iPhone 6s or Violin Bow?

September 29, 2016 at 11:24 PM · So my birthday is in a week and my parents have been thinking about getting me an iPhone 6s. But as you all may know, it's like $650.

I have a $125 bow and it's horrible. I don't think I can live with it anymore. I was thinking of saving up and buying a +$1000-$2000 bow, but instead of saving it, should I just get an Arcos Brasil nickel mounted bow instead of a phone? I guess I do need a phone, but I also need a bow.

If you were in this situation, what would you do in my perspective?

Replies (57)

September 29, 2016 at 11:35 PM · I think you need to try a lot more bows than that if you plan to get a bow. Just because you read a good review about it doesn't mean it is the best fit for you. I'm not sure about their higher end bows, but I have a $165 arcos carbon bow and it is a wretch to play with.

September 29, 2016 at 11:51 PM · A bow can last a lifetime. An iPhone? Maybe five years.

September 29, 2016 at 11:56 PM · If you hold out for another year, Apple is going to release the iBow. Of course, it only accepts their proprietary rosin, but once you make the switch, it's easy. Plus, this one is waterproof, so you don't have to worry about dropping it in the toilet.

September 30, 2016 at 12:04 AM · I did drop my old Motorola years ago in the toilet and it was fried.

September 30, 2016 at 12:09 AM · For $750 (maybe less, depending on your luck with shops), you can get a Jon-Paul Avanti that would be perfectly fine for a while, and when you upgrade, be a solid long-term backup bow.

Skip the iPhone 6s, and get an older iPhone that you can get for free with a contract.

September 30, 2016 at 12:49 AM · Why not both?

I don't know if you're an Apple fanboy and you only want an Apple product, but...

If I were you, I'd definitely wouldn't spend almost $700 dollars in a smartphone. It's 2016, smartphones have evolved a HUGE lot and for $250-350 you can buy a premium smartphone that works just as fast and nice as a $700 smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 6s...). I'm telling you, it's a total waste of dollars to spend more than $400 in a smartphone today, there's no difference at all. If you tell me 3-4 years ago, I'd say that yeah, a $600-700 smartphone would make a difference, but now? No way.

To name some:

Moto X Pure Edition $300

Huawei P9 Lite $250

LG G4 $250

Asus Zenfone 3 $350

LG Nexus 5X $300

The list could go on and on. All those smartphones don't feel cheap at all, they have premium materials and hardware, lightning fast and can do every imaginable thing perfectly fine and, in case of the iPhone 6s, outperform it. Really, I'm saving you $400.

Then you could try bows and make a jump from $150 to a $300-400 bow, or whatever.

September 30, 2016 at 12:49 AM · @Christian Lesniak Does the iBow have good battery-life? I bought an iBag to carry my music sheet but it ran out of battery soon, I can't use it anymore since I lost the charger. Now I have to carry them using my bare hands. It makes me feel so retro.

September 30, 2016 at 01:35 AM · An iBow will have no hair. Just ions.

September 30, 2016 at 01:37 AM · ew.. apple thread.

September 30, 2016 at 03:21 AM · I disagree with you. A cheap smartphone, let's say a $150 smartphone, is way inferior to any from $250-800. You don't want a slow smartphone with a sh*tty screen, right?

September 30, 2016 at 03:27 AM · I don't understand the appeal of smart phones. I mean with the same amount, you can get MUCH superior laptop.

Not to mention how quickly technology deteriorates in value and integrity.

September 30, 2016 at 03:30 AM · Get an older iPhone and an old German nickel mounted bow. You may find both for your budget.

Cheers Carlo

September 30, 2016 at 03:49 AM · There are a lot of merits to buying better smart phones. For some, they won't see the difference between a nokia flip phone and a galaxy note 7, and to those people fine. However, Reliability, battery life, longevity, and speed are by no means bells and whistles. If you get lost in the middle of nowhere, it's pretty damn important you can figure out where you are. That $150 smartphone may make the phone call or load google maps... Or it may get stuck in a loop trying to load the home screen, and then when you go to restart it, the battery randomly completely discharges the rest of itself and your phone is dead. They don't charge more for different phones for nothing guys (as a general rule).

