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Author Topic: Violin bows  (Read 9131 times)

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Offline OneWingedAngel

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Violin bows
« on: Jun 23, 2006, 03:01:06 AM »
Hello,

I'm looking to replace my old P&H fibreglass violin bow, which I'm finding to be quite annoyingly heavy (I suspect it to be around 68 grams).  I've been browsing eBay and I've seen some really cheap bows, and I'd like some advice on quality/authenticity. 
One of the more common bows I see around are "William Ernest Hill."  Is this an actual person, or a fraud?  W.E. Hill's bows are pernambuco (that's brazilwood, right?), weighing 61 grams, and the seller claims that it's retail price is $450, but the bow is being sold for a buck plus $20 shipping... items that I see on eBay that are ridiculously cheap but the retail price is "supposed" to be very high, I'm wary of, and I'm wondering if anyone could shed some more light on these bows.
In addition, is there something as being "too light" for a violin bow?  I've seen another brazilwood bow that weighs 58 grams.  I've done a bit on research on the web and they said the ideal bow weight is between 60 and 65 grams (and the closer to 60 the better).  Is 58 grams too light?
Again, I'm only a high school student, thus, I can't afford much in terms of a Codabow, Glasser or Incredibow, so any suggestions and/or helpful hints would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Offline apollonike

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #1 on: Jun 23, 2006, 03:24:56 AM »
Hmm.  My viola codabow is 63 grams I think.  68 is pretty heavy, although I know a couple people who play heavy bows quite successfully.

I'd be wary too, but might as well gamble for $25 :)

I'd say save for a nice bow that'll do what you need it too.  Say $400+?  A codabow classic will last you into professional life(and indestructible!).  I say just save.  If you do that, do yourself a favor and look at arcus, too!  Their bows are marvelous.

Try the cheaper codabows, they play quite well too.

Offline caballus

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #2 on: Jun 23, 2006, 03:27:27 AM »
... I'm wary of, and I'm wondering if anyone could shed some more light on these bows. ...

When ever ebay is involved and "this deal seems too good to be true," one should be wary. I would strongly recommend buying a bow from reputable dealer, either locally or online. Saving a few hundred dollars for a really good bow is well worth your while, but if you'd like to get something sooner than later, there are some playable bows which can be had for under $150.

Steve of giannaviolins.com (a FF sponsor) posts "on sale" bows to the forum from time to time. He posted some carbon-fiber ones recently that seemed interesting. You might give him a call (866-884-6546) and see if he has any advice for you. I'm not affiliated in any way with Steve, I just think his heart is in the right place.

Offline sreizes

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #3 on: Jun 23, 2006, 03:45:54 AM »
Good advice up above.  On weight, 58 gms is not too light if the bow is made well.  My main bow is only 55 gms and plays quite well.

On e-bay, anything selling for
Quote
for a buck plus $20 shipping
is a new bow, not an old one, and most likely not the best wood.  Down in the Sauna, there is a "thumbtacked" thread about e-bay and scams, and would be worth your time to read as a warning.

The thing to keep in mind about bows is, that like violins they are very individual (at least the wood ones are) and different bows sound different on different violins, so the goal is a "good match".  Instead of e-bay, I might try Shar, I bought one of their $100 baroque bows and it's not bad.

Offline OneWingedAngel

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #4 on: Jun 23, 2006, 03:47:44 AM »
How about Shar's Presto carbon fibre bows?  I see them compared to Coda bows on occasion, and they're much cheaper.

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #5 on: Jun 23, 2006, 04:40:18 AM »
Read this. it contains a wealth of information.

W.E. hill is a name, nothing more. An eBay seller can say that the retail is anything, and that the selling price is anything in order to make the buyer think they're getting a good deal. $21.00 isn't much of a gamble, but if the bow sucks, then you're back where you started, and now need to come up with another $21.00 just to break even and start all over. Now you're at $42.00 just to start over again.

I second the above suggestion: Call Steve. When I started, he found me an $89.00 LaSalle Brazilwood bow, and everyone who tries it thinks it plays like a $300.00-$400.00 bow. The difference is, he won't tell you you're getting a $400.00 bow for $89.00. He'll tell you you're getting a decent bow for the money you're willing to spend. More importantly, you'll have a bow that works well for you, regardless of what people think it costs.

