As a preliminary question, how many bows do you own?
I've just bought a Stentor Conservatoire II outfit with the intention of upgrading in two years' time.
I'd like a carbon bow, partly as a spare bow, partly because I'm pretty confident wood is obsolete, at least in my price range (lol - we can argue about that somewhere else), but also I wonder if I should upgrade the bow before I upgrade the fiddle. The Fiddlerman CF bow is worth about a third of my violin, so it would only be a first bow, not an upgrade, although it might be a quality upgrade, although not a price upgrade.
I guess we're back to the awful question, how much should I spend? Which would require me to decide how much I'll spend on a violin in two years' time. I don't know - reasonable student instrument for £1,200? So should I spend £400 on a cf bow now? I suspect that's way too premature.
If I buy a cheaper bow now and then upgrade I'll have at least 3 bows. Then if I had a £400 bow should I buy a spare? I guess the answer to that is, No.
Should I go for broke asap and just end up with the one good bow (plus the one that came with the Stentor as a spare)?
1. It's general agreement that one should select the bow as a fit to the violin, and not vice versa. Get a bow for your current instrument and get it from a shop with a good trade in policy, so your investment will not be wasted.
Maybe this sounds a bit rude, but isn't meant like that...
Well, I was eager to see how others would respond to you, so I was happy to wait before commenting, if at all, but I have grade 8 on the piano and on the oboe, and so I will begin classically, as I am aware of the value of technique, but the music I actually play will initially be Western Swing until I can join an adult amateur orchestra if one will have me.
But to answer your original question: eight bows:
Andrew, that's great. You've proven you skills already and know what you want. I don't know about that grade system (had only two examinations necessary back then on piano on my way to conservatory) but grade 8 should be pretty advanced I guess? And the oboe... Wow. My experiences with other instruments (like guitar, trombone or clarinet) are very rudimentary and only out of curiosity. You seem to be a born musician, so I guess you will learn that violin thing pretty fast, although it's done really different kind of an animal!
I have two identical CF bows in my violin case, another the same in my daughter's violin case, and another CF bow of the same model for my viola. The model is the Cadenza 3-star ("Master") bow. I paid around $400 each for them. They are wood-clad CF. They look nice and they play really well. An excellent pro recommended them to me. He told me that I'd have to spend over $2000 on a pernambuco bow to outperform these CF bows. Eventually I may do that (the 1/3 rule would mean about $4000), but for now I'm satisfied that my bow is not holding me back. I know that because I've tried playing several bows in the $4000 price range a few months ago when Josh Henry was in town, and I couldn't really tell any difference.
Well today I ordered a Col Legno Standard, so all decisions are now deferred for a year or two!