Personally I would recommend looking up deals from your carrier. Maybe they have a special going to get an Iphone 6 for $150 on contract, or something of the like. If not there are some great phones out on the market that aren't too expensive, but are surely reliable. Honestly, just google best value android smart phones. Be cautious with the HTC OnePlusThree though if you look to purchase it. The phone has had great reviews, but last I remember HTC was on the verge of bankruptcy so you risk not having future software support on it. Most importantly do not buy a used cell phone, too much risk and battery degradation for that to be a good idea.

Steven please tell me you were trolling with your comment about smartphones and laptops. They are completely different products. But using the pure price to performance standpoint then we may as well all construct our own vanilla linux based servers.

Buy what makes you happy.

September 30, 2016 at 06:01 AM · Ugh, Android. :-)

Seriously, the utility of a smartphone depends a lot on your lifestyle. For me, a smartphone is a vital link for communications, productivity apps, social media, news, and yes, music (tuner, metronome, and sheet music library) -- and as someone with a cute baby, I also value the camera. ;-)

A phone is always with me. I often have a laptop with me, but not always, and it's just not convenient to pull out a laptop for a minute.

September 30, 2016 at 10:41 AM · Well, I kind of agree with Steven on that. With $800, which is the price of some flagships, you can buy a powerful notebook that has portability, it' so powerful and has a shiny giant screen.

As I've already said, in 2016, for less than $350 you can buy a totally premium smartphone that does everything a $800 would do, at the same speed in many cases. They also have brilliant materials, cameras and screen. What else do you want?

So yeah, I use to compare also notebooks and smartphones in that way. I know of course they are 2 completely different devices that have different purposes, but those buying overkill smartphones like Samsung S7 or S6, S7 Plus, Note 5, iPhones 6s... don't know what they're doing, seriously.

There was a time, like 4 years ago, when $400 smartphones couldn't compare really to top flagships as Samsung S4 or S3. At least there were only 2-3 that could do that. But now, it's like the 80% of the under $350 range can perform equally as a $700 smartphone, and sometimes outperform them, depending which you compare.

September 30, 2016 at 11:05 AM · I would definitely suggest that the OP goes with the bow option. A secondhand iphone is like a car. As soon as it's out of the shop the price has dropped like a stone. In a couple of years it will be worth peanuts. Besides many of the components are made by other manufacturers, you're just paying for the Apple badge these days.

September 30, 2016 at 11:13 AM · I've never spent over $20 on a phone, $300 on a laptop, and I also don't get the appeal or the "need" to stay connected to internet and or social media.

When I am at a location that I wish to see what others are up to, I start conversations with the person closest to me, and make a new friend. Often nowdays, they are too busy hidden behind their phones.

Granted phones and computers are different things, but people find that it is necessary to have phone that can do what a computer does, and they somehow "NEED" to carry a hand held computer at all times.

September 30, 2016 at 11:27 AM · For phones - consider Republic wireless and their Motorola phones for $200 - $300 you can get a good android and a full 3G setup that relies on WiFi wherever it is available can cost as little as $25/ month.

New pernambuco bows from Brazil are delivered to the shops in "bundles" and of course the best ones go first. Sorry, but they are not all equal! Best bet is to establish a relationship with some shops and find out when the next bundle is arriving so you can be there to test them all.

September 30, 2016 at 11:50 AM · https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdd0M2P_mKU

September 30, 2016 at 12:04 PM · Steven, you are a non technological person, that's alright, but hey, smartphones and laptops, technology and internet, are tools that are so incredibly powerful and let you do hundreds of hundreds of things. You can't live in the 1950's forever.

