Violin Bow Recommendations under $200 for Late Intermediate/Advanced Students
I'm a late intermediate student violinist who has been playing violin for the past 3 years. I'm at the point where I'm enjoying it and considering taking my violin practices very seriously as it may be something I want to pursue in the future.
My parents have upgraded my instrument a year ago to something more reasonable for my current level, but they seem to be unconvinced that spending more than $200 on a bow is the right thing to do. They think a wooden stick or even carbon fiber shouldn't cost more than $50 let alone $200.
Hence, I'm looking for recommendations of a good bow that will cost under $200 which will perform well with spiccato and sautille just as well as legato strokes.
Buying a bow that costs over $200 would be a worthwhile investment depending on the cost of your current violin. For example, say you were playing on a $10000 violin but only a $200 bow. Unless that bow is just the best bow of all time and does everything you need it to do and more (it would likely have to be antique) you would need to spend more than $200 to buy a better bow that will suit you and that violin. Other the other hand, if you were playing on a $600 violin I think $200 is pretty reasonable for a violin of that caliber and it could be debated whether or not you'd upgrade the violin or the bow first.
Thank you for your reply Christian. I find that most violin shops tend to add an additional overhead cost to their instruments and bows, and I have tried to search for old bows, but it has becoming increasingly hard to find something good for a low price. This is true not only for wooden bows, but also carbon fiber ones too.
I'm looking to buy a car, but I only have $500 to spend. I want it to be in good, clean running condition, no more than 30,000 miles and no more than 3 years old, good tires, good report from Carfax, will pass inspection, etc. I would prefer a car with a red color. By the way I am an advanced driver, having driven for 56 years so I need a very fine car.
If you are an late intermediate/advanced student, you really need a better bow than you are likely to get for $200. Have you tried getting your violin teacher to talk to your parents about the importance of a better bow? You really almost need to be a string player to understand why a stick with hair could be worth $$$$.
Wow Bruce, you know how to make a point!
"they seem to be unconvinced that spending more than $200 on a bow is the right thing to do. They think a wooden stick or even carbon fiber shouldn't cost more than $50 let alone $200"
At 3 years in, it sounds like you might be getting ahead of yourself. Are you actually playing pieces that require spiccato and sautille, or are you looking forward to some years down the line when you will be?
Whenever I feel dissatisfied with my violin and bow (€700 in total) I ask my teacher to play it. I instantly see that my violin sounds quite well...
Bruce Berg surely shows what happens when you are a grouchy Juillard graduate who got stuck teaching in the middle out of nowhere in Texas: unnecessarily mean and sarcastic to a child and his parents who don't know much about music or musical instruments!
I thought Bruce made a very clear point! I may borrow his idea for future use.
Your best bet is to go to local shops and see if they will sell you a used Codabow (rehaired). This is what we did for my similar-stage daughter and we were able to get a quality carbon fiber with some cosmetic imperfections for under $200. Hers is still fractional, so it might be a little bit harder to get a full size, but this is likely your best option. Apart from that, you are going to have to raise some money.
Even carbon-fiber bows are meticulously hand-made. Because a rehair costs at least $75 in most locales, if not as much as $100, any bow in that price range is basically disposable. If you do treat it as disposable, the Fiddlerman carbon-fiber bow (about $60) is decently playable. I wouldn't want to be learning off-the-string strokes on it for the first time, but it behaves predictably enough to be usable.
@Y Cheng, you may not have liked Bruce's sardonic discussion post, but his was a valid point. It's just as presumptive on your part to write,"I think the best thing is to ask your teacher to talk and reason with your parents." Despite several comments and even direct questions about lessons/teacher, there has been no mention in any of Kevin's posts about his teacher, lessons, etc. Kevin's posts do suggest that he has
I just got back from helping a “late intermediate/advanced” student and her mother select a bow in a modest price range. She first tried out four bows, then I did a blind playing test so she could hear how the bows sounded. She settled on a Codabow Luma at around $600. I think this will be a good bow for her for at least the next several years, possibly lifetime. She is not on a pre-professional track but she very well may end up as a public school instrumental teacher.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. As to answer some of your questions:
"Are there sound differences between carbon fiber and wooden bows?"
3 years of lessons at $100 per week at 50 weeks per year for easy math = $15,000
I think everyone pretty safely assumed that the OP had a teacher because one doesn't get to an advanced stage of playing in just three years without really excellent private teaching.
A minors Stimulus payment belongs to his parents.
I'd have thought that the purpose of a stimulus would be to help people who are out of work or income due to the pandemic and need assistance towards basic needs such as food and housing, not for what would by most be seen as a luxury good that one wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.
Looks like the $2000 stimulus package got blocked. I'm also ineligible for it since I'm still considered a dependent.
I’d like to comment on the Jean Paul Fusion and the Fiddlershop carbon fiber since I have both of them as back up bows. Both are quite good for the money but in my experience the Fiddlershop carbon fiber is better for spiccato and sautille than the fusion.
@Krisztian Gabris I hope you won't leave us. I know I've teased you about your "stream of consciousness" rants, and if I've overstepped in doing so, I apologize. Much of what you write does come across as drivel, but occasionally there are gems of wisdom, and you always write from the heart, which I respect and admire. Cheers, Paul
I also think it is sad that Krisztian is leaving the site. We are here because we love the violin. In that we have a lot in common. It is tragic that despite such commonality that we can treat each other badly, even if only in jest. It is also important to remember that this is an international site. The interpretation of a foreign language, and foreign culture may be different than ones own native tongue or culture.
I think the issue was more that Krisztian tended to post when drunk, which led to predictable results and reactions.
Many years ago I posted a relevant entry at Maestronet.com:
Wow, no actual suggestions yet ...I’d go with a carbon fiber bow, to get the most for your money. Here is one from SHAR:
@Laurie - Actually I strongly recommended the Presto Ovation bow if the OPs parents can stretch up about $80, or the Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber (new model) if not; I own both bows and like them but the Ovation plays well above its price point; both are good for spiccato and sautille, and allow for a wide range of expressiveness.
Kevin Lee wrote:
Once you have enough saved, consider Coda bows. We recently went bow shopping and my daughter who is super picky liked one that was around $900. The one that she liked more was a wood one that was over $5,000.
I like the Coda bows as well and have found that my students are able to use them as they move to advanced bowing techniques.
I think it's reasonable to pay between 100 and 300 for a graphite bow considering that a new graphite tennis racquets - made now almost exclusively in Japan, China, and Taiwan - cost about the same and include a significant amount of manual labor in their production.
But can you play Paganini with the tennis racquet? And will your pro shop help it deliver better tone?
I have a dorfler pernambuco bow, excellent for the money
I gather Fiddlershop have just released a new improved cf bow, but that's just their $70 model. They do a hybrid for $120. Col Legno Standard is fine, but I'm using it less nowadays as I'm preferring to have the balance closer to the frog. Delille hybrid isn't bad.
My Codabow Prodigy retails for around $300 - perhaps refurbished, or blemished, are available for less? I didn't pay for it as my first violin shop tossed it in with my first violin as part of the whole package.
That Prodigy is a nice looking bow. 5 year warranty too!
Andrew, glad it worked for you, but "Samuel's" describing one bow as weighing 12.8 ounces - and he did it twice, throws doubt on everything else. A typical violin bow, at 60 grams, weigh only about 2.14 ounces.
Getting back to Kevin's query, one useful exercise might be to talk with the teacher and had the teacher talk to the relevant parent. A demo with current stick and teacher's best (or find example at violin shop) might allow for re-framing the question.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.