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Sorry if this is already a FAQ. I'm new to the forum (see profile). I joined two years ago but forgot I was a member!
I have a 60-dollar fiddle and an 18-dollar carbon bow. And I was wondering what was the most sensible thing to do when the bow needs rehairing, ditch it and replace it, or rehair it?
Initially I assumed, buy a new bow made most sense, but I'm making an assumption there - I'm assuming a rehaired bow won't be an improvement over the original.
In other words, will a $50 rehair buy me an overpriced $18 bow, or will a $50 rehair upgrade my bow and be worth the cost?
Hi Andrew and welcome back to the forum.
I noticed a couple of points in your profile that I'd like to incorporate into my answer:
1) You live in London where there are plenty of shops that sell violin bows. So you can go try out a bunch. It's really fun and educational. As an adult beginner, I just had the pleasure of doing that myself.
2) You've got plenty of musical experience but have mostly been playing pizzicato scales to avoid annoying your neighbors.
I would suggest putting on that mute you have (or waiting till the neighbors are out) and do some practice bowing with what you've got to get the feel for it. Then take what you have along to your local violin shops and compare what they have in your price range. If you find a trustworthy shop, they'll let you know whether they think it's worth rehairing the bow you already have. Unlikely but who knows.
In the USA where violin stuff is usually priced more competitively than in the UK, it seems that many people with entry level CF bows just get a new bow rather than going for a rehair. (I just had Fiddlershop send my son in London a violin and even with the postage, it was a way better deal than anything comperable at Stringers, for example.)
In conclusion, if at all possible, give yourself the pleasure of going to try out bows. Also suggest sending a PM to Pierre (Fiddlerman) to see what the Fiddlerman CF bow plus postage would cost. That might still be the best bang for your GBP.
100% agree with @bocaholly and @ryonass - even for import to the UK (it will be WELL within the limit for having to pay the 20% VAT cr4p) - and you simply cannot get as good a CF bow in that price range in the UK. The FM CF bow is a really good general purpose ( beginner and WELL into intermediate if not advanced player ) bow. I have 3 of them, in addition to a real nice sounding and acting PB bow (yes, you can tell the difference - but that is personal choice ).
I would, as Holly says - firstly do get a real feel for the un-muted response of the instrument (the bow, the instrument, the strings, your "action", even to some extent, the rosin - will all have an effect on what it sounds like - and even THAT is not the entire story - because what you hear under your ear is not necessarily what it sounds like with projected sound to a listener some, or many tens of feet away...
Do your tests Andrew - and - although it will be your personal decision, no, I would not waste/spend money on a re-hair - get a new bow ( hint hint on the FM CF bow ! And no, although I'm an admin here - I have NO connection whatsoever with FiddlerShop, just a very happy customer ! )
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Thanks for the replies everyone. I think you've confirmed my initial suspicions.
Stringers and Guivier are the two shops I have heard of in London (and for bows thestringzone.co.uk near Heathrow airport), so I'll take a look there some time. I'm not sure what my long-term budget will be. If I can get to grade 6 standard quickly, I'll probably be thinking of something more than I'd want to ship across the Atlantic. The customs duties and all are an insult even if they are affordable. Not to mention that I really wouldn't like customs people handling my fiddle!
I've taken everyone's FM CF bow recommendations very seriously.
I'm on the lookout for violin case recommendations too. I hate too much choice between things that are too similar. It would be interesting to see a manufacturers' league table.
I need to carry a violin and a uke (and harmonicas and music, and all on the bus!). My normal uke is a metal concert resonator, which is heavy, so I assumed I'd have to take a light travel uke instead. Then I had the brainwave that I could get a double-case for violin and viola and carry it on my back without too much trouble. The uke will probably fit in the viola space - I've already tried the uke in a violin case, and it's too big.
So I'm going to look at those. I think it's going to cost more than my transatlantic "allowance" though. I'll have to go to a shop to try them for size. The thing to avoid is the uke causing damage to the violin.