Fine violin bows (as well as fine cello bows and viola bows) are a bit of a menagerie. There’s the frog of course, which isn’t at all derived from real amphibians, plus horsehair, the most important part. Tucked inside frog mechanism is the abalone slide, made from a real mollusk.
This last piece, the thin rectangle of iridescent purple and turquoise, is almost too pretty to hide inside the frog. It is in fact the same material known as Mother of Pearl used in jewelry. But the hardness of abalone is part of why it’s used in the vise-like mechanism in stringed instrument bows – along with several other precision parts – to hold the horsehair in place.
That said … Read the rest