I'm in the market for a mid price shop made bow, say $400 to $800 give or take. I currently use a Coda Diamond and sometimes an old wood bow that has to be about 60 plus years old and has no name but still plays nicely and is lighter than the Coda bow. I also have a second no-name wooden bow. No idea what the wood is, but they are both nickel mounted, so probably not very expensive or classic bows, just well played. Both wooden bows are in excellent condition with no camber or cracks. Here are the bows I've been researching.
W. E. Dorfler Octagonal Pernambuco Violin Bow
Arcos Brasil - Violin Pernambuco Bow Silver Fitting
John Brasil, Marco Raposo, Water Violet and Guy Laurent
All the bows are Pernambuco wood with silver fittings and ebony frogs. Basically I see the choices are French, German and Brazilian. I don't think any of the ones listed are Chinese, nothing against well made Chinese bows, however the latter seem to have flooded the e-Bay market. Realizing that the only way to pick a bow is to play with it but all the Internet stores I do business with have trial programs and excellent reputations or I can try out what's in stock at my friendly local Hammond Ashly. Of course, I'd love to own a hand made bow by some famous artisan bow maker but that's going to be out of my league for a while. On the one hand, I know that the French have considerable a reputation for making bows, the Germans make great cars and I believe also have a long tradition making excellent bows too. The Brazilians are relative newcomers but they have all the Pernambuco. I play on a 60 plus year old American made Wilkanowsky violin which has wonderful tone, but also I have an 1887 German made Stainer copy and a Chinese Snow that I bought about two years ago. They all play a bit differently and react equally differently to the three bows I use.
Any advice or opinions are appreciated about these makers or manufacturers or any other shop made bows for that matter.
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