..Joe
"Some people are like a Slinky... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs"

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #6 on: Jun 23, 2006, 11:11:14 AM »

Offline foose4string

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #7 on: Jun 23, 2006, 06:56:32 PM »
I'm sure there are low cost wood bows that exist that play well, but getting a truly good one is an exception rather than the norm.  I'm certain you could count on Steve to send you the best he has at the moment, for the price you are willing to pay. I wouldn't count on any wood bows in the sub 100 dollar price range to be anything special, but you might get lucky.  And, Steve seems pretty generous about sending stuff out for trials, not a luxery you'll get on ebay I can assure you.  But, you might check into some of the carbon bows in this price range, also. I think they are a better value and more consistant in terms of quality. 

Offline Tize

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #8 on: Jun 23, 2006, 11:29:57 PM »
I think it could just be the old case of go out and try everything you can. That's how I landed myself a 40 bow that I wouldn't swap for a lot of those worth hundreds of pounds.

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #9 on: Jun 24, 2006, 01:32:06 AM »
Carbon good.  Tabary carbon rather decent. 

Wood bows, whatever the Remy at $239 is generally rather good.

I'll get more German bows eventually.  Some nice deals in there.

The Raposo Prism at $280 is a steal.

Be well!

Steve

Offline OneWingedAngel

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #10 on: Jun 25, 2006, 06:11:09 PM »
Thanks for the tips!  I have one more question concerning the different materials bows are made out of.  Which is better preferred over the other: brazilwood, pernambuco, and rosewood?  I know that brazilwood and pernambuco are essentially from the same species, but pernambuco comes from the inner core of the trees, so it's denser and stiffer, thus more desirable.  However, where does rosewood fit into all of this?  And are carbon-fiber bows generally preferred over wood bows?  Again, almost anything would be better than the fiberglass bow that I'm using right now.

Offline foose4string

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #11 on: Jun 25, 2006, 06:50:23 PM »
Most people will argue that a good pernumbuco bow will blow anything else out of the water.  I wouldn't know. I've never owned or tried enough good *good* wooden bows to to make that claim.  I HAVE played with enough cheap bows to know, they are usually mediocre to down right rubbish.  I wouldn't say carbon is favored over anything, as a rule. I'm sure plenty of traditionalist still believe a wooden bow is the way to go at any cost.  But, sounds to me like you didn't want to spend a bunch on a new bow.   In those terms, I just think a carbon might be a better value.  If you are willing to put out the 200+, your options open up tremendously.  Might be a good idea to save up a little longer and get something that you will last you a while.  I used my Glasser fiberglass through college and many years following.  Not saying you don't deserve an upgrade, but you might be happier if you save up and get something that gets you into a higher class of bow.

Offline apollonike

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #12 on: Jun 25, 2006, 08:26:47 PM »
The preferred bow is the one that makes the best sound.   Not neccesarily the one that is the most comfortable-you'll get used to the feel.

Personally, Arcus makes the best viola bows I've ever played.  I've always been fond of my coda bow classic.  That doesn't mean there aren't tons of great wooden bows out there, but wood doesn't always mean better.

Offline OneWingedAngel

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #13 on: Jun 25, 2006, 10:00:45 PM »
Yeah, I know that my options are limited if I'm not willing to shell out a couple hundred dollars.  Unfortunately, I don't have a job (yet... I just had an interview and I'm hopeful), and my current bow is on the verge of snapping; thus, I'm not upgrading it out of wanting something better, it's kind of imperative because my orchestra is going on tour to Costa Rice during Spring Break, and I don't want to encounter a situation where I'm stuck with a broken bow and no replacement.  So, I'm just going to go for something inexpensive, and if I get the job, then I can save up for a REALLY good bow.  Also, my case is falling apart at the seams (literally, I just had to stitch the music flap back together, and the screws that hold the fabric on the case are falling out, not to mention the interior fabric is peeling) so I'll be needing to spend another $100 sometime soon.  Argh...
Anyway, I'll put your tips to good use.

