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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I've got a new clip-in frog tenor viol bow made by a bow maker in Cologne. The stick is made of beech wood. The frog looks like a guinea pig - this is completely intentional because I love guinea pigs. And it won't stay the only frog for the bow (because guinea pigs are social animals... :) )

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Although my "old" bow with a screw frog really is not bad, it is really a difference playing with the new bow. It sounds much nicer.
 

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How stable is beech over time? I've already seen it can rot.

Pernambuco combines many desirable qualities for the stick: it can be formed by heat, stays stable at room temperature over several decades (though not centuries, alas), doesn't rot, brings elasticity. Bow makers have a hard time finding a replacement, now that Brazil doesn't export pernambuco (...legally) any more. Yew (Taxus baccata)?

Possibly, the qualities expected from the wood differ among the instruments, since your bow isn't shaped concave as on a violin.

And, sure, the bow makes a huge difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, pernambuco has got the mentioned qualities which make it very popular with bowmakers but now it is so rare that it is under natural reserve . But there are reforestation projects which are also supported by bowmakers.

Now, as a substitution, often snake wood and several types of iron wood are used for the sticks; they aren't that rare but they are, after all, tropical woods which have a long transportation to Europe.

Beech is certainly not as stable as pernambuco, but the stability depends naturally of the quality of the wood. And before the middle of the 18th century, mostly indigenous woods were used; Francois Tourte seems to be one of the first bowmakers to use pernambuco.

All in all I prefer European woods. But I never would play "col legno" with this bows, though. For this, I would only use carbon bows which are even more robust than pernambuco bows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Here my bow made of beech wood and my bow made of walnut wood. Now the guinea pigs have real 3D-eyes made of a rest of ebony wood.

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There is really a difference with regard to the sound depending which bow I use. This is caused by the different specific gravity of the woods. Walnut wood has got a higher specific gravity than beech wood. At least the walnut bow weights 60 g, the beech bow only 54 g. Apart from the wood species, the bows are identical in construction.
 
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