Buy the violin or bow first?
I've heard different opinions from people. Some say you should buy the bow first, others say buy it after the violin. I'm just really curious about this, because now I have got a decent violin and now need to get a decent bow to go with it as my current bow is a $300 German bow. A colleague of mine has a coda diamond GX bow and a Avanti bow. I prefer the sound of the GX but the Avanti can do ricochet more easier. Anyway she then said to me you should of bought the bow first then the violin. This got me confused because to me, it makes more sense the other way around.
So what's the right way of doing it?
Usual advice is the violin first. Perhaps because it is normally more expensive, and harder to sell if you wish to move on.
Violin first, IMO... it makes the most difference to your sound although both are important. It is easier to find a bow that suits a violin than the other way round.
Violin first, then its new resources will enable one to choose the best bow. A bow that improves the sound of a mediocre violin may not suit the better violin at all..
There is not necessarily anything wrong with a $300 bow.
I bought my violin first, then trialed many bows before settling on one that worked best for me. It does everything that I need it to do and it sounds nice with my violin. I struggled a lot with any/all off the string technique with my old bow, so my #1 criteria with the new bow was good bounce for me, and then good sound from a few feet away. I ended up turning away a few bows that I thought sounded great but seemed too bouncy/alive for my ability level. I was shooting for a reliable bow, not a sports car-type bow, and that's what I got - bonus is that it's gold mounted and in perfect condition.
I guess it really depends, but I'm gonna say both options are right, let me explain: if you're beginner or intermediate level, any decent violin will let you expand and improve your skills for many years, by many I mean 5 to 8 years, if you're an average regular learner. So, as long as you have a decent "beginner" violin, you will make it sound better and better for so many years, the violin won't do you any bad. Proper fit, proper dimensions, proper adjustment, good quality strings and bridge, well maintained...
Normally, it's violin first. But for budget reasons it can make sense to upgrade the bow first. For instance, if you have a $1,500 violin and a $100 bow, which is not uncommon, if you can spend $700, it usually makes more sense to get an $800 bow rather than upgrade to a $2,200 violin, in terms of impact for your dollar.
In my experience the "flexibility" of a bow is a combination of the flexibility (or stiffness) of the stick and the amount* of hair on the bow. It is worth finding someone who understands this (and knows what do to about it) when testing and buying bows.
Violin first I would agree. The bow is usually matched to the instrument, and there is nothing to say that a more expensive bow is the one that will work best with your next instrument. That being said it is a little bit of chicken and egg dilemma, which comes first. If your current bow is inadequate, it would make sense to upgrade it, but the new bow is "matched" to your current instrument. When I bought my current violin, a big step up from precious, I actually ended up swaping my good bow for a less expensive one that was a better match. The price difference was about that of a rehair and new thumb leather.
A friend and I once tried mixing and matching our various violins and bows. Some combinations simply would not work at all. So I'd go for the violin first, then find a bow that works with it.
Generally its violin first, here is an article I wrote a little while back about shopping for instruments: https://adbowsllc.com/2017/02/19/shopping-for-an-instrument-part-1-of-2/
Buy the Violin first, then look for a bow that is a good marriage partner to the Violin. Bows are strange objects. Sometimes you can find a bow that has the right combination of weight, balance, strength, but is not expensive. One of my better behaving bows is a $50 "brazilwood", and a $100 no-name carbon heavy violin bow works great with my viola. Hint: at the lower price ranges the octagonal bows can be better choice than the round sticks. The ridges act like reinforcing bars, giving it a better strength-to-weight ratio, and less likely to warp. Later, you will probably experiment with the strings.
In my case buying the violin first is obvious - I won't be spending more than 2000USD. After that a bow collection is bound to follow.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.