How much should I spend on my bow
I finally have saved up some money on my own to buy a decent bow in my opinion, to go with my fantastic Mirecourt violin. The thing is, I don't know how much to spend and what is my budget. I would like a bow that could last a long time before upgrading again. I have saved $2000 NZ that's (approximately $1250 US dollars.) Would that be enough? Just to let you know,I am planning to study music at university and I am playing in the top youth orchestra in my country currently playing don Juan with tricky bow techniques. I've heard your bow should be 1/3 of the price of your violin, but does that really matter. Can you get bargains on bows? And luck?
Thanks in regards
A good question!
Would it be better of buying a carbon fibre bow or a pernumbuco bow at this price range?
I use carbon fibre for both violin and viola, due to the nature of what I do (performing outdoors, different spaces and regular travelling). I also found that the carbon fibre for both instruments performed better at the price point I was paying.
I think at the kind of price point you're at, carbon fibre makes a lot of sense. There are some outstanding carbon fibre bows out there that seem to me to represent good value for money. I recently went through the process of buying a new bow, and came to the conclusion that old pernambuco bows carry a price premimium simply because they are old and pernambuco. It doesn't mean they're good.
How much does a Mirecourt cost, £1,500? It used to be the case that you'd spend £500 when you could get a good pernambuco bow for that money, but nowadays at that price point carbon outperforms wood. And the rule I've been told is for carbon spend a quarter of what your violin is worth. If I had a £1,500 violin, I'd probably get a Coda Prodigy or similar.
I have a CF bow made by Jon Paul, and it works relatively well. Can pull off a number of "advanced" bowing techniques on it. I'd recommend it
Have one of the big shops send you three or four CF bows to try. Include the JonPaul Avanti -- this bow has been praised repeatedly by good players on this site.
The answer is: as much as you can afford.
Darren, you can get a good bargain at auction houses for bows. Tarisio in NYC has the T2 auctions with tons of good affordable violins and bows. I’ve seen Hill workshop bows at these auctions (in good condition) sold for under $1,000 USD. I wouldn’t personally go the carbon fiber route. There are in my opinion better affordable sticks made out of Amourette and Ironwood than carbon fiber. Good luck on your hunt!
I would suggest go try as many bow as you can at all price range.
Don't buy any bow unless you can inspect it and try it first. Auctions often have bows that dealers have unloaded there because they cannot sell them in their retail store.
For the money you have, you should be able to find a decent Brazilian workshop pernambuco bow. You definitely want to try and compare before you buy. Even bows of the same model and makers will differ significantly, no two bows are the same and there is no guarantee that more expensive = better. When I upgraded my instrument I actually downgraded my bow for one that worked better with the new instrument. Weight and balance point is an important element of your choice, and you should compare enough bows to make the determination of what works for you. Note that what works for you now, may not work for you later as you develop your technique.
Thanks for the responses. I see that the coda diamond gx and the Jon Paul Avanti are very popular being a carbon fibre bow, I'll probably check them out. I may check out some older pernumbuco ones as well, perhaps the ones which have lost its value or something beacuse of a small head break in the tip etc...
Yes, Roger's advice is good... the only challenge is that you would need to sample many of them to find a few worth considering. Tap test first: good on the right, bad on the left pile - discard and do not look again. Then all other tests, including all kinds of bow techniques. Has to feel like an extension of your arm. Listen, listen and listen. Has to match your violin and bring the best out of it. If you know your instrument well, it will be much easier. Good luck!
Darren, whether a CF bow might be a good choice or not can only be decided by yourself, and by checking them out in person. I really liked the Arcus A and S series on a couple of violins which were on the warmer side, and also other (more budget) brands performed surprisingly well for the money. On the other hand, my own violin hates them. It's gorgeous and I love it, but it's more silver than gold if you understand what I mean, and with a CF-bow (and my playing style maybe) it tends to tip over into shrill, while with the right wooden bow it turns into my personal "violinists wet dream".
There are good Brazilian wood bows in your price range; you should get wood rather than CF if you can. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to choose several of the bows that sound best to you and have someone play your violin with them so you can hear what they sound like to people listening to you. Good luck!
for 1000 bucks usd no way i would buy a CF bow, tons of excellent permambuco bow in this price range.
“Auctions often have bows that dealers have unloaded there because they cannot sell them in their retail store.”
buying a bow you haven't played is a bad idea
agree with lyndon, unless its a cheap bow for like 100 bucks then yeah ebay away. for a grand nothing leaves my wallet til i try it out with my instrument with my rosin.
You want to have two bows that play well with your violin. A back-up bow, probably CF, that you use outside, in physically risky places, some of your practicing and rehearsing. The price and the label are the less important factors. What counts more are weight, balance, quality of sound, strength..., how it matches your violin, your bowing style. If you shop around and get a little lucky, you can find something that works for you at a good price. One of my better Viola bows is a heavy, out of balance, very cheap CF Violin bow. I liked the JonPaul least expensive "Bravo" model enough to also buy the "Avanti". For me it was Not better(!), just slightly heavier.
As long as you're looking for your main playing bow and your budget is limited, I also agree with Lyndon to 200%. You need to try it, and take it home for a trial period of at least 1-2 weeks. Anything else is either for a great bow for an exceptional price (a chance you just cannot let pass), or for collectors and dealers for whom this is rather a piece of art in its own right, or an investment, but who will not use it as a tool.
I would just go to a bunch of shops and try stuff out without getting caught up on the price, and then find out what feels right and sounds good to you. I remember a while ago, I found a (presumably real) Bausch for between 1000 and 1500, and it played really nice. I don't really see the logic of the 1/3 thing. You should find bows that you like and then see what fits your budget. I paid more for my bow than for my violin, but my violin also isn't a big name.
... but do also try anything you're allowed to, for getting a sense for your own preferences, and let the more expensive bows teach you what to look in "minor" bows. It's fun!
The last violin I bought at Tarisio auctions, I tried for 10 minutes in NYC before bidding. I don’t regret the decision one bit! Not everyone needs a few weeks to make a decision, if you know what you’re looking for in a violin or bow. I agree with Lyndon, you should definitely try a instrument or bow in person before buying/bidding. I tried a very good bow at Tarisio, but I knew right away (within a minute) it was not for me. All instrument auctions like Tarisio, Skinners, Brampton’s etc. let you go there and try the items in the gallery.
the OP is in New Zealand
Yeah unfortunately in New Zealand we don't have a ton of options
And makes a difference if you're an experienced seasoned pro, adding one piece to a well working collection, or a young student at the beginning of his journey.
My mom was from New Zealand, great country!!
A quick Google shows up quite a few violin bow shops in New Zealand? (I understand it is a large country though!)
You MUST try bows before you buy. Bows and players are so individual, you HAVE to pick what's right for how you are playing right now and what you want to play in the future. People need different bows at different times in their career.
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