How much to spend on the bow?

How much to spend on the bow?

I’m looking for some fiddle related advice, as there seems to be as many Bows on the market as there are fiddles. Here’s the question. if I had an overall budget of 1,000 pounds to spend , how much should be allocated to the bow? I’d be particularly interested in a composite bow bue to the high humiditiy here.
many thanks
pajic

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Coda makes a very good carbon fiber bow, though you should test out several because the overall weights and balance points do vary, depending mostly on the density of the ebony in the frog. A Coda Classic (their top model) sells for just under $700 USD.

I’m also super impressed by the handcrafted pernambuco bows from the Water Violet company in Brazil. Retail prices in the States range from $300 to $700 USD. My main bow is now a Water Violet bow made by H. Cirillo—60 grams, responsive, stable, well balanced, and beautifully finished too.

Until you’re ready for the big concert hall, you don’t need to spend more than this for a professional quality bow. And both the Coda and Water Violet bows are available through retailers online.

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

half each

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I don’t know any fiddlers who’d spend this but a stall at Sidmouth had bows at £735. Seems a bit excessive to me.

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

One of the fiddlers in the sessions at Towersey splashed out £250 for a composite bow during the weekend, and was trying to decide if it was worth it.
As a non-fiddler, having tried to learn many years ago and just not getting to grips with the bowing, I might not be the best person, but it seems to me that a quarter of your total budget is not too much - after all, the bow is half what you’re feeling as you play, it might not be contributing to tone ( corect me if I’m wrong ) but it does make an enormouse difference to how you feel your playing.

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Im only a beginner at all this but my teacher said spend on the bow half the money you would spend on the fiddle…

I have heard of a double bass player who spent £6000 on a bow - I think this is just silly!

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Please see previous thread on incredibows.

I spent £79 on my incrdibow and it is tremendous. Best decision I have made for quite a while (Anyone want to buy my shares in Enron?).

I have a German (1890) Pernambuco bow which cost £500 about six years ago which is very good but ,to be honest ,the incrdibow is better. Amazingly ligjht and responsive for both fast and slow stuff.

Go to the Dance of Delight website and you can buy one on-line (Cheque please Mark :))

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Good grief! The spelling gremlins got me on that one :(

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

I just recently bought a fiddle and bow—-the entire budget went to the fiddle, and I bought a $30 fiberglass bow. I didn’t intend to do it that way, (I figured on a 1/1 or at least 2/1 ratio), but I found a fiddle that I really loved that was way more expensive than I planned for. So for now, I’m playing with the cheap bow and saving for a better one, which I should be able to manage in another month or two.

I guess my advice would be to go shopping and see what’s out there before you make any hard rules about how to divide your budget.

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Rule of thumb for many people is, a bow should cost about a third the price of the fiddle but …

If you are buying a really cheap fiddle, a better bow will make it sound better.

there are some great bargains around, including some of the carbon fibre bows

a bow might suit one fiddle but not another.

Best advice is, go somewhere with reasonable choice, preferably somewhere selling to people playing traditional music and try out various combinations of fiddle and bow until you find something you like and can afford

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Pete, the bow contributes a great deal to the tone. But good bows are very diffucult to asses when you are learning. You simply can’t tell the difference. And that’s why many people spend less than a tenth the price of their fiddle. So I suppose there is an argument for waiting untill you can tell the difference.

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It seems to me that another argument for waiting to buy a bow is that it gives you a chance to get to know your fiddle and how it behaves—-where the sweet spots are, the tone of each string, how the setup feels, etc. Then it will be more obvious which bow is better suited to the fiddle. Or at least I’m hoping that’s what will happen!

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As a mandolin player, If I had £1000 to spend, I’s spend £60 on an Indian-made mandolin and £940 on picks.

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

I’d like to second what Geoff Politt posted, above.

My wife recently purchased an Incredibow directly from the makers (www.incredibow.com) for my birthday … it was ~$150 (US).

I absolutely love it.

Extremely light, very responsive, very comfortable to hold and it actually brings a brighter and louder tone from my fiddle. My wife can tell the difference between what bow I’m playing, by sound, from the next room!

Yeah, they look funky, more like a baroque bow, but it works great.

The "hair" is guaranteed for 3 years! It isn’t "artificial horsehair" which really sucks; it’s a new (synthetic) material entirely!

