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Next step up from fm cf bow
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (6 votes) 
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Amateur
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December 12, 2018 - 10:01 pm
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I couldn't find this topic in the search but I've been feeling as though I could benefit from a bow upgrade. Currently the FM CF bow is my best bow.

This question is a bit different from the others since I'm not discussing a specific budget. Just what would be sufficient in a quality difference to be noticeable. In other words, what are the next step(s) up?

I have no experience with wood bows besides bottom end brazilwood. I'm not picky on material.

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Shane "Chicken" Wang
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December 13, 2018 - 9:43 am
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Money is always an issue. Unlimited funds I would be using a Jon Paul Vetta 14 kt Gold  for $3953. Playing on a 2008 Franco Merlo for $21000. ( Available at the Fiddlershop with free shipping.)

We live in an internet age dealing with instruments and bows that date back 400 years, each piece having its own unique personality and voice. With no one size fits all solution that is an incredibly difficult question. 

With my luck, I would hate the sound of the Franco Merlo and the Jon Paul Vetta wouldn't feel right in my hand. If I had walked into the Fiddlershop and test drove a few, I might have discovered that the Holstein Bench David 1740 Violin called out to me and paired well with the John Paul Bandera.

You said you have a FMCFB now, the first thing I noticed with mine was the balance difference. Same weight, but all the weight is in the palm of my hand, so I am starting all over learning to bow, putting more pressure into my string attack. It has become aggressive on my part and I like it. Dark Rosin on its way to save the day, I hope.

So I can tell you what I like and everyone else can recommend what they like, but it all comes back to you grasshoppa. When you find the right bow and hold it in your hand, draw it across the strings, and it speaks to you, you get that warm fuzzy feeling, puppy love, then you will know what the right upgrade is.

Or you can just get a codabow and call it a day. 

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Amateur
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December 13, 2018 - 11:54 am
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Not a lot of options in my area. The only violin shop around sells carbon fiber bows starting at the $200 mark. Not a lot of variety from them. Wood bows made out of ipe, snakewood, and sandalwood have piqued my interest but I lack the means to try without ordering.

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Shane "Chicken" Wang
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December 13, 2018 - 1:00 pm
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Amateur said
Not a lot of options in my area. The only violin shop around sells carbon fiber bows starting at the $200 mark. Not a lot of variety from them. Wood bows made out of ipe, snakewood, and sandalwood have piqued my interest but I lack the means to try without ordering.  

I am with you on that one. The closest music store in my area that carries violins is 120 miles away in a really rough city.

I have become addicted to the violin and will probably die with an incredible collection of violins and bows.

I have heard a lot of good things about the Fiddlerman and Holstein series of bows and products and haven't been disappointed with anything from Pierre's lines.

@Irv has a fantastic understanding of bows and how they work to the point he is ready to start building his own bows. Between him and Pierre, I would bet you could get the one that is perfect for you. Good luck and I hope you will post the end result.

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Irv
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December 13, 2018 - 2:45 pm
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In a nutshell, the problem facing you can be best explained by illustration.  Carbon fiber is expressed as CFRP.  Pernambuco/brazilwood/Sandalwood/et al is shown in the big oval.  Pernambuco (an endangered species no longer readily available) is further classified by density, which is determined by floating in a brine solution or by a electronic instrument measuring sound (the results match very well).  This is the basis for the grading of mass produced pernambuco bows into #1, #2, and #3 lots.

The wood bow can be further tuned by shaping and wood removal.  The sound keeps getting better as wood is removed until it can no longer support the required stress of the hair, in which case the stick is worthless.  A wood violin bow works with a 50 newton load from the hair, and will fail at about 70 Newton’s.  That is one of the reasons why a drop so easily damages a wood bow (grain direction is also a problem area).  

That being said, at the moment I don’t have an immediate answer as to the logical next step up from a Fiddlerman Carbon Bow.  Working the problem from first principles,  I think that it will likely be in the form of a split bamboo or split wood stick with a metal or carbon fiber head.  Unfortunately, I am not aware of a current maker of such a bow.  

I am very happy with a Heddon hollow steel bow made in the 1950s, which can be found for about $100 on internet auction sites.  I hope that others will be more positive with their recommendations.  I believe that this is a market area that has no immediate “go to” product.21705307-5E3E-4A50-B154-CFE61DC0A89E.jpegImage Enlarger

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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damfino
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December 14, 2018 - 9:57 am
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The "next step up" is all pretty much up to the player and what they are looking for in sound and feel. If I liked the sound of carbon fiber, my personal next step up would have been a higher quality CF bow, because you pretty much get more bang for your buck with them. However for myself, I don't like the slightly ... I guess harsher sound they can produce. I prefer a wood bow for the warmer sound. But that's me and what I hear when I play. Plenty of people love CF bows, it's all up to personal taste and budget.

I've probably been no help, haha. 

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Irv
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December 14, 2018 - 10:23 am
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I did a little searching to determine where bamboo would fit in the diagram.  From what I found, bamboo has a Young’s Modulus of 35.45 GPa and has a density of 600 Kg/Cubic Meter.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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AndrewH
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December 14, 2018 - 1:31 pm
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I'm going to continue beating the drum for hybrid bows (carbon fiber core and wood sheath), which appear to be available at prices ranging from ~$150 up to ~$500. (Mine was $520, but viola bows are always a little more expensive.) At the upper end of that range, they are professional-level bows. Hybrids have approximately the same handling characteristics as carbon fiber bows, but even a thin layer of wood seems to bring back most of the warmth of wood bows.

