambuco bow is a pretty high performance bow as it is.
Like I’ve said, my goal with the new bow is to get as much sound from my instrument as possible. That takes a lot of strength and pull from the bow. Only recently have I become unhappy with the amount of give that my pernambuco bow has. I push it harder and harder until it eventually can’t really draw out more sound and slumps like a tired, old horse. How can I blame it?
When most people think about carbon fiber, they think of something surprisingly lightweight. Holding a carbon fiber bow isn’t really different than a wooden bow. The weight and balance is similar to a typical bow. The biggest difference is in the playability from the frog to the tip. It is consistent and strong all the way through with essentially no weak areas. It is a pretty incredible feeling to demand the most from a bow and get exactly that. Even finite and technically challenging passages feel almost effortless.
One of the other advantages of the carbon fiber option is the “green factor,” preserving forests, etc. Not only does the carbon fiber option help save tropical forests, Coda bows are also made in Minnesota. These bows don’t stop at being made of carbon fiber. They are also wrapped in a kevlar braid, as in bullet proof vests! Check out our selection of Coda bows from Kennedy Violins. We have them available in a variety of levels for violin, viola, and cello.
So, the final verdict? I think I’m going to try this carbon fiber option for awhile and see how things go. After all, I do have an empty bow holder in my violin case. Why not add to the collection? The pernambuco bow will always be there if I decide to take a relaxed Sunday drive.