Advise- Violin bow

March 9, 2014 at 05:51 PM · I am looking for a violin bow, 60-61 gr. which will enrich (especially for Bach, Mozart, Brahms)the sound of my Italian violin.

the budget is around 5000 Euro

Replies (32)

March 9, 2014 at 06:37 PM · Try as many bows as you can at your price range and below and pick the one that suits your purpose. Don't go for provenance as good bows can be had at various price ranges.

March 9, 2014 at 11:26 PM · I would recommend looking at older German bows. They offer the best value in your price range IMO

March 9, 2014 at 11:50 PM · I play a Thomas Gerbeth bow, wich was a good investment I made. You should look that name up, a friend of mine also plays a cello bow from him. Some say, that he makes excellent copies aswell. Many top professionals have bows made by him.

They are around 5000, price list is on his homepage. He lives and works in austria.



March 10, 2014 at 12:55 AM · If you're willing to have bows shipped to you, I recommend calling Gennady Filimonov in Seattle, WA. I have a bow from him and he has a nice selection in your price range.

March 10, 2014 at 01:22 AM ·

March 10, 2014 at 01:29 AM · Greetings,

Hi Smiley, I sort of know where you are coming from with the 'older German' thing but I don't completely agree with it. It gels with my experience of that price range and slightly higher here in Japan where I found the majority of French bows I tried rather uninspiring. Go up a couple of notches and it's a different story.....

But as a generalization older German bows tend to be rather stiff in my admittedly rather limited experience and it may simply not be your cup of tea although it never bothered Oistrakh!

In the end I rejected all the slightly lower end French bow for a lovely modern German that does every trick in t the book and has a fantastic range of sound. That was about 6000 dollars which in the real world would be quite a bit cheaper. Well under the OPs price range I think.



March 10, 2014 at 03:28 AM · Agreed Buri,

I would not consider my Ludwig Bausch to be stiff, but it is certainly stiffer than the fine French bows I have sampled. Actually I find the French bows to be on the soft side and my Bausch is just perfect. It is either a personal preference thing, or I just don't have the chops to appreciate (or properly handle) a softer bow. When I have some free time, I might sample some fine French bows again to see if they appeal to me now that I have a few more years under my belt.

When shopping for bows, I did try quite a few from modern makers, but nothing was quite to my liking. There was a gold mounted Fuchs that was excellent, but it was rather raw and untamed. My Bausch is much more refined and delicate. I'll bet it would suit the OP very nicely for Bach, Haydn, etc.

But like violins, bows are very subjective. There is no right or wrong, just some that feel good and some that don't.

March 10, 2014 at 03:37 AM · BTW, the weight thing is a bit of a misnomer. If you care about resell value (who doesn't), then you should stick with bows around 60-61 grams because that is what people think bows are supposed to weigh. And you will have the easiest time selling a bow if it is a "standard" weight.

But the perceived weight of a bow can differ quite a bit from the actual weight. The perceived weight is dependent on the weight distribution or balance point. A light bow (e.g., 57-59 grams) can feel heavy if the weight is towards the tip. And a heavy bow (>61 grams) can feel light if the weight is distributed closer to the frog.

When trying bows, I don't want to know the weight or the price of the bow. It can incorrectly affect your perception of the quality of the bow. Judge a bow on it merits, not its price or weight .... or age or country of origin for that matter.

March 10, 2014 at 03:49 AM · Greetings,

that's worth repeating.

When you are trying bows ask the dealer to line them up without any price tags and in

random order.

You might be surprised.....



March 10, 2014 at 04:40 AM ·

March 10, 2014 at 05:01 AM · Greetings,

yes. He was very attached to nurnbergers. they may have gone up over ther last few years but a good one is about 5000 dollars . I used to have one. Same comment as above though, they are a stiff bowl A good French is very very different. Buyer beware though. there are an awful lot of dubious nurnbergers floating about. if in doubt just buy a vegeburger.



March 10, 2014 at 08:19 AM · Abraham, I have a couple of nice bows in that price range (Nurnberger, Hill, etc.). If you're interested and in London at some point don't hesitate to contact me.

March 10, 2014 at 08:47 AM · many thanks for those who replied.

did any of you heard or experimented Karl Shmidt bows?if yes, it will be appreciated having his mail address

March 10, 2014 at 08:55 AM · Abraham, I have a phone number for him, but not his e-mail. Send me a PM if you want me to pass it on.

March 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM · A 1938 vintage Hill bow, of the W.E.H & S grade (no fancy - work) goes extremely well with my 20-year-old Italian viola.

Here's a similar one coming up in a London Auction soon :-

I don't know what such a bow would retail at in the USA, but in the UK one should be within your budget.

March 10, 2014 at 01:02 PM · David - there is unfortunately no general wisdom about Hill bows and Italian instruments to take away from the fact that your particular Hill bow works well with your particular Italian viola. Each Hill bow is different, each Italian viola is different - it's not the brand on the stick or the nationality of the instrument that matters, but each individual combination of player / instrument / bow.

March 10, 2014 at 02:15 PM · Two years ago I was looking for a bow and tried about 50 bows. In the end I purchased a new Thomas Dignan bow, for under 4k. It was a great decision and I love the way the bow brings out the sound on my old German violin. I had been playing on a lighter bow, (58-59) and I think the slightly heavier bow helps bring out sound with less effort. Just thought I'd mention Dignan, since I have been completely happy with my new bow.

