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General questions about bows
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January 23, 2012 - 1:25 am
Member Since: January 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 23
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Hi guys,

So I was reading in this old timey fiddle sort of book and the author said that it wasn't unreasonable to pay 2x as much for your bow as for your violin... He was saying that the bow gives a huge amount of influence to the tone you get (which seems to make sense). Is this true? If so, what are the differences between "good" and "bad" bows?

I'm definitely still just learning so it probably doesn't matter much to my playing, but I am interested in learning more about this. My bow is a "Glasser" from the mid eighties and seems to be loosing some of its hairs. For now I am happy with it, but then again, I've never used any other...

I've heard that when you are good enough to know that your sound could be better and that it's not your fault it may be time to upgrade your violin, but how do you know when you should get a new bow or have a bow re-haired? Anyone have a favorite bow or any thoughts on what they don't like?

January 23, 2012 - 8:54 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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I don't like the fable that a bow should cost more than the violin.  That MAY be true IF the bow in question sounds that great.  If a cheaper bow sounds better, and it may, then that is the "better" bow. 

I've owned 6 or 7 bows at one time, up to $200+, and my "go-to" bow is always the Glasser.  I don't rehair at that price.  I buy a new one.

Many pros around the internet use "cheaper" bows.

There are no acoustic design parameters for "good" bows.  It's all empirical.

A good way to decide about bows may be the trial packages offered by Shar and maybe others.


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

Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa

January 23, 2012 - 10:15 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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I am in love with my carbon fiber bow. It's just about the same bow as Fiddlershop sells but I paid a lot more for it than Fiddlerman sells his for.  I agree with Oliver completely.  I tried a glaser bow also and found it better than any $50.00 wood bow. If you only have a few broken hairs, no Problem.  You can try cleaning the hair but I don't know that it makes a difference.  The biggest thing with a bow is balance and feel in youir hand not in the hand of someone else.

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January 23, 2012 - 4:25 pm
Member Since: November 8, 2011
Forum Posts: 98
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Hello MrBison

 Also being relatively new, I asked a similar question a few weeks ago, as I too had a older Glassner bow. Although I was told at the music shop, as a baseline, that a bow should cost about 20% the value of the violin, which made no sense to me.

  I went to my local music shop and tried a couple different bows and then took my chances based on the input from folks here and ordered FM's Carbon bow.

  I did a review of it here if you are interested /forum/reviews/fiddleman-cf-bow/


  But in summary, For me it made a big difference in my playing. Everything sounded better and it was better balanced and easier to play, which in turn made playing more fun, which means I now play and practice more. But this is just me and I know each person is different, but you asked, so this what I offered.

  Enjoy and find what works for you.

January 23, 2012 - 11:29 pm
Member Since: January 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 23
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Oliver - I'm glad that your "go-to" bow is (it sounds like to me anyway) the same one that I'm using. I think that what you say about bows being "cheaper" or more expensive not mattering as long as they sound good is very true. This made me realize that what I'm insecure about is that I don't know the difference between a good sounding bow or one that is less impressive. Similarly, I don't really know how one bow feels compared to another, so I'm not sure if I have one that fits me well. Now, admittedly, at this point 90% or more of the bad sound coming from my bow is really coming from me, but I can't help wondering if maybe with a different bow it could be more like only 85% my fault... wink


Kevin - Thanks for your input. I'm glad to hear that I have one worth keeping for a while. Also, thanks for your input on your carbon fiber bow. After reading what CGBownut wrote after you, I might have to get one later on down the road. For now, my bow is doing the job and for that I'm happy. 


CGBownut - Boy your review was great. After reading it I had to talk myself out of buying one from FM right away! tongue I think that I will have to get one maybe later when I've saved a little up. The problems you describe the FM bow helping you with in your review are just like what I have been experiencing too. I'm glad it's working out for you. Who knows maybe it can help me too... Thanks for the suggestion!

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