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Bow upgrade from low-end beginners bow
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mv520
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November 1, 2011 - 11:05 pm
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Hi, I'm looking for some informed opinions on how much additional one needs to spend to upgrade a low-end beginners brazillwood bow to actaully see/notice a difference.

 

My middle school child has been playing for 3+ years on her violin & bow. I upgraded the strings last year (good move, easier on fingers and some minor sound difference), and figure she could have up to 400 honest playing hours on her bow. Along the way I've cleaned the horsehair w/ denatured alcohol to clean the impacted rosin (& dirt...) that made it unplayable at times (worked unbelievably great at rejuvenating it!!). So it works fine, but I'm thinking about getting her an upgrade.

 

So... would going from the current (referencing prices from internet vendors such as SW Strings, etc - not retail music store prices) $25 brazillwood bow to say a $60-70 low end carbon fiber bow (or something like this one http://fiddlerman.com/forum/th.....a-new-bow/) make any noticable differnce (besides the obvious new horseshair), or am I just basically buying new horsehair for that and the player won't appreciate any difference?

 

Thanks for any thoughts. We don't need the ultimate in bows here or equip a virtuoso, just trying to give a perceptible step up...

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pky
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November 2, 2011 - 1:07 am
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I should have no say in this topic because I am a beginner. My daughter and I each has two bows that came with my violin. Before I bought her the violin, she had a rental one; when she broke one of the pegs of the rental violin, we took it back for repair, and asked for a replacement. The replacement violin came with a better bow; I don't know how good it is but when I used it I noticed a big difference. The violin sounds a lot better with that bow than mine or my daughter's. If your child has already been playing for three years, I would say go ahead and get him/her a better bow so he/she would enjoy playing violin even more.

i know Fiddlerman still has some for sale, if your child is using 4/4 violin which i assumed he/she is since he/she is already in middle school. Shar has some on sale, but I don't know the quality for sure!

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RP
Illinois
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November 2, 2011 - 1:43 am
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Welcome to the forum, and the site mv520!

I am a newbie to the instrument so can't answer your question, but am very interested in what FiddlerMan, and others have to say.

I know some other posts in this forum talk about their different bows and how they play causing people to like, or not like, some bows they own as much as others.

The tip for using denatured alcohol is something I haven't stumbled across yet and will have to keep in mind. Thank You.

On "Cheap eBay violins" … Just tell people they are like a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.  With a little love, and some practice, they too can be made beautiful.

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Oliver
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November 2, 2011 - 8:45 am
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Up to $200 and a collection of 6 to 8  different bows over 5 years, I have found no correlation between price and performance of bows.  I find that I am now using carbon fiber bows rather than the wooden bows because of the heavier action of the carbon fiber bows that I have.  

I have also never seen a rigorous technical argument about WHY(?) a more expensive bow should be better on any and all violins ????????

coffee2

PS  I'm excluding synthetic hair bows from my remarks.  I have had such bows  but had a hard time with rosin and the feel of the bow on the strings.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 2, 2011 - 9:05 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Once you have established a decent bow technique it makes a noticable difference whether you have a bad, unbalanced, too heavy, too light, low tension, etc. bow.

The differences can be that you get smoother bow strokes, better volume and sound quality and much easier spiccato. It used to be that the really well made bows were hand made fine pernambuco bows. Today thanks to carbon fiber you can purchase a bow for around $40 up to $500 that might even match a fine expensive hand-made bow.

For the fun of it I purchased a few different CF bows and bought 10 of the ones that I felt gave the most for the money. I put one out on Ebay and it didn't go so well for me but went real well for Kim.dancing She should be receiving hers today and can comment more on that bow. In the meanwhile I made a demo video using that bow HERE. I also listed another one on Ebay for a last shot. If I don't get the buy now price I won't do it this way again.dunno

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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November 2, 2011 - 11:41 am
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I had a 23.00 bow and thought all bows were about the same.  Was I wrong.  I purchased a composite carbon fiber bow for $80.00 and what a difference.  I have only been playing for around 8 months but the new bow made things so much better and I enjoyed playing more with this bow.  The bow no longer bounced off the strings, much less pressure if any was needed to play at the tip.  Go for it and buy the one that fiddlerman has on ebay.  It is the same as the one I purchased.  You will not regret it.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200670.....1423.l2648

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BCShalom
Seattle, WA
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November 2, 2011 - 2:39 pm
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Kevin M thanks for the info.  I got the last one! 

 

Shalom Shalom

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BCShalom
Seattle, WA
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November 2, 2011 - 4:16 pm
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FM,

Well you got the buy now price, and I am sure it will make me an excellent Violinist!  One day!  Toda Rabbah  (thank you very much)

violin-student

Shalom Shalom

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 2, 2011 - 10:42 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

I'm pretty sure you will love it but if you don't,thumbs-up it's no problem to return it. I wouldn't want anyone to be dissatisfied.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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BCShalom
Seattle, WA
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November 3, 2011 - 7:50 pm
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 Do you have an online store?  I would love to look it over.