September 30, 2016 at 12:12 PM · Any iphone (tablet, 'puter...) will very soon become obsolete. A good bow, you may outgrow, but it will maintain its value, be of use to so someone,& not add to garbage for many years to come.

September 30, 2016 at 12:27 PM · Tim, I was born in 91. I also work with some of the most advanced technology on the planet.

I selectively choose technology that allows human development, not pacification(i.e. being glued to a cellphone and letting everything else in the world to pass by).

September 30, 2016 at 01:00 PM · I hope that this was not a question for Mr. Perlman the other day.

September 30, 2016 at 03:16 PM · Hahahaha, Rocky! xD

Steven, I do have a good smartphone and no, I'm not glued to it at all. I use it a lot: I write things so I don'y forget them, I use it to tune A 442Hz, I got Internet connection so I can search for whatever thing that comes in my mind, instantly... It's so useful.

You really gotta be nuts to say it's useless, or if it's useful for something, is for gluing people to it. Smartphones are clearly the most advanced tool we have in our everyday lifes, and I like that a lot.

As it's so powerful, you must be mature to use it correctly. If not, you end up using it to live your life through it, instead of living it yourself, or end up recording bullies and having fun someone's being abused and you're recording it, or end up using it to invade private life of people, etc.

September 30, 2016 at 03:28 PM · Some people like to get the latest and greatest, and can afford to do so. To each his own. IIRC, the average person only keeps their mobile phone for 18 months. Frequent upgrades are the norm, and many people will get more utility out of constantly upgrading a mid-range phone rather than buying top-of-the-line.

Lots of people effectively run their businesses from their smartphone. Their needs are different from a teenager whose primary use is probably communication, social media, Internet, and games.

September 30, 2016 at 04:20 PM · Lydia, that trend also drives out the "good" technology, Windows 7, slide keyboard, ability to use a calculator, or simple math, etc.

Today alone for example, I had students who let their phones to do the algebra! These are 1st year University students!

By all means, a former colleague from the military, who's been in the carpentry business can take photos, and take dimensions on his phone. He doesn't need to carry around a laptop with him at all times to do these. However, when the pricetag of such phones are absurdly high, such as iphone. I don't see the purpose.

September 30, 2016 at 04:34 PM ·

September 30, 2016 at 07:46 PM · Two years from now, your phone will be "obsolete".

The bow will be as good as ever.

Buy the bow.

September 30, 2016 at 09:07 PM · I don't find the price of a phone to be absurdly high, especially not in conjunction with a carrier contract. And I get my smartphone through the company I work for, so the latest and greatest iPhone only costs me about $100 out of pocket. (I don't like large-screen phones so I'm still on my 5s, though.)

I used to use a high-end HP calculator to do routine math, including engineering mathematics, when I was in college. I can get that same kind of power pretty much for free or near-free on a smartphone app now. And I was required to learn MATLAB so I could use a computer to do my math, too. I think you can run MATLAB on a smartphone these days.

My smartphone has also ended up replacing lots of small gadgets that I might otherwise have owned. No need for a GPS (itself a really expensive device in the past). No need for a calculator. No need for a portable metronome or tuner. No need for a small flashlight. No need for some other small tools, like a portable ruler or level. No need for a portable game-playing device. Etc.

September 30, 2016 at 09:08 PM · @Tim. Why 442hrtz? Is this standard in the US? UK, Italy, and NZ use 440.

BTW. Older phones still work fine. I keep mine longer than most. I'm writing this on a 4s although my 7+ is on order. Get your supplier to give it to you free as part of a contract.

Cheers Carlo

September 30, 2016 at 09:34 PM · Everyone keeps saying "buy the bow buy the bow". You don't need a phone and the bow will have resale value. People. The man probably could benefit from a new phone.

