"SUZUKI VIOLIN TEACHERS
FORUM" - No. 3
"Wood Bow Vs. Fiberglass
I have been a Suzuki Violin teacher
for over five years. I have always recommended that very young students
use the fiberglass bows that are available. The parents of one of my younger
students purchased a violin kit with a wood bow. Does it make any difference
whether a wood bow or fiberglass bow is used?
It does make a difference. The popularity
of fiberglass bows arises from the fact that fiberglass is more sturdy
than bows made of wood. Wooden bows are more vulnerable to damage from
mistreatment. This becomes an more important factor when students are not
properly trained to handle and care for the bow. Even the youngest students
can, and should, get proper training so that they can use wood bows. Fiberglass
bows may be robust and otherwise adequate for beginning students, but the
lighter weight and thinner shaft of the wood bow is superior for study.
Parents should only purchase or rent
bows, and violins for that matter, that are returnable, subject to the
teacher's approval. You should make certain that the bow is straight and
not warped. Of course, showing the parent how to loosen the tension on
the bow hair, for when the bow is not being used, will help to keep a straight
wooden bow from warping .
There is also the consideration of real
hair vs. synthetic hair. Synthetic hair is more durable, but real hair
has a clear advantage by functioning better and is preferable.
Note: While the wooden bow may be preferable,
a fiberglass bow can be a very adequate substitute in situations where
children are getting less than the best training in handling and caring
for the bow.