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Bow Information
Bow Information

Stick Materials

Wood Materials

Brazilwood - Brazilwood is a South American wood suitable for bow making. Brazilwood generally gives good response and tone production, but lacks the elasticity and density of pernambuco wood. It is generally inexpensive and a good alternative for student and intermediate players.

Blackwood - Blackwood generally gives good response and tone production and is another good alternative for student and intermediate players.

Pernambuco - Pernambuco is a Brazilian wood that has been the preferred material for bow making for the past 200 years. Its dense and flexible stick makes it the ideal choice to meet the needs of modern playing. Quality varies widely. Pernambuco bows can be purchased for under $100, but the finest examples will cost thousands of dollars.

Snakewood - Snakewood is a South American wood suitable for bow making. Snakewood is stiff, strong and very dense. It generally gives loud sounding.

Synthetic Materials

Carbon Fiber - Carbon fiber is the most advanced of the synthetic materials. These bows are designed to imitate the sound and feel of a high quality pernambuco bow, providing the player with good balance, response, and control. In addition, the availability, consistency, and affordability make carbon fiber an attractive option for students and professionals alike.

Bow Care and Maintenance

Hair Tension
Keeping the bow hair at proper tension during playing and storage can also prevent damage. When the hair is tightened, it exerts tension on the head of the stick. If this remains constant or becomes excessive, the head may break away from the stick. The bow becomes unusable in this condition. Loosening the bow when not in use and avoiding over-tightening can prevent this. In addition, maintaining the proper hair tension will also prevent the stick from warping.

Hair Care and Maintenance
Horsehair is the preferred material used for the ribbon of hair on instrument bows, although synthetic hair may be used for some inexpensive student bows. However, Yitamusic only sells bows with horsehair. The hair will eventually need replacing. A rehair is needed when the hair no longer grips the strings, loses rosin quickly, or loses hair.

The time between rehairs may be as little as three months for a professional player and as long as eighteen months for a beginner. This is considered general maintenance and is necessary to ensure the performance of your bow. You should take your bow to a professional luthier when the hair wears out.

Humidity and Temperature Concerns
Humidity will affect the length of the bow hair. During seasons of low humidity, the hair will shrink and exert more tension on the stick. As a result, the head may break away. Therefore, it is extremely important to properly loosen the bow hair to avoid breakage. If the bow hair will not loosen enough, longer hair may be needed and the bow should be rehaired by a luthier. During humid conditions, the bow hair will stretch. Although this doesn't affect the tension adversely on the head of the stick, it will lengthen the distance between the thumb leather and frog, causing this portion of the stick to wear down from contact by the thumb. This may affect the value of the bow. Like your instrument, the bow is also affected by temperature. Both cold and hot weather could cause the bow to warp and the head to snap. In addition, extreme heat may cause the varnish to melt. Bows should never be stored in a hot car or in direct sunlight.

Other Concerns
Warping is a common problem of wood bows. This may occur from a variety of factors, including over-tightening the hair and environmental conditions. Depending on severity, it may be corrected by a professional luthier. However, the repair is usually only worth it for a fine bow. In addition, have a luthier fix any cracks and any other noticeable damage to the stick or frog.

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