David. Just buy whatever makes you happy. This is way too subjective of a topic. If that means one the other or both then so be it. Personally I would recommend you find ways to make money and then you can get whatever you would like. Having a part time job at a fast food restaurant is probably the most obvious, but also worst way. Think of skills that you have and find ways to make money from them. For example, when I was in jr. high I was fairly decent at graphic design and I was pretty comfortable with photoshop, so I sold decent quality graphics for a pretty low cost. Made about $40-50 a project just from working with friends/friends of friends that I met online through video games or the like. Nowadays I run a small tech repair business when I have time. Other ways include mowing lawns, shoveling snow, walking dogs, babysitting, but really do whatever you're good at and find ways to market yourself.

September 30, 2016 at 09:52 PM · I dunno about David's parents, but for many Asians, their school-age child working is shameful, and considered to be a waste of time for the kid, who could be studying and doing extracurriculars that will get them into Harvard.

September 30, 2016 at 10:22 PM · Running a business gets you into spectacular colleges. Like I said don't work at a mcdonalds. Do something creative that doesn't take much time. When I visited Johns Hopkins University one of the few points they mentioned for an application is that if someone can hold a job and keep up with their school work, then that shows clear determination and time management.

October 1, 2016 at 02:13 PM · The i-phone 6s will be much better on the violin than any bow. It will however, be useless as a telephone.

October 1, 2016 at 02:39 PM · I would go for a good synthetic option-the $125.00 bow can be detrimental, at least eventually.

I use Android only (no offense), and even my old Note 4 was more affordable than that Mac model. I understand the allure to many, but to me is bery overpriced-Android is such a great platform nowadays than the supposed minuses are not so anymore.

October 1, 2016 at 02:56 PM · How old are you? how old is your previous phone, what do you expect of the phone and what do you expect from the new bow? What brand or type of bow do you play now (synthetic, wood, type...). Have you played on better bows, and if yes, what is your reference then? Why was it better?

If you know that, you can enumerate the costs of your expectations; as some have said, it is well possible that you could ask for a 300$ phone and get a 300$ bow that will suit your needs, given some luck.

Going around shops is a good idea to see if these bows are worth the money.

October 1, 2016 at 03:40 PM · I was thinking about what I would recommend to one of my kids, based on my life experience:

Don't buy either one. Save your money.

October 28, 2016 at 06:28 PM · Please get the bow. I have an iPhone 6 and really regret buying it. A decent android phone will be more than sufficient. I would suggest that you save more money and get a Pernambuco for $1000-1500. It will really make a lot of difference.

October 29, 2016 at 08:28 AM · OK, never get iPhone or Samsung's, I hate I phones, Samsung has too much bloatware and is stupid. Instead look into "budget phones" which are as powerful, but only cheap because they are not advertised like the big phones. I'm currently using a one plus one, which i am thinking of upgrading to one plus 3, which when it came out, was 3 times cheaper then "the big boy phones", but was so much more powerful (snapdragon 801, massive battery, great screen etc.)

October 29, 2016 at 01:36 PM · I thought first this was a fun question, but I guess it's serious! Still funny!

I wouldn't underestimate the return of investment from a good phone and the Iphone 6s is a damn good one. The camera makes professional looking photos and the video quality is enough for most semi-professional/professional b-roll video shoots. Friends of mine made an entire music video mainly with an iphone. You can see the differnece if you know what is up, but for an mobile... it's just an amazing tool!

If you don't need that beautiful camera an other phone will do it's job aswell, but the Iphones really look the best until today...

And on the other hand you don't have to spend 1-2k for a decent bow. I would suggest you to go with a cheaper wood bow 150-200, but chose it carefully from various bows, since the quality spread with cheap wood bows is quite broad. But if you get 20 cheap bows in that category I ensure you you will find at least one, who will do his job until you earned enough for an bow from an old or living master.

