Is a 70 dollar Ipe wood bow from Brazil good for an intermediate violin student?

Edited: December 20, 2018, 9:44 PM · I am an intermediate violin student who is in the market for a nice decent violin bow because my old bow that is under 20 dollars is now falling apart.

I found this violin bow from a respectable violin online shop here in the Philippines that is an Ipe wood bow with an ebony frog, abalone shell slide, gold phoenix emblem and linings and Mongolian horsehair worth 70 dollars. And if you add an extra 20 dollars it even comes with a synthetic core strings worth 24 dollars and a mahogany wood shoulder rest worth 24 dollars for their Christmas promo sale.

What do you guys think? Is a 70 dollar violin Ipe bow plus 20 dollars worth of synthetic strings and violin shoulder rest worth it for my level or is it just a waste of money?

EDIT: I also found out that the weight of the bow is around 70 grams isn't too heavy for a violin bow?

Replies (10)

Edited: December 20, 2018, 5:48 AM · Welcome to James, it is a good idea to try playing a bow on your violin before buying one but if you are unable to do so then I think I think this is a fairly priced deal for you as long as the store has a return policy if you are unhappy with what they send you.

It is always a good idea to have extra strings in your case especially E strings as they are not that expensive. If you can hold the violin comfortably with no shoulder rest that is the ideal setup IMO but if you are experiencing difficulty with shifting and vibrato then maybe a shoulder rest might make playing a bit easier for you.

December 20, 2018, 7:03 AM · Brazillwood... I have tried cheap bows and they were not usefull. Too heavy and soft at the same time. Slow to respond and thin sounding.

However - I do have a plastic spare bow for 70 Euro...
There surely is difference in sound and response from my main bow but it's very playable and works flawlessly.

In any case - I picked the plastic bow from a wide range of bows. It's a good piece, and there were many lesser ones in the batch. The problem with low priced sticks is consistency. They can go from "atrocious" to "wow, this works". But it 70 bucks will not command "just like a Peccatte" feel.

Also - 20 dollar strings are perhaps a worse proposition. Even top notch strings can make your instrument suck, 20 dollar strings will do so with a vengeance.

Edited: December 20, 2018, 6:38 PM · I have read in several articles that Ipe may possibly be a good alternative to pernambuco for bows and since much faster growing than pernambuco, definitely renewable, possibly saving what little standing pernambuco we have left.

Apparently it has many similar qualities as pernambuco including density and some bow makers have won international awards with Ipe bows. I was seriously thinking of trying a JonPaul Ipe bow just to see how I like it, the cost making it worth the risk.

Edited: December 20, 2018, 7:23 PM · Decent synthetic strings exist the $20-25 price range -- Alphayues and Ascentes aren't bad.

At $70, I'd assume carbon fiber bows would be far superior to wood. That seems to be true at every price level up to about $1,000. I don't think a decent intermediate-level wood bow can be found for $70, at least in the US. Carbon fiber bows, though, might be good enough at that price level.

December 20, 2018, 7:43 PM · rubbish CF bows sound terrible
Edited: December 22, 2018, 10:50 PM · Mr. Vander, for the price range you listed, try a hybrid bow. It essentially takes what is excellent about both carbon fiber and wood bows, and marries them. The Fiddlerman version is excellent but unavailable; the Vio is good and available. The latter is a bit light, but you still may want to consider it.



December 22, 2018, 9:15 PM · Based on circumstance, I guess your referring to the shop ‘Violin Village?’ I haven’t personally tried their instruments because I don’t like buying without trying. However, if you want to try instruments, bows, and branded authentic synthetic strings before buying them, I would recommend The String Department in Quezon City. The owner is a professional musician and his friends are concermasters and violinists from PPO and/or MSO. Here’s the link to his store:

I bought my violin and bow here and IMO this is your best choice for buying string instruments and related items. Lyric and other local stores offer crap instruments at expensive prices. My friends tell me that the Yamaha Violin sold at Lyric for 32000 PhP sounds so small and ‘gipit’ comapared to the violin I bought at The String Department for 18000 PhP. I am not affiliated with this store, I am just a very satisfied customer.

December 22, 2018, 11:58 PM · Yes you are right Edric, I am referring the shop 'Violin Village'. I have also heard about The String Department but the problem at this time of year is that they are always out of stock and I am still waiting for their updates.

I decided not to buy the ipe bow because they don't have a return policy or trials. Second, It's quite risky to by online without you having it tested first. So i guess I am just going to wait the String Department stocks for high quality carbon fiber bow or even a pernambuco bow and test them out personally.

I also agree that Lyric and other local stores sells crap instruments with expensive price tags like the finger boards are not even made out of ebony and it didn't even have a proper set up.

December 23, 2018, 9:01 AM · "At $70, I'd assume carbon fiber bows would be far superior to wood. That seems to be true at every price level up to about $1,000. I don't think a decent intermediate-level wood bow can be found for $70, at least in the US. Carbon fiber bows, though, might be good enough at that price level."
"rubbish CF bows sound terrible"

Agree with both. Usually I don't get along with CF bows, even if higher priced like Codabow or even Arcus, they tend to sound a little thin and shrill on my violin. As Benjamin Newton suggested, a hybrid bow might be a good option. The few I was able to try were all decent and played like a CF but sounded much more like Pernambucco.
I never tried a Composite bow <100$ but several CF bows around this price which were very usable, one of these is my backup 007 for "special operations" when I don't want to risk the health of my finer wooden bows. Never found a new wooden bow (no matter if Pernambucco, Brazil or Massaranduba) <300$ I would recommend to an intermediate student. For a cheap wooden bow which is fairly usable, I'd look for private sales. If not, then try to get one directly from China, you'll get the same thing for less money.

December 23, 2018, 9:05 AM · ... anyone here experience with Vingobow? They are very moderately priced and ship directly from Suzhou/CN...

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