I started playing about the time carbon fiber bows were becoming widely available, but stuck to wood for a long time because I preferred the warmer sound. I have had no problem using a hybrid as my primary bow since 2011.

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wtw
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December 14, 2018 - 1:44 pm
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I too prefer wood for the warmer sound. I have a cf bow but rarely use it. So thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look at hybrids when I want to upgrade my brazilwood bow. Not sure how much difference a different bow would make though.

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bocaholly
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December 14, 2018 - 4:56 pm
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Just wanted to add that there's CF and then there's CF.

I recently drew attention to Michael O'Gieblyn's presentation of Arcus CF bows on another thread but here it is, again:
https://fiddlershop.com/produc.....violin-bow
Also check out the Arcus S and P models.

They're seriously different than other CF bows... HINT: the base model price starts at $1,159. These gems are extremely light 50gr and under vs: the usual 60gr+ and have something like 80% carbon and 20% epoxy vs: the usual 40/60 ratio. They're all completely hand made.

In a price range more comparable to some of the Codas AndrewH likes, Arcus has developed a machine made version at around 55 gr. It has more carbon content than "usual" CF bows but less than the pricy Arcus series... something like 60/40 carbon to epoxy. The prices for this "Müsing" series (named after the inventor and manufacturer) starts just below $500.
https://fiddlershop.com/produc.....violin-bow

If you're going to do an in-home trial or just visit Fiddlershop and any of these are in your price range, give a couple a try. They're seriously different. I love my Arcus M4 every time I pick it up. Compared to my JonPaul Fusion, which I find direct and perhaps a bit loud, the Arcus M4 is subtle, smooth, sonorous and lets me go from ff to pp much more easily than anything else I've played so far.

Caveat... I'm a beginner and still working on bowing with a nicely weighted arm so I added a gram of lead tape to the tip. I think of that extra gram like training wheels I will eventually (hopefully) outgrow 🙂

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AndrewH
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December 14, 2018 - 7:33 pm
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Just a quick correction: I actually dislike Coda bows for the reason I mentioned above, but I know pros who use them, even as primary bows. I use a C.F. Iesta, which is now sold in the US as JonPaul Fusion Silver.

(Also: note that I play a smallish viola, which calls for a heavier, more direct bow; I prefer hybrid over pure carbon fiber.)

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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December 14, 2018 - 8:03 pm
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Sorry, @AndrewH ... my bad... we were actually talking about your JonPaul Fusion Silver just the other day on another thread. Thanks for the quick correction.

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Fiddlerman
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December 15, 2018 - 2:01 pm
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We also do in-home trials. 🙂

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

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Irv
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December 15, 2018 - 3:42 pm
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I just received a 1950s Heddon steel bow that looks like it came out of a time capsule.  Perfect paint.  Perfect Heddon logo by the frog.  Perfect wrap and leather.  It uses 2 washers between the button and the stick as a thrust washer.  Perfect polished metal on the tip.  Amazed that it used a piece of black nylon as a hair wedge.  Now I have to practice putting on bow hair because I definitely want to try it.  

Very lightweight but I am encouraged because bocaholly stated that the arcus bows had a similar weight.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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Shane "Chicken" Wang
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December 15, 2018 - 4:11 pm
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@Irv You can't build it up and not post a picture.

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Irv
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December 15, 2018 - 4:36 pm
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Well “chicken,” if you insist.  Too late in the day for my own, so I post auction photos.  You may note that frog is inserted backwards.  This is not any innovation of mine, although one wonders if it was last played in Australia.993C9346-8BA0-4C06-B637-E92EB4BD7511.jpeg7946EDAB-D282-4F10-85A0-40E54DCC6337.jpegA031C888-8F07-412F-939E-9082AD2B02EC.jpeg

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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Amateur
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December 15, 2018 - 6:24 pm
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Thanks for the constructive replies. Gives me quite a bit to think about.

The hybrid bows seem like they might be the solution I've been looking for. I wasn't sure if they were just gimmicky. The strength of a carbon core with the feel of wood. Is the wood on these bows thin?

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Shane "Chicken" Wang
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December 16, 2018 - 11:21 am
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@Irv That's sharp. will you be putting the black horse hair on it and why is the black horse hair better?

@Amateur I will almost bet irv has measurements. He's slick.  

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Irv
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December 16, 2018 - 11:42 am
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Hi “chicken.”  I am definitely putting black horse hair on it.  The only equal I have found for it is the white hair on the Fiddlerman Yellow Sandalwood bow.  It only took me about ten strokes of dark rosin to get it going, which must be a new record.  Otherwise, I am not a fan of white hair (at least in the bows in my affordable price range of less than $100).  I started using black hair when I purchased some Chinese cf bows for about $30 shipped with it and really liked both the bows and the hair.

My theory is that since white hair is traditionally used on all orchestral string instruments except the double bass, it is in more demand and therefore more expensive.  So the stuff used on cheaper bows is either rejected, inferior material, or peroxide bleached hair.  Using black hair gets around that issue.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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Fiddlerman
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December 17, 2018 - 9:34 am
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What is the weight on that bow Irv? Very interesting.

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

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