I have about $80 to spend and I'm wondering if I should get one of Fiddlerman's Carbon Fiber bows or save for a couple months and get something like a $300 Coda Prodigy.
My current bow is some $60 Fiberglass bow they upgraded me with at the shop where I bought my violin outfit from because the cheap wooden bow it came with was warped.
I asked Reddit this same question and got mixed reviews of both extremes which doesn't really help me.
I'm a beginner so I don't know that I would be able to tell the difference between a good and bad bow, but anything that would make my playing easier and/or sound better is a bonus.
Also I realize this is a bit like asking a Roman Guard if he likes Caesar in front of Caesar, but hopefully I can get some unbiased answers here.
I used a Fiddlerman CF bow for quite a while and had some cash laying around and upgraded to a diffrent bow and gave my teacher the Fiddlerman CF bow I had been using (young starving Kid trying to make a living) his bow was wore out and he has been using it ever since, works great for him. Take a look at this review by Allison sparrow, also some had gotten the sandlewood bows and have been pleased with them if you want a wooden bow in that price range. Good luck on your decision.
Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.
"Fiddlerman CF Bow or Save Up for Something Better?"
There is nothing better. LOL
Just kidding!!! With bows, as long as you're getting them from a dealer who is honest and knows what they are doing, you often benefit from spending more. It depends on your technique and what you are looking for in a bow.
What is your budget for a bow?
I would be comfortable spending around $300 if that would make a big difference.
So... this looks like an upgrade now vs. upgrade later question.
If I were in your situation, I'd lean toward getting the Fiddlerman CF now. A carbon fiber bow at that level is miles better than fiberglass, and you don't need to be in any hurry to upgrade after you have it. If and when you upgrade again in the future, it would make a good backup bow.
There are many reviews of things on the www, but it can be a mistake to assume they are neutral: I was gearing myself up to go for a Coda GX on the strength of reviews, but on "the other forum" there was a fairly vocal group who alleged that Coda were very over-rated, so I think maybe get an FM now, then upgrade slowly and carefully.