October 29, 2016 at 01:51 PM · If you do buy the bow, and are hoping to upgrade it later, make-sure that you are buying from a shop with a good inventory and trade-in policy. With so many inexpensive carbon fiber, etc. bows out now, no one wants to pay full price for a used one in that range. I have a $1500 special edition Arcos Brazil viola bow that I would love to trade-in or sell, but the shop where I bought it doesn't have much inventory and no one else will take it on a trade. My guess is that if I ever sell it I will take a loss. That said, the bow will be usable by YOU forever in contrast to an iPhone.

If you do really want to get an iPhone, you could also consider asking for an iPhone SE model for around $400 and asking your parents if they would allow you have the difference to add to your bow fund for later. I just upgraded from my iPhone 4 (which I could no longer upgrade enough to use most apps on) to an SE and am perfectly satisfied with it.

October 30, 2016 at 05:59 PM · The Samsung Galaxy's and Apple iPhone's are not bad phones. They have reputations and price tags for reasons. Budget phones are not just as powerful. They are less powerful spec wise, have lesser screens, lower battery lives, and have less support from 3rd party companies (repair agencies, case manufacturers, app devs, etc.). There are also the numerous innovations and features that each individual company develops.

It all depends on your priorities.

October 30, 2016 at 10:49 PM · I would use Skype which is free and avoid the iPhone rip off. You can then get a decent bow, and you can be pleased you have not made Apple even richer.

By the way, Samsung phones catch fire and burn your house down.

And the iPhone six used a hell of a lot more rosin than a bow.

October 30, 2016 at 11:05 PM · Because of their indestructibility, I would take a serious look at good carbon fiber bows. DO try them out as you would a pernambuco bow. Just because they are machined doesn't mean they will be identical. Even with the same manufacturer and model, they will vary just like wood bows

October 31, 2016 at 12:47 AM · Peter. That was well out of Samsung's control. They do not manufacture their own batteries this could have happened to any company. It also only affected the Galaxy Note 7, and less than 100 models at that.

Those who had their houses burned down were imbeciles. Samsung announced a recall right away, and those people didn't take advantage of it.

October 31, 2016 at 02:32 AM · Not to go too far off-topic, but the next shipments of the Note 7, with supposedly fixed batteries, also turned out to be flammable. This is an important distinction because the normal assumption with mobile-device battery fires is that there is a process defect in the manufacturing that affected a particular batch of batteries. Consequently, careful QA on the battery production line should prevent a reoccurrence. The fact that it didn't indicated that the issue was likely something in the Note 7 itself which caused batteries to catastrophically overheat, and is the reason that Samsung eventually completely discontinued the phone rather than just recalling and replacing earlier shipments of it. In other words, this wasn't a general battery issue, but a Note 7 specific issue that Samsung has to take responsibility for.

October 31, 2016 at 09:08 AM · I have heard that the battery was sealed inside the electronics and was not user replaceable. It was also even more miniature and was probably not up to the job, and the anode and cathode were very thinly separated. A major design fault due probably to a desire to be more fashionable and smaller and lighter.

We have a disease here in the UK. People are so busy looking at their phones that they walk into you on the pavement (sidewalk) and also out into the road where they and their phones are duly squashed. (Maybe in the US there are no sidewalks and everyone uses a car even to post a letter 100 yards away ... (It's also happening here as well in the big cities).

Computers are nice - but why do people feel the need to have it in their pocket and tied by an umbilical cord, and that they can't live without it for a few hours?

October 31, 2016 at 05:41 PM · I have the interesting "problem" that my orchestra's rehearsal space, as well as the location where my teacher gives lessons, are out of range for a cellphone signal. That means I'm totally incommunicado for a few hours at rehearsals, and out of touch for an hour or more for lessons.

That little bit of unreachability, even outside of work hours for rehearsals, causes my phone to basically explode in messages when I get back into signal range. Some of them (the work-related ones) will express significant frustration at not having a near-immediate response. But I will also have delayed messages from friends and family. Since I have a baby, I may also have missed my husband's narrative of OMG This Is What Happened While You Were Gone.