Offline Mnfele

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #14 on: Jun 25, 2006, 11:20:52 PM »
Unfortunately, I don't have a job (yet... I just had an interview and I'm hopeful), and my current bow is on the verge of snapping; thus, I'm not upgrading it out of wanting something better, it's kind of imperative because my orchestra is going on tour to Costa Rice during Spring Break, and I don't want to encounter a situation where I'm stuck with a broken bow and no replacement.  So, I'm just going to go for something inexpensive, and if I get the job, then I can save up for a REALLY good bow. 

If that is the case, get a carbon fiber for now. Almost indestructible and always great for a back up later. Steve should have something.  I keep a $129 Hill in with my "kit" fiddle and a presto Audition with my hardingfele. Bought the Hill when  my good pernambuco needed a rehair. (Had a chance to try out about a dozen at the luthier's and did notice a slight difference.) Got the Audition after a fellow symphony member let me use hers. They won't replace my wood bows but I do like them.

Offline foose4string

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #15 on: Jun 25, 2006, 11:25:53 PM »
Get Steve to mail you one of these, see what you think:

http://www.fiddleforum.com/fiddleforum/index.php?topic=18362.0

Price sure looks right.

Offline sreizes

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #16 on: Jun 26, 2006, 05:03:11 AM »
He also has a couple of "display cases" on sale.  That is, cases that were on display in his shop.

Offline caballus

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #17 on: Jul 01, 2006, 02:12:32 AM »
Let us know what you decide and how it goes! :)

Offline midiviolin

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #18 on: Jul 03, 2006, 02:34:22 PM »
The standard weight of a 4/4 violin bow is 60 gr. 68 is far too heavy for a violin bow or a viola even.

Now, 'bout ebay-

1.it's better to check out the bow on YOUR violin and not buy a bow on the internet.
Only in the case you tried a fibercarbon and like it, u can get the same model on the net since they should be all the same, being molded, (it's not a wooden bow!)

2. ofcourse ebay is the best place to find occasions BUT I wouldn't recomend to anybody who is not an expert to buy a bow on ebay.
even buying an instrument is a risk but with bows is even more difficult.

3.'bout the timber - anybody can put any kind of a timber on a bow so the timber is not a garanty that this is actually a bow of the person whos name is on the bow. the same for violins - there are thousands of instruments with A.Stradivarius ticket in them, doe's that means they r all made by Stradivari?

Hope I was for a help 2 u ,
good luck!



Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #19 on: Jul 03, 2006, 05:22:17 PM »
Fine and dandy to say "try first" - but great swaths of the world are not equipped with shops that have a decent selection.  Not worth driving 150 miles each way to buy a $50 bow. 

In the real cheapies, the Holtz FG at $36 has pleased many fiddlers.

Offline Mnfele

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #20 on: Jul 03, 2006, 09:46:46 PM »
If that is the case, get a carbon fiber for now. Almost indestructible and always great for a back up later. Steve should have something.  I keep a $129 Hill in with my "kit" fiddle and a presto Audition with my hardingfele. Bought the Hill when  my good pernambuco needed a rehair. (Had a chance to try out about a dozen at the luthier's and did notice a slight difference.) Got the Audition after a fellow symphony member let me use hers. They won't replace my wood bows but I do like them.
Just reread my post. That should be$129 Holtz carbon fiber not Hill. (Must have been thinking rosin, Senior Moment!) Noticed the mistake after Steve's post.

Offline fiddlejen

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #21 on: Jul 05, 2006, 02:59:11 AM »
Well if your current bow is really on the verge of snapping, and if you only have $21 to spend - then in that case, it sounds like you're looking for a real cheap bow to keep you going until you're able to save for a decent one.  In that case, if you're not expecting something great, you could just as well go ahead and buy from ebay.  It's kind of like a grab-bag - you don't know till it comes; you could be lucky & get something great.  Or, not. 
Sharmusic & SWStrings both seem to have some bows in the $20 range (maybe Steve has some low-cost models too?), and personally I'd rather try to return something to them than to ebay. 
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Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #22 on: Jul 05, 2006, 03:34:56 AM »
I have bows all the way down to free.

Offline ApK

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #23 on: Jul 05, 2006, 04:29:29 AM »
I call dibs on one of the free ones!  :-)

Offline sreizes

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Re: Violin bows
« Reply #24 on: Jul 05, 2006, 10:24:07 PM »
I have bows all the way down to free.
I am guessing those are like my old original student bow, which when I asked my bow guy about it, he said "we donate ones like this to schools".

 




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