Help with bow purchase!

Edited: September 20, 2018, 11:32 PM · Hi V.Com!

I recently upgraded to a new violin in the $6000 range and I was searching for a new bow as it the one I'm using currently is pernambuco (possibly not) around $300. However, I've been noticing only very slight differences in between the bows I try, and I oftentimes can't tell a difference between them after I go through a couple. Additionally, the ones that I bring home and try against my old bow are only marginally better, so I am wondering if it is even worth upgrading my bow if I can only tell a slight difference. The bows I've been looking at range from around $600-1000, so perhaps my price range is too low? Or maybe the bow I have currently is adequate enough? Regardless, I have competitions coming up in about 3 weeks, so if I want to make a purchase, I only have a little time left.

Replies (4)

September 21, 2018, 7:24 AM · You should not be in hurry to buy a better bow IMO. Try other bows from local shops until one stands out and really works well for you. Try some higher priced bows as well even if you cannot afford them at this point of time in your life. Consider possibly trialing 4 to 6 bows from Shar in your price range for a small fee to cover roundtrip shipping.

Welcome Jeremy to violinist.com

September 21, 2018, 8:00 AM · It is possible that the bow you now own is adequate for your needs. I suggest you go to a well-equipped shop and try bows (on your own violin) at all price point they will let you touch. This will give you much broader knowledge of the spectrum of bow characteristics. Then you will be well equipped to make a decision and whatever you decide to do you may know better what you ultimately want in a bow.

My own view of these thing is that the scale of bow and instrument quality is more logarithmic (base 10) rather than linear. Thus, a $1,000 (log(1,000)=3 might be expected to be "50% better" than a $100 bow (log(100)=2). And the scale goes all the way up for bows and violins. It's just that those extra percentages can make all the difference to the player for ease of playing and even for sound.

And - then - there are bows and instruments that are "outliers" that seem unusually good for their price. Testing enough items might lead you to one. I remember about 20 years ago, when I was advised to find out when the salesmen from Brazil were delivering new bows to the local violin shops because the best ones would be sold fastest - so if you wanted one - you needed to get there early.

September 21, 2018, 4:26 PM · I had the codabow diamond sx, and ended up spending 1500 for a wood bow that made a substantial difference. Whatever you do, try and purchase from a place that has a good return/upgrade policy
September 21, 2018, 6:41 PM · It would be best if you could have your teacher weigh in on the bows you are considering.


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