A New Bow

August 22, 2006 at 05:31 AM · I'm considering the purchase of a new bow...what do you all look for? I know the basics: good even tone, good "feel", smooth whole bows, and lively action. Any preferences for gram weight? My violin is quite bright, and the bow I'm looking at is 57 grams. I like everything about it so far, but am not sure if the weight will be a problem. Look forward to hearing your insights!

Replies (14)

August 22, 2006 at 05:48 AM · According to the other women here, it's like finding a new beau. I guess you'll "just know."

August 22, 2006 at 05:58 AM · Expert sources indicate that the balance point is far more important than the overall weight of the bow in determing how it feels and plays in your hand. Let your senses be your guide.

August 22, 2006 at 07:34 AM · I have a bow that's 55 grams, and feels totally fine. The balance point is much more important. I generally like it when the bow bounces more towards the middle, but my mother likes it when the bow bounces closer to the frog. It's a very personal thing. Having a lighter bow might help you get more milage out of your right arm. I also imagine that a heavier bow will do more work for you, so that could also help or not help. It's tricky ;-). Many people say that the most important aspect is sound and how it matches with your instrument because you can get used to the feeling of the bow. I generally agree with this statement, but if you've ever played on a bow that just does everything for you, it makes playing so much easier and more enjoyable. I think both are equally important, but when you find the right bow, it should really slap you in the face telling you to get it. Everything about it should just work. Ideally, it should make your job easier.

August 22, 2006 at 11:42 AM · I agree with David, I guess it's just personal opinion, but I have a very light bow too, I think about 57 or 58 grams. When I was looking at bows, at first I tried bows at a much lower price range I think, but I didn't find anything better than my current bow. So I decided maybe I could wait a few years to get a new bow. But then I tried an amazing bow that was over my price range, and it brought a great sound out of my violin and was very versatile. It was much easier to do staccato and and spiccato for example. So I bought that bow. In the summer 2006 issue of teen strings, they have a guide on finding a new bow which is very practical. The criteria they suggest for rating bows is strength/firmness, flexibility, weight, balance, stability, firmness, legato, staccato, ricochet, sautille, sound quality, ease of playing, appearance, condition, and value. Good luck!

August 22, 2006 at 12:38 PM · Choosing a bow is very personal. You just have to try a whole bunch a see which one feels and sounds best to you. Before settling on one, you should have someone else play your violin with each of your top choices so that you know how the bows sound to people listening to you play. That can be quite enlightening.

August 22, 2006 at 12:49 PM · Hi,

Choosing a bow is a personal thing. Depends on its match to you, your playing style and your instrument. Weight is only one factor. Stability and playability are certainly key factors as well.

Good luck and Cheers!

August 22, 2006 at 01:29 PM · Wow David, what is that, a Peccate? My bow is 63.7 grams and feels as light and lively as anything!

August 22, 2006 at 04:20 PM · I like the snake wood ones:). I don't pay attention to weight or anything... or balance point. I just try out everything my local violin shop. But I had the "priveledge" to be taught on a fiberglass bow so it is impossible for me to play on a wooden one well. :(

August 22, 2006 at 05:30 PM · Weight is pretty irrelevant to me... I had an Ouchard which was 59g, which played like a tank. I have a Persois inspired bow by Gilles Nehr which is 60g, and is quite delicate. I just bought a Jean Jacques Millant which is almost 64g, and while it is a strong stick, it's very fine as well.

Weight is probably the most irrelevant factor in choosing a bow, at least for me.

First and formost, it has to make a sound you love simply found out by playing slow scales, playing across all strings...

August 23, 2006 at 02:01 PM · yes, and it is the marriage between your instrument and bow that can bring electricity to the sound and everything else falls into place. Each bow may vary in its balance point affecting the spiccatto.......remember, spiccatto is not the only criteria though...... cantilena playing is very important in finding the right bow.

It is how you are able to mold the sound with that particular bow that matters.

August 25, 2006 at 11:14 AM · A good sound and a good name,


August 25, 2006 at 01:18 PM · Make sure the hairs are properly tightened and that there are plenty of them.

Also make sure the screw actually turns and functions properly.

September 6, 2006 at 06:05 PM · Many things go into selecting a bow, some are artistic and some are scientific. On the scientific side, weight (usually between 60 and 63 grams), balance point (around 9 1/2" to 9 7/8" from bottom of button to balance point), straightness, quality construction (screw turning easily, tight fit between frog and stick), quality of wood (nice appearance is a positive, but more importantly check for any knots near the tip, ), and check the hair for proper fit (not too wide at tip end, no problems with plug or wedge). On the artistic side, make sure the bow does what you need it to do. Play some "long bow stroke" passages as well as some staccatto passages. Check how it feels in your hand when playing different strings, and obviously listen to what sound it brings out of your instrument (never buy a bow that you haven't tried on your own instrument is always my recommendation).

September 6, 2006 at 11:58 PM · I just bought a bazonga of a bow - I think.

I'll know how good it is once I actually receive it!

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