Looking for a viola bow

January 15, 2020, 12:47 PM · Hi-we are shopping for a viola bow for my daughter. I would like to have several bows sent To her for trial. In addition to Carriage House, could anyone recommend add’l shops? Thx.

Replies (11)

January 15, 2020, 1:32 PM · What is your price range? What size are you looking for. Wood or carbon fiber?

SHARmusic.com and Ifshin Violins also both carry large selections of bows. I have bought bows from both.

If there is a dealer near enough or you to visit the shop you can test many more bows to find the best for your instrument (that's how I did Ifshin).

January 15, 2020, 3:05 PM · Yes-- price ranges are the main thing. Some shops with excellent options at $6,000 would have next to nothing at $900. And vice versa.
January 15, 2020, 3:56 PM · Robertson Violins in Albuquerque has a substantial inventory of bows at all price ranges
January 16, 2020, 5:04 AM · Fiddlershop.com has a bow trial program.
January 16, 2020, 6:39 AM · Any large dealer that can't ship you a few bows to try should be written off entirely. However, there can be small (e.g., one-person) operations that have significant inventory, but they don't ship out bows because they can't manage the costs or the labor involved. For example, if you are near Washington then it could be worth a trip to Josh Henry's shop -- I don't know if he ships bows, but he has a lot of them (mostly antiques that he has restored), and he makes bows too, so he's quite knowledgeable. I don't know how many viola bows he'll have, but it's worth a phone call.
Edited: January 17, 2020, 1:09 PM · Thank you, price range is $3500-$5500 roughly. We live in NJ. Thx
January 16, 2020, 10:45 AM · From NJ can you get to NYC and Philly? So many places you could check out in person - Isaac Salchow, Yung Chin, Reed Yeboah, Frederick Oster.

In addition to Carriage House for sending bows, look at Claire Givens shop in Minneapolis, many excellent modern makers represented.

Edited: January 16, 2020, 4:23 PM · Elyse - please edit your post; it makes no sense to me (i.e., "$3500-$550"), If you mean $350 - $550, one music store might be as good as another. If you mean $3,500 - $5,500 you do want to be in touch with a top-notch dealer or possibly a maker.

W. Seifert pernambuco viola bows are available at $550 (SHAR). Probably my best handling and best tonal viola bow is a W. Seifert. But I have been in the same room with a W. Seifert violin bow that was one of the worst handling bows I've ever experienced. So you do need to run trial bows through their paces. My Carbon Fiber ARCUS Concerto viola bow might actually be a better bow for some things, but these days they can cost 4-5 times more than the W. Seifert.

If you are in central/south NJ, visiting Philadelphia is another option.

Edited: January 18, 2020, 9:08 AM · If you meant 3500-5500, then also take modern German bows into consideration. Grünke and others are also available at retailers in the US, AFAIK. They usually come with a good value per money ratio since they're not stamped in French and therefore, from an international point of view, aren't comparable to them as status icons, but very well in terms of playability and workmanship.
A silver mounted Grünke comes for €2700 in Europe, for the US I guess it will not be much difference.
January 16, 2020, 5:49 PM · I use a $70 Fiddlerman CF :)
Edited: January 17, 2020, 9:39 AM · I second Paul's recommendation on Josh Henry. Just bought one of his violin bows, and it's a dream to play on.

I have a Salchow viola bow, which I love as well. They are among many shops in NYC that will have a wide selection.

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