A violin bow is one of the most important pieces of equipment that any violinist should possess aside from the instrument itself. Having the appropriate violin bow can have a dramatic effect on the sound of the violin. Hence, it is important to evaluate all of the best violin bows before purchasing them. Violin players must be acquainted with the different brands and types of violin bows on the market. This way, they may be able to identify the most appropriate violin bow to use with their instrument. In this article, we reviewed ten of the best violin bows which are available on the market. We have also identified the ideal features of a violin bow to guide you in selecting the best among the options.
Best Violin Bows
|1. D Z Strad Model 500||Pernambuco Wood||$169.00|
|2. Glasser X-Series Carbon Fiber X-Bow||Carbon Fiber||$72.00|
|3. Paititi Full Size Violin Bow||Brazilwood||$19.99|
|4. Viotti Carbon Fiber Violin Bow||Carbon Fiber||$65.79|
|5. Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow||Carbon Fiber||$68.79|
|6. Crescent Well Balanced Carbon Fiber Violin Bow||Carbon Fiber||$39.99|
|7. D Z Strad 200 Violin Bow with Ebony Frog||Pernambuco Wood||Price not available|
|8. Vio Music Full-size Silver Winding Violin Bow||Brazilwood||$49.99|
|9. VingoBow Carbon Fiber Violin Bow||Carbon Fiber||$47.95|
|10. Giuliani Brazilwood Violin Bow||Brazilwood||Price not available|
Buying a Violin Bow
In order to have a great sounding violin you need more than just the violin itself, you also need a high-quality bow. Just like buying a violin, there are numerous options out there for bows with different styles and specs. It all comes down to what fits your needs and personal preferences. A good combination of both will leave you with the perfect bow. Below are a few of the main things to look for when buying a violin bow.
Weight and Feel
One of the main things to look for is the weight and feel of a bow. Testing each bow for the weight and feel of the bow by playing it on your violin will give you a sense of the balance of the bow and whether you would be able to play with this bow continuously during performances. Every violinist has different preferences for bows; some prefer heavy bows which remain steady on the string while others prefer a light bow for easy maneuverability. Some like the tip to carry a bit of weight while others like the bow as close to balanced as possible. You want to make sure that the weight, feel, and balance of the bow is a perfect fit for you.
The violin is a stringed instrument that has been around for centuries so it is no surprise that most violin bows are made from wood. Wood, typically Brazilian wood such as Pernambuco, is the material from which most bows are made. Over the last few decades new, synthetic bow materials have come onto the market, including both fiberglass and carbon fiber violin bows. Both wood and synthetic materials have their benefits and drawbacks. These new synthetic options are usually much more cost-effective, lighter, and more durable. As I mentioned previously, this is subjective to each player. Some players may like the lighter feel of synthetics while others stick to wood. I would like to mention though that if durability is important to you, say you are purchasing a bow for a child who is learning to play or you just know you are rougher with your stuff, the newer synthetic materials tend to stand up to abuse far better then their wood counterparts. Carbon fiber bows in particular are for the most part indestructible. Something to take into consideration as well.
If you need any more proof about how strong carbon fiber bows are, check out this video:
Round vs Octagonal
Although every bow is different, there are some general differences between round and octagonal bows. For the most part they differ as follows:
Round bows tend to produce a warmer tone. Being more flexible and soft, the sound is often less harsh and quieter.
Octagonal bows tend to be stiffer which allows for a better attack. These bows also tend to produce cleaner tones at the higher end of the violin sound range. They also often have more treble and upper midrange as opposed to round bows which often have rich low ends.
These are just some starting points so that you have an idea of what to listen for when trying out different bows.
The bow is made up of different components besides the main wooden or synthetic piece.
The frog is the end that your hand grips. Ebony is often used for the frog, though other materials like plastic can be used. A lot of times, the frog is used for the placement of pearl inlay and other aesthetics. You should avoid focusing too much on how “pretty” the frog looks and focus more on whether it feels comfortable.
Another place your hand rests is on the winding or thumb grip located along the stick. There tons of options when it comes to material choice here, and many materials are designed to look good as well as be practical. Again, like the frog you want to pick off feel rather then look/design. Materials often available include leather, copper, or silver.
Just like violins, bows sell for a range of prices, but generally, a more expensive bow is higher quality. A general rule is that you should spend about 20 to 25% of what your violin is worth on the bow. Although this might not be the case for you (for example my bow costs more than my violin), you’ll at least have a better idea of what you’re looking for when you want into a violin shop. You should have a good idea about your budget for a violin bow before walking into the shop that you don’t spend too much. There are great bows at any price range so you should try a bunch of different violin bows before deciding on the one that’s best for you. As with many stores that sell handmade goods, bow prices are often negotiable so you shouldn’t settle for the first price.
