I’ve been thinking about possibly purchasing a new bow. The one I use right now came with my violin, which if I’m remembering correctly, is a Cecilio CVN-300. I don’t know what the bow is made of, but it’s worked in the one week I have been playing.
I am also going to be saving up to get a higher quality violin once I get a bit more skilled, so I guess I’m just curious as to whether it’d be worth it to buy a new bow before I get a new violin, or to just buy a new bow and violin at the same time.
Short answer is yes
I started out a month ago playing violin when I received my Stagg violin outfit which of course is simply rubbish (worse than your Cecilio).
The bow that came with it has a wooden stick, which actually looks decent at first glance since it's not crooked and has the correct arch, but the hair on it is nylon (synthetic)
Just for that reason alone I wanted to order a new bow that has horse hair, but the company I ordered it from had only a single piece at an affordable price range (and even that was in one of their remote shops), which delayed my order for a month.. after which they 'lost track of it'.. so long story short.. we decided to downgrade to a cheaper model that they actually had.
So I received that and was disappointed to see that this one also has synthetic hair on it.. After rosining it up and playing with it though I instantly realized that it's a MAJOR upgrade compared to what I had..
The balance was way better.. the old one felt like swinging a baseball bat compared to the new bow (and I'm not kidding), the tip was wider (actually the tip on the old bow was narrower than standard) allowing for more space between the stick and the hair without over-tightening
I don't know what kind of bow do Cecilio violins come with, but if there's THIS much difference between 'nylon-bow' and 'nylon-bow' then you'll probably want to give it a try.
Now for the question of which bow... Upon roaming the internet for information on bows in the past few weeks the conclusion I got from all of it is this: Generally at a lower-to-mid price range, carbon fiber pretty much blows everything out of the water, since it can be engineered to perfect specifications with optimal weight balance etc... (there's no 'reason' to make them bad, since they're built from the ground up unlike wooden bows where even the worst quality wood is probably used by some off-the-radar factories during their night-shift ).
You'll also find fiberglass bows at a lower price range, which are generally regarded as garbage and everyone seems to want to re-purpose them as tomato-sticks for the garden.. so you might want to avoid those.
You'll also find barzil-wood bows. Interesting info: While Pernambuco IS Brazil-wood (a type of wood that grows in Brazil), Brazil-wood isn't Pernambuco Meaning that once it started to get rare and endangered (a few centuries ago?), manufacturers started using other types of wood (still species that grow in Brazil) as replacements and it pretty much dropped the barre on quality. This means that now we have brazil-wood bows which CAN be decent, however most are student-quality and usually inferior to carbon-fiber and we have Pernambuco which is usually specified and isn't 'mixed' in with all the other brazil-wood (especially since the price is like 10 times) and that's probably the only thing that could surpass carbon fiber (has to do with how it resonates, adding to the sound - which can probably only be heard by people who really want to hear it lol).
Of course these aren't rules set in stone.. every person is different and the balance of a bow that I hate for example.. might be just what YOU are looking for haha.. that's why it's probably better to hold it in your hand before buying or at least have some money-back guarantee options if buying online.
But anyway... I think you might want to try Fiddlerman's Carbon Fiber bow.. I know I would love to try that if I had a chance Everyone seems to love it and the price doesn't look that wild to me... Otherwise if you plan on getting a new violin as well, you might want to get a whole outfit from him, since they usually include that CF bow with their outfits at an even better price or you could get just the bow and then a violin without an outfit later.. up to you
Hope this helps
@Ferenc Simon That really helps, thanks. I’m really appreciating how in-depth and detailed your response is!
I haven’t done a whole ton of research on bows themselves yet, but from what I have seen, carbon fiber bows are a good choice to go with, like you said. I haven’t had a chance to look yet, but I’ll definielty check out Fiddlerman’s Carbon Fiber bow.
Did a quick search and looks like the bow that came with my violin is a brazil-wood bow with horsehair.
The problem I found with bows is that I had no basis for comparisons. I ebayed several $3 bows (which are terrible, but I think are good for comparison, i.e. how can you know what is good until you try something that is bad?), then I ebayed several in the 10 to 30$ range and of course they were a great improvement. Then I read what FM had to say about his CF bow and knew I had to get one, but the cost seemed too much for my limited playing abilities. I finally decided to get one. Let's just say I haven't touched the others since then. And I will never NEED to get any other bow. Someday I may WANT to get a different bow for whatever reason, but the FM CF bow will always be the bow to which all others are compared.
I'll be sure to post a review on it once it arrives
In the meantime what I can tell you is that I had one of the best shopping experiences ordering that bow. I sent them an email before ordering since I was concerned about shipping (standard shipping and customs are horrible in my country).
Michael was the one who replied to my email and we exchanged a couple of more emails afterwards, which went really fast.. I barely had to wait a few minutes to get the next reply to my new set of questions. He genuinely seemed to care way more about me getting a proper bow rather than him making a profit.. Like he even offered to help out with customs fees if they're going to end up being too much, which isn't something that you would normally see from ordinary shops..
So yea.. what can I say.. I'm amazed.. if the bow will end up being at least half as decent as their customer service... it's gonna be one hell of a bow!
I think you'll find that a lot of us here on the forum use Fiddlershop for a good number of our violin supply needs (myself included) Great customer service, and great products. I have 2 Fiddlerman CF bows and love them, use them regularly. Very nice bows
World's Okayest Fiddler
I know I am little late to the post, but to the question of buy a new bow or whole kit, like a lot of other beginers I am still using my cecilio kit.
After parsing out prices, the best value I see is go get a FM violin that comes with the carbon fiber bow rather then just replacing things as I go. So that will be my next purchase.
Okay.. so my bow just arrived..
I am slightly confused because they had me pay import taxes for the shipping fee as well.. which is strange... since I am not importing 'shipping'... Even though I sent them the paypal screenshot which lists them separately, they added it to the price of the bow and listed the whole amount I paid Fiddlershop as the product price on the customs document. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be done.. who knows
Other than that, the bow itself survived the trip and is really nice. Doesn't shake as much as the old one I had so it produces a more stable sound. Overall I like it.. it does have some aesthetic flaws at the grip, but that's okay I guess
I do recommend it, since it's better than most bows that come with beginner outfits.
Thanks for all the positive reviews with our FM Carbon Fiber bow. We have some exciting new changes coming to the "2018" model. It's all cosmetic though. Exact same stick with a new look.
Oooo... new look I look forward to seeing the new model
@Ferenc Simon Yay, you got your bow
Oh, I don't think I've ever asked, what rosin do you use?
World's Okayest Fiddler