So far I’ve let two other fiddlers give it a test drive and both of them liked it immensely.

For ~$150 (US), you can’t go wrong.

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Just to balance things out a bit- I bought an incredibow last year. I really tried to like it, but I just could’nt make it do what I can do with my wood bow. It’s been on the mantle for months, I may try it again sometime soon.

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

also, what kind of bow you want really depends heavily on your style. And your style will really heavily be influenced by the bow. A few people here seem to like their bows because they are really light. That’s fine if you are looking for a delicate touch. Personnally, I like to give is some bite, and whenever I’ve tried a light bow, I end up with a sore thumb ‘cause I’m trying to force the bow onto the strings to get the sound I want.

One of the things you learn to do is to let the bow do the lions’ share of the work. Obviously, a lighter bow can be easier if you are happy to just let it glide, but a well balanced heavier bow gives you the option to dig in your rythms with no more physical effort.

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I agree with you there, Michael. One of my bows is a decent carbonfibre viola bow (~70gms?) which is ideal on my Jay Haide fiddle strung with spirocores, but that viola bow isn’t quite so useful on my old fiddle which is strung with vision titaniums and which definitely prefers a lighter bow (~60gms), whether wood or carbonfibre.
The bottom line is that the bow has as much effect on the tone as the choice of strings (if not more so). A poor bow will certainly hold back a learner and hinder his playing, but a good bow will enable him to develop his technique and improve his playing and tone.
"Poor" and "good" aren’t necessarily closely related to price. Excellent carbonfibre bows are available now in the U.K. for about £100 and are as good, in my opinion, as many wood bows costing 2 or 3 times as much.
Regarding the incredibow, for me the jury is still out on that one. I’ve only tried one briefly for a few minutes on my old fiddle (which has a powerful tone) and I was a little disappointed (but not all that surprised) to find that the incredibow wasn’t really bringing out the tone of the instrument. I found the incredibow was light and agile enough - almost too light in fact for me, but I felt there was nothing in its performance that I couldn’t do just as well or better with one of my regular bows. To be fair, an extended test with another fiddle might display the incredibow in a different light, and if someone uses it regularly with a mic or pickup then any tonal differences will be taken care of by electronics.
Pajic, I don’t know whether this is possible for you where you live, but some violin dealers will loan up to 4 bows via mail to a prospective buyer to be tried out at home for a week or so, because it can easily take that long for the player to decide which bow is best. Unfortunately, as as already been pointed out, this wouldn’t be a good option for players near the start of the learning curve because, by definition, they wouldn’t have the skill or experience to make a good decision. In that case, it would be better to let a teacher or other experienced player make the choice for them.

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Thanks everyone , almost as many answers as fiddles and bows,. Any one like to trade my Tubaphone style X 9 early twenties (with Andy banjo located in uk )for a decent fiddle with bow
thanks again

pajic

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Best check with Andy banjo first!

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

I’m basically a hack on the fiddle so, needing a decent bow, I had a bowmaker friend demonstrate several for me so that I could assess the tone. Using my fiddle, he went through a series of bows and I settled on an inexpensive Eastman, which to my ears (and those of several informed bystanders) was superior. Mind you, it had been serviced by the bowmaker. Even in my hands it sounds better than my previous bow. My cost was only a bit over $120 Cdn…probably dirt cheap by most standards, but better sounding than some bows worth much more.

Whatever you get, get it tweaked by someone who knows.

Peace, Mooh.

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

i went to a violin store and the guy took the prices off each bow before i tried them … if you know the price before you try it …well i think it will affect how you think it is performing for you. i was surprised.

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yes, that’s very important, take the prices off and choose without that bias. However, it doesn’t work if you don’t know what a good bow is.

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

As you are a novice, you might not appreciate the importance
of the bow in the partnership. It can be a mighty contributor
or a weakening factor. A session friend recently let me try
his new "incredibow"—-incredibow.com. For about 150 US
this baby kicks butt. It pulls a more powerful tone than my expensive Swiss carbon fibre and the balance is tolerable.
Buy one. You won’t go wrong.

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Re: How much to spend on the bow?

I’d recommend you try an Incredibow - but try the standard weight as well as the lightweight.

Re: How much to spend on the bow?

Thanks again To Everybody , the Incredibow certainly sounds like a good starting point at my level,
Pajic

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