 

I am sure I will love the bow.  If it would only do the fingering for me, as well!

LOL

 

Shalom duncecap

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 3, 2011 - 10:56 pm
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Actually not yet BCShalom but soon.

As of Jan 1, 2011

I'll make a big deal out of it soon.dancing

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Gail
29 Palms, CA
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December 9, 2011 - 5:10 pm
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I'm new here so I hope I'm posting in the right place.  I just ordered my first violin after doing a lot of online browsing.  The vendors who sell horsehair bows brag about the superior quality of horsehair.  The vendors who sell carbon fiber bows brag about the superiority of their product.  What is the difference between natural fiber and synthetic fiber?  The violin I ordered comes with "unbleached Mongolian white horsehair."  Thanks in advance for an answer.  kiss

I've learned so much from my mistakes that I've decided to make some more.

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Mustang
Minnesnowda
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December 9, 2011 - 6:42 pm
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The best bow I've tried is the carbon fiber one that my mom got me from Fiddlerman. Best bow ever! You will not regret buying one of those. cool

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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December 9, 2011 - 7:43 pm
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Gail said:

I'm new here so I hope I'm posting in the right place.  I just ordered my first violin after doing a lot of online browsing.  The vendors who sell horsehair bows brag about the superior quality of horsehair.  The vendors who sell carbon fiber bows brag about the superiority of their product.  What is the difference between natural fiber and synthetic fiber?  The violin I ordered comes with "unbleached Mongolian white horsehair."  Thanks in advance for an answer.  kiss

 

I think you may be getting confused.  Most bows have natural hair. The hair on most comes from mongolia but few actually come from the mongolian horse. I'm getting carried away.  On carbon fiber bows the stick itself is made from carbon fiber but the hair is usually unbleach mongolian horse hair. With a carbon fiber bow the shap is much more stable.  Unless you are a very acomplished player I don't think you will be able to tell the difference bewteen a carbon fiber bow and a $2,000.00 bow.  Some masters even now prefer carbon fiber.  If the violin you ordered is a relatively inexpensive violin the bow is more than likely not a good bow even if it has mongolian horsehair.  There are bows with synthetic fibers instead of horsehair but I do not know much about them.  Soon after getting my first bow for $23.00 I purchased a carbon fiber bow and it changed the world for me.

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Gitel
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December 9, 2011 - 9:33 pm
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I, too, am in the market for a new bow.  I am going to look here in Boston at Pernambuca (sp?) after doing a direct comparison between my nice carbon fiber bow and my teacher's very good bow that has been valued in the thousands of dollars.  I won't be paying that much, but I can see the problem my current bow is causing. 

I have a very sensitive hand.  I can't quite explain it, but I am so sensitive that I have a totally different "feel" and sense of balance when using a pen where I have stuck the cap on the end versus a pen without the cap stuck on the end.  My family knows this applies to other things.  If we are short one dinner fork and someone needs to use a dessert fork for dinner, it cannot be me.  (Well, it can, but it interferes with my enjoyment as it is not weighted and balanced right for me.)

I am going to have to audition the bows in person and then bring home maybe 3 of them and try them out.  I will probably do "blind" tests where I use the bow and my husband writes down what I think of it without me looking to see which bow it is.  He has a terrific ear and he will ahve feedback on the tone, but I will know when I have the bow that fits me for balance, weight etc.

I am sure I will have a few insights and silly stories to tell when I undertake this project.  And I hope others in the forum will be able to offer some thoughts as well.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 9, 2011 - 10:01 pm
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Good explanation Kevin,

The carbon fiber bow that I am selling has real Mongolian horse hair which is interesting because I pay $50 just to rehair my VERY expensive bows on quite a regular basis. Granted, I play a lot.

I was crazy enough to order a bunch of bows from a few different vendors and was happy to find one that had a great product. I ordered 10 and plan on ordering more soon to get the price down even more. I will have that available on fiddlershop sometime in the middle of January. In the meanwhile I have one bow that I kept for myself because I was delighted with these bows. I can sell it since I know I will be getting more plus I have 4 great bows.

Mustang said:

The best bow I've tried is the carbon fiber one that my mom got me from Fiddlerman. Best bow ever! You will not regret buying one of those. cool

I'm happy you like it. Sorry that I didn't get it to you in time for your concert.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Gail
29 Palms, CA
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December 9, 2011 - 10:51 pm
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Thanks for the feedback!  The reason that I ordered the violin that I did was because of fiddlerman's comparison videos on kkmusicstore.com's website.  Great information.  I'm expecting delivery next week and I'm like a kid before Christmas.  I can't wait!pink-violin-girl

I've learned so much from my mistakes that I've decided to make some more.

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