We're now all so used to always-on communications that many of us can no longer really deal with people being offline unless it's really explicit that they are, and there's an explanation for why. I try to warn my coworkers, every single rehearsal night, that I will be out of touch for a while and will be back to them at X late-night hour.

October 31, 2016 at 06:02 PM · I can understand the allure of the nifty new device, but I also think the "fear of missing out" has reached international epidemic status. If you want to know why there is no middle class any more in the United States, it's because a huge portion (if not all, in some cases) of individuals' disposable income now goes to smartphones, phone contracts, cable TV service, online subscriptions, and so on. And then people complain when college is expensive. I had a pre-paid flip phone until just a few months ago, when I realized it would be less expensive to get a smartphone (LG, < $100) with TracFone. I send two or three text messages per day on average. At home we have digital broadcast TV, no cable.

October 31, 2016 at 06:06 PM · In the Northeast US where l live a huge number of people walk around looking at their phone screens, whether at the mall or walking down the sidewalk. As a truck driver/laborer I sit quite high and driving along I would say that thirty percent of the other drivers are texting or on their phone which is a ticketable offense where I live. And age doesn't seem to make much of a difference because I see just as many older people like me doing it as younger folks.

October 31, 2016 at 07:03 PM · I was interested in Lydia's comment about being electronically available 24/7. I like to respond to my students' questions and they are always a little bit surprised when I submit a response to a discussion group at some very late hour. On the other hand, are we getting paid for all that additional work? Is it too much to expect students to organize their work and manage their schedules so that they don't have to ask very basic questions the evening before an assignment is due? When I was in college this was not an option, but somehow I survived.

October 31, 2016 at 07:17 PM · Jeff - that's a worrying observation that 30% of other drivers in your state are using their phones.

It's the number one item on the news here today, as a lorry driver was looking at his phone for between 15 and 45 seconds on a dual carriageway and he ploughed into the back of a line of stationary cars at 50mph killing a mother and three children. He has just been given a ten year prison sentence which everyone thinks is far too lenient.

October 31, 2016 at 07:41 PM · Lorry? Well, that's one thing. How about a commuter train?

October 31, 2016 at 08:51 PM · That could be even worse ...

October 31, 2016 at 09:19 PM · Paul, it might feel that way (communications and entertainment spending consuming all disposable income), but it's not actually true. (I say that from the perspective of someone who has spent significant professional time in market sizing and forecasting of that space.)

November 1, 2016 at 09:42 PM · If you need the latest and greatest smartphone for work (if for no other reason than that the boss said so), fine. If you think you need it (for bragging rights or something to pass the time with), and that's worth more to you than a new bow, fill your boots. Otherwise, take a long hard look at what you really need and what you can afford, and decide accordingly.

I consider myself lucky to have been born before all these new gadgets came along; I've learned how to do an amazing amount of stuff without crutches. That's not to say I don't have a cell phone - but the simple flip phone I carry lets me send and receive calls and text messages without costing me an arm and a leg or eating up time I'd rather spend doing other things - like playing the violin. If I want to get somewhere, I can probably find my way there with the map I've built in my head. If not, there are paper charts (remember them?) which don't depend on batteries or cell reception. And I can get more entertainment from a book than from the latest low-quality cute cat video.

I also consider it a sign of personal success to not be at the beck and call of anyone and everyone 24/7, and I like to think that I've done a good job of setting my life up to not depend on an electronic tether.

As for being tech savvy... I've made my living as a computer programmer for 45 years and counting. The machine I used in my first job had 16K of memory. Not 16GB or 16MB - 16,384 bytes. And we were a service bureau that wrote and ran commercial applications for small businesses all over town who couldn't afford a computer of their own. So when people try to tell me how much computer power you need to do something, I take it with a very large grain of salt.

Heck, if I had a few hundred bucks burning a hole in my pocket I'd be getting a new bow for my viola...

November 1, 2016 at 10:38 PM · Charlie - you are so right!


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