March 10, 2014 at 03:21 PM · "David - there is unfortunately no general wisdom about Hill bows ....".

OK, but with folk going on about German bows and other merchandise I merely thought to suggest another quality/budget compromise. Good playing sticks can be found amongst the lower grades of "Hill" bows - but of course it's up to the potential buyer to shop around.

March 10, 2014 at 03:58 PM · Yes, I did notice that lighter bows, though typically more nimble, require a bit more work to draw out a full sound. Like violins, different bows are more suited to different pieces and ensembles. I guess that is why all the greats have multiple violins and bows.

March 10, 2014 at 11:41 PM · Greetings,

that's an interesting point. It's certainly true there is a big trend towards using bows made during the period in question, not only bach but Beethoven etc. Silverstein wrote that he really started to get an understanding of bach when he experimented with a baroque bow.

However, I am not sure that all the big names do in fact swap bows around although we see fit with players like tetzlaff. Mostly the players of the 20c stays with one particular bow or bow maker irrespective of the work in question. I think they only changed around to give their favorites a break , if you will forgive the pun. Then there is Kreisler who just bought hill bows by ther half dozen because the riciuluous tension he used wore out the sticks really fast. Sticks do actually wear out and warp much more was ly than we thinks as I know you know.

I am not personally at one with the idea of one bow being better suited to music x and another to music y. In my opinion, some players these days are being seduced by the idea that there is a lighter or heavier tone for this amd that whereas it is , I thinks much more a question of articlation, shading and so on. I think a great player can do it all with one bow no problem.

incidentally although it is true that violin and player ultimately decide the choice of bow it doesn't mean there isn't such thing as the perfect bow and that any problem may well be cause by the players lack of ability. A Greta bow teaches the player as they go along. I used to have a bow that was , I think I caveat say with a fair degree of objectivity, simply without flaw of any kind and always proved to be superior tried alongside extremely expensive toutrtes, sartory etc. I suspect a world class Pecatte is like that. The bow in question was by Millant.



March 11, 2014 at 12:24 AM · I would definetely go with a modern maker. First you have a good chance of increasing the value over time, it was even the strads month topic sometimes last year how good of an investment new bows from the good makers are. Second you will have direct influence in the building process if you want something special and just for you. The third point is, that if you are not satisfied, you can give the bow back, because it will resell easily. I think the best modern makers sell off the bench (right?). The old bows that I tried were good and interesting, but nothing stood out like the new bow from Gerbeth. It has such an good controlled feeling until the tip. I would do a surgery with it, if I must!

March 11, 2014 at 01:37 AM · @Buri,

If the Millant was a perfect bow, what happened to it? I hope you didn't sell it.

March 11, 2014 at 03:32 AM · stupidest thing I ever did.

Should have sold a kidney (or one of my steeenkin cats kidneys) instead.



March 11, 2014 at 04:51 AM · Just to agree with most of what's been said:

Old Germans and English are better priced, on average, than old French. Not usually as good, but you can get really lucky if you don't require the smell of garlic.

The best contemporary bows are in the OP's budget, and can be stunningly good in craftsmanship, sound, and handling. If you know where to look.

None of this matters until you try a candidate on your own violin. In different repertoire. In different kinds of weather. It's always pleasant to dream of the silver bullet, but you might need more than one to cover all situations.

March 11, 2014 at 05:34 PM · The last that I heard David Samuels was living in Israel south of Haifa, and making superior bows. He worked at Rene Morel's and with Tomochot, and Espey. If he moved someone will no doubt correct me.

March 12, 2014 at 06:59 AM · Yes, I know. I am practicing with David Samuels bow. Yet, I consider another bow, more well rounded sound

March 12, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Buri, if you'd sold one of your steeenkin cats' kidneys, you could have used the guts for violin strings.

Abraham, violinist Stanislaw Frydberg gave me advice on recognizing a good bow. It was: If, when you have tightened it, you hold it with the stick between your eyes and the hair and bend it sideways, it's a good bow if you feel that you'll break it if you try to bend it beyond the point where you still see hair adjoining the stick in the middle.

March 12, 2014 at 07:51 PM · tried that with my cat.

Anyone want a kebab?

March 13, 2014 at 02:26 AM · Cat meat is better served with fluorescent source - The official name of the dish is "chat au brilliant".

March 13, 2014 at 09:10 PM · A while back, I did a pretty exhaustive search for a violin and found that the best fiddles were being made by living makers and priced very reasonably compared to antique fiddles.

After that experience, I expected to find a similar situation with bows, but that wasn't the case. Perhaps I just did not get the right bow from the right maker, but the best ones in the $5-6K price range were the older German bows; comparably priced bows from living makers were not as good from my sampling.

BTW, my teacher at the time owned a Sartory and a couple of gold mounted Rolland bows; they ranged in price from $10K and upwards of $20K each. Needless to say, he was very impressed with my Ludwig Bausch. When he played a few passages from the last movement of Tchaikovsky violin concerto, the Bausch sounded and handled just as well as his much more expensive bows.

March 13, 2014 at 10:03 PM · Hi,

I've tried a lot of Satory bows over the years and never found one that I could really say ,'wow! so this is what a great bow plays like. ?' Perhaps I just lack sartorial elegance,



March 13, 2014 at 11:41 PM · Just like violins, price and performance of violin bows are VERY loosely correlated

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