How to Test Out the Bow
Obviously the way you want to test out if a bow is right for you is to play, but what exactly should you play? It is important to play in a variety different styles of loud to soft, from staccato to legato. If you have the option to take a few home and trial them for a while, your best bet is to go through your normal rehearsal routine every so often changing out the bow. Within a couple of practice sessions, if not the first, you will be able to eliminate the bows that aren’t working. Whichever bow is left at the end is the one for you.
Another good check list is to go through your various scales slowly while really taking a listen to the tone. While playing through your pieces can give a great sense what feels right, slowly playing scales while intently listening can make sure you pick a bow that sounds great as well. The bow plays a major role in the tone of your violin so make sure it sounds good to your ears.
All Violin Bows
1. D Z Strad Model 500 Pernambuco Full Size Violin Bow
The D Z Strad Model 500 violin bow is a full-size bow which is made up of Pernambuco wood. It is designed to ensure excellent playability within stiffness which ranges from medium to strong. Moreover, it was engineered to be balanced for resiliency and to offer a quick response. Additionally, it is equipped with authentic Mongolian horsehair and a traditional frog made from polished ebony.
2. Glasser X-Series Carbon Fiber X-Bow
The Glasser X-Series Carbon Fiber X-Bow is a 4/4 violin bow that is made using a carbon graphite molding technology to ensure users of a durable and resilient equipment that would go well with their instrument. It is a round stick, making it less rigid than other kinds of bow. Moreover, the violin bow is equipped with a genuine horsehair and an ebony frog with faux pearl eyes and slides, delivering efficiency when used.
3. Paititi Full Size Violin Bow
The Paititi Violin Bow is a full-size round stick bow that is made up of Brazilwood. Handcrafted with a high gloss finish, the violin bow is lightweight and easy to carry. It is likewise durable and stable, creating a well-balanced and bright sound. The violin bow is made up of authentic Mongolian horsehair. Because it is soft on the fingers, the bow is recommended for beginners.
4. Viotti Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
This premium carbon violin bow offers quick response & bright, focused sound at a very affordable price. The bow itself is handcrafted by skilled violin bow makers, weighs between 58-62 g., and comes with elegant mother-of-pearl & nickel trim. This bow comes with a two-year money-back guarantee and is shipped in a professional bow case.
5. Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
The Fiddlerman Violin Bow is an optimized bow made of carbon fiber and quality Mongolian horsehair to ensure efficiency when used. It is further equipped with a well-designed copper mounted ebony frog. The violin bow is designed with great balance and weight distribution. It is also arched well, delivering a good bounce and action. It comes in four different sizes to suit the compatibility of such bow with the instrument and the player.
6. Crescent Well Balanced Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
The Crescent Well Balanced Violin Bow is a full-size violin bow which is made up of a carbon fiber material for durability. It comes with an ebony frog with a synthetic grip and faux pearl eyes. It is also equipped with a natural Mongolian horsehair and abalone shell inlay frog slide. Users of the violin bow are ensured of a perfectly balanced and smooth performance when used with the instrument.
7. D Z Strad 200 Full size Violin Bow with Ebony Frog
The D Z Strad 200 Violin Bow is made up of Pernambuco wood for a well-balanced full-size violin bow. It is further designed with a stiffness ranging from medium to strong to ensure optimal playability. Furthermore, it is built with resilience and quick response for an excellent performance. It is equipped with an authentic Mongolian horsehair and a traditional frog made from polished ebony. It also comes in five other sizes to suit the size of the violin.
8. Vio Music Full-size Silver Winding Violin Bow
The Vio Music Full-size Silver Winding Violin Bow is a well-balanced full-size bow which is made up of selected Brazilwood and authentic Mongolian horsehair. Moreover, the bow is handcrafted with a Fleur-de-lis inlay ebony frog, a golden mount, nickel or silver winding, and a screw. It is designed to provide resilience and quick response. It also produces an excellent sound quality when used with the violin.
9. VingoBow Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
The VingoBow Carbon Fiber Violin Bow is a braided grid round bow which is made up of a carbon fiber. It is handcrafted with a great curve, producing a deep yet warm tone when used with the violin. It is further equipped with an authentic horsehair and an ebony frog with Parisian eyes and a mother-of-pearl slide. Moreover, the violin bow is designed with strength, balance, and flexibility.
10. Giuliani Brazilwood Violin Bow
The Giuliani Violin Bow is a strong round bow made up of the solid Brazilwood that resists warping. It is also equipped with a genuine ebony frog, an authentic silver winding, Parisian inlaid mother-of-pearl eyes, and a hand-applied finish. It also has a durable natural Mongolian horsehair that creates a bright and full tone when used with the violin. The bow comes pre-rosined and ready to play the moment you receive them.
As a violin player, you should have an ample idea on the features to look into when choosing from the best violin bows. Each of these violin bows has their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it will depend on you on which from the best violin bows could deliver a stunning performance while ensuring comfort and durability.