Carbon fibre bows are a truly ecological development in the violin family world. While excellent work is being done to create sustainable sources for pernambuco, the traditional wood used for bow making, the emergence of carbon fibre as a viable alternative has taken some of the pressure off this threatened Brazilian rainforest tree.
While carbon fibre technology is now being used all across the globe to make a wide range of qualities and styles of bow, it is little known, outside New Zealand, that some of the pioneering research and development work was done here in Wellington by Robert Berg, a US-born double bass player in the NZSO.
In a nice exchange of skills and nationalities, Bob Berg, on returning to the US, passed this knowledge on to New Zealand-born Michael Duff.
Duff developed it further and built Berg Bows into a world leader in carbon fibre bow making from his workshop close to Indiana University, gaining feedback from some of the world’s finest string players, including Janos Starker, Joseph Gingold, Ruggiero Ricci and Rostislav Dubinsky.
While Bob Berg was still in New Zealand, he made a significant number of bows, many of which are still in the hands of professional players here. These regularly come into our workshops, and from time to time, we are lucky enough to be asked to sell them on.
While the finish of the heads isn’t as elegant as the modern Berg bows, neither is the price! And the performance of the bows, overall, is excellent, making them a great buy for advanced students and young professional players.