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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: How many bows do you have?

February 27, 2010 at 3:44 PM

A student who was fairly new to the violin asked me this week, do I need a spare bow?

Well, it's always nice to have one, especially once you get pretty busy playing the violin. Personally, I have a spare bow, but I might call it as spare "bow." It's not the one I prefer! I'm dying to get a Baroque bow, but that will probably have to wait until the violin payments stop. I've also considered getting a Coda-type bow, to have a better spare. But for now, I simply have two bows.

I have known people to have a serious collection of bows, which is why I included some rather high numbers in this vote. How many bows do you have? Tell us about them below.


From Marsha Weaver
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 4:10 PM

I currently have 3 bows, although one of them isn't functional at the moment (way overdue for a re-hair).  I didn't have the money to have it re-haired, so I purchased an inexpensive bow to get me by until my finances look better.

My primary violin didn't come with a bow, so I'm now waiting for its primary bow to arrive (next week?).  For now I'm using a really bare-bones bow that came out of a -- dare I say "cheap"? -- violin outfit with a damaged/unsaleable violin (so the violin store gave me the bow).  It's a bow --  that's about all I can say for it.  I'm very thankful that I have any sort of bow to use for now -- I really appreciate the store's generosity -- but it can't do justice to my violin.  I can't wait til the new one arrives!

From Dee Ann Fleming
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 4:39 PM

 I currently have an old, fine French bow which is really strong.  My go-to spare is another old French bow which is kind of soft.  I have a Coda bow for outside/smoky gigs, a Baroque bow for working on Bach, and an old English bow which I use occasionally for Mozart.  I would also love to purchase a new Thomas Dignan bow!  Gonna have to get another bow case...

From Anne Horvath
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 4:43 PM

I have four, although one is a useless BSO from my childhood.  

From Jefferson Dixon
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 5:05 PM

I'm currently buying a new general-purpose bow (The David H. Forbes is the most interesting at the moment.) I have an entry-level pernambuco bow as my backup, I sold my decent carbon fiber bow because I didnt need it, and I have my first bow that is really bad and I keep for sentimental reasons.

I put 3, but really only 2 usable ones.

My teacher seems to collect them. He has a D. Peccatte, another Peccatte, a Tourte, and another famous which which I cannot remember the name of.

Posted on February 27, 2010 at 5:25 PM

way too many perhaps...but what a very healthy addiction to have

B. Millant, J.J. Millant, F. Winkler,  Hill, J.S.Finkel, J. Finkel, Neudorfer, Buthod, Grunke, Martin, J. P. Lauxerrois, and the list goes on and on.

3-1-10...OMG I just counted them all...40 and although some are not collectible gems like those above, all are fine solid bows;  not one is a junker

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Wow 26% have more than 8??? I though this was just for soloists ; ) 


From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 7:57 PM

 How many beauxs do you have?!!!!!

From Sue Buttram
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM

 I have one violin bow, two viola bows and two cello bows.  I figure I can use a viola bow on my violin when I'm getting the violin bow rehaired.

From The Weekend Vote
Posted on February 28, 2010 at 3:44 AM

Buri, I'll have to do that question next week...

From Manuel Tabora
Posted on February 28, 2010 at 4:37 AM

I have two, my nice player and my spare. I mostly keep my spare for when I take my nice one in for a rehair, but I'm defeating my own purpose because the spare has hair on it that is probably 2 o 3 years old, so lately when I do take my bow to my bow maker friend for a rehair, I ask him to lend me one of his bows to play on for a day, and that is always a treat too :-)

From Royce Faina
Posted on February 28, 2010 at 5:26 AM

I hae only one but I need another!  So that I can play while the other is being rehaired!

From Annette Brower
Posted on February 28, 2010 at 7:23 AM

I have 3 that I use for different reasons but I also have 7 more in the piano bench.  I call it the coffin because they are all broken at the tip.  It is just a small collection from careless students.  It scares most of them into being careful with their instrument.....all in fun.:-)

From Tasha Miner
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 12:54 AM

I have 4 bows.  A good performing bow, a teaching/orchestra bow, a teaching bow for my teaching violin, and a viola bow for my viola.

My good bow is a Silveira.  Love it for the $$.

I have a JonPaul Bravo orchestra bow.  Carbon fiber, awesome at only $250.

My teaching bow is a Presto Ovation.  Had I known about JonPaul Bravos, I'd have 2 of those.

IDK what my viola bow is...  It's pernambucco and only $430.

From Mendy Smith
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 2:45 AM

Got 6 total.

4 viola bows: two student grade ones (my first real bow and bow backup), and two higher quality bows.  One violin bow and one cello bow.

From Josh Cohen
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 5:32 AM

I have four bows that I use fairly regularly; a Dodd, and a Hill bow are my usual bows. But when I play out doors, or with an electric, I prefer a carbon fiber bow, or a new wormwood Chinese bow (I had gone through many before finding one that was good enough to like) I got recently.  I also have a collection of really cheap bows (mostly obtained on ebay in bulk) that are probably worth about $10 each (or seeing what "cheap" bows cost these days, probably a lot more!).  I used to like shocking people in using the cheap ones to break over stands for unattentive students...

Then there are the viola, cello, bass and baroque bows that I've collected (and play on) over the years...

From Kristina Turner
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 5:42 AM

I just recently brought my carbon fiber bow in for rehair and after playing with a loaner bow for a couple weeks, I realized I no longer care for my own bow.  While trying out bows for a student, I accidentally found a match for my violin (that was exciting!)  It's just a basic french model pernambuco and silver stick, but it clicked.  I hesitated to buy it (and in fact started the details on a commissioned bow from a local maker to go with my locally made instrument), but the thought of not finding another one that worked as well sent a shiver up my spine. 

Most of my bows are more suited to support a garden of tomatoes.. but they occasionally have their purpose (perhaps a clock or something).  

From Louise Pallet
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 6:52 AM

I just love bows. My first bow was a broken one and I fixed it myself and played with it for over a year and gave it to someone who plays with it and loves it. Most of my bows were gifts and every now and again I get a very special one. The oldest is from 1812 and I use it a lotI;m not counting the hairless bows as I have at least 7 of those as well. All my friends know that they can borrow my bows when they are having theirs rehared so they come in very useful.

From Peter Kent
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 1:05 PM

While I do use 5 bows on different occasions, the best wooden bow simply does not get along with my 2nd or that bow is restricted to gigs where my best fiddle is the tool d'jour....couple synthetic or carbon-graphite, one of which is a cheapo Presto that is so great for spiccato passage's actually difficult to keep from bouncing in 16th passage work and really produces more sound with less effort than the more expensive ones.

Bows really are more intimate to a player's whims than the instrument....I have 3 viola bows in the works.....a super wooden that really grabs the string for a lush viola sound, a Coda that is really good, and the best all around is a mongrel that I bought for $7.50 about 40 yrs.'s tantamount to the Ugly-Stick of fisherman fame,






From Graham Clark
Posted on March 1, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Many more than eight if you count the sticks and frogs that have arrived with duff old fiddles that I couldn't resist.

But probably just five decent bows.

I sometimes lend one to a student if